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Shep & Ian

Last week, we had the pleasure of celebrating the opening of our second Boston-area store at the Chestnut Hill Mall! Shep and Ian were in attendance, along a with a crowd of VV fans – both old and new – enjoying cocktails, live music, and delicious food from Off the Vine. And of course, no party would be complete without a visit from the Whale! Thanks to all who came out to help us celebrate!

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Today’s post comes from Brand Communications Team Member, Jesse!

Around the office it’s no secret that Shep & Ian love Apple and its co-founder Steve Jobs. From their daily checking of Apple’s stock quotes to the responding of emails on their Macs, it’s hard not to. I recently decided to pick up his biography, like the millions of others, and get a sneak peek into the character behind one of the world’s greatest companies.

It’s no wonder this is a national best seller, as you are all at once disgusted, amazed, and inspired by Steve Jobs’ quirky behavior. In the end there’s one thing that drove him: his desire to put out the best possible products he knew how. It’s something companies these days can learn a lot from. Don’t worry about making maximum profit off of each product. Construct quality items that your customers want (or don’t know they need – ahem, the iPad) and they will continue to be to come back as loyal fans of your brand. Shep and Ian have looked to instill elements of this philosophy in how they run VV, and continue to try to improve.

As the weather gets warmer and spring approaches, we all begin to daydream about our favorite summer spots! After ten years, Samantha was finally able to return to her favorite place: Cape Cod. She was able to create lasting memories with her family -all in her vineyard vines, of course! Thanks for sharing, Samantha!

“I was on my grandfather Jonathan’s boat in Cape Cod over the summer of 2011. I grew up in New England but had to move away because of my dad’s job. Cape Cod is, and always will be, my favorite place in the world so my mom and I made a special trip up there to visit. It had been about 10 years since I’d been back there and I was absolutely ecstatic to make the trip. Ever since I was little, I’ve loved vineyard vines and have been wearing it since I was about 5 years old, so the vineyard vines pink whale has been a part of my wardrobe for as long as I could remember. My grandpa picked the ideal day to go boating; it was one of those hot New England summer days with the cool sea breeze so it seemed fitting to wear my favorite vineyard vines tee. As I was looking at the homes in the background, my mom snapped this picture of me right as the American Flag was blowing in the wind. I couldn’t have imagined a better shirt to wear since it matched perfectly with the flag. Looking back on my time in Cape Cod, I am able to say that simply wearing that VV tee made my experience even more special and amazing!”

Our philosophy here at vineyard vines is quite simple: Everyday should feel this good. It’s that philosophy that has fueled our company and allowed it to grow. You do what you love, with the people you love. No hassle. No stress. When our founders left their corporate jobs to pursue the American Dream, they knew that there would be risks. They knew it was a lofty goal. But, hey, that’s what made it worth pursuing. The same can be said for Mark Gannon, who took a cue from us here at vineyard vines, and is beginning to realize his dream as well.

“My name is Mark Gannon.  I live in Houston, Texas and today I have realized a lifelong dream.  It is the same dream your founders talk about in your materials:  Follow your passion and, do what you love.  My story can be traced back to 1991, when I forced my best friend, Alexia, to accept a job at an upscale clothing store in the Galleria.  She did not want a job.  She had just started college, but a mutual friend at our favorite bar offered her a job and said the magic words…“Mark can get all his gear at half-off.”  Anyone who has ever known me knows my passion for clothing, footwear, belts – I call it “All things man.”  I drove her to the interview the next day to make sure she went and I think I spent more time and money there than she did.

I went on to have a successful career in sales.  That was the only job that ever came naturally to me.  I could always sell.  It didn’t much matter what, but I could sell it.  I never loved my job or what I sold, but I always understood that loving your occupation was the “holy grail”, but I just never thought it was in the cards for me.  My wife is an attorney and over the past 13 years, I have pushed and preached that she deserved to follow her passion and establish her practice on her own terms doing what she loves.  Almost four years ago, she formed RoachGannon LLP with a like-minded partner and she absolutely has a passion for her work.

I came by vineyard vines five or six years ago and immediately became a devout customer.  The line and the lifestyle suit me perfectly.  I find myself truly looking forward to the monthly catalog’s arrival.  Of course, I want to see what is new, but I realized I was as eager to read the stories of the people you feature and your messages about following your passion and doing what you love.  These messages seemed to haunt me in the good way.  Six months or so ago, my wife ripped a page from your catalog and taped it to the side of the bathroom mirror.  I had spent the most recent five years of my career starting a business, and although successful I wasn’t truly satisfied.  She was trying to send me the message that it was my time.  My time, to jump off the cliff and pursue my passion.  To take what I already know I do well, selling, and add what I love to that equation.

With a little start up capital and the support of good friends (also vineyard vines enthusiasts), I established Mark’s Clothiers.  I am waiting for movers to arrive today with furniture and my very first shipment of product.  The shipment is of men’s shoes which I think is so funny, since that is how it all started, with my best friend, Alexia selling footwear.  I am still best friends with Alexia…she is my wife, the lawyer.  I pushed her off a cliff many years ago and now she has returned the favor.  I am starting small.  I have leased some commercial space for six months and already have my eye on the perfect retail location close by.  I would love the opportunity to convey my thanks for the inspiration you have provided!  I have attached a picture of Alexia and I (we are the couple on the left) enjoying the good life with our friends in the Texas Hill Country.”

Update 01/26/2012:

“We opened our storefront in December and the response has been fantastic.  So far, we have enjoyed tremendous success with lines such as Scott Barber, Trafalgar, Berle and Charleston Khakis, Gitman Bros., and many others.  We have a very country club feel with “the good life” always on our priority list!”

We here at vineyard vines know that a happy team makes for happy customers. That’s why every year, right around this time, the entire corporate team gets together for a dodgeball tournament and Thanksgiving luncheon. It just gives a chance to spend some time together as a team and remember that, although we do all work together, that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun! This year’s tournament provided some rousing competition, with the Waddlers, led by team-captain (and VV co-founder) Shep, meeting brother Ian’s Gizzards in the finals. Despite the fact that the Gizzards had defeated the Waddlers in the opening match, on this Tuesday, redemption would be spelled S-H-E-P with his Waddlers winning the title. It was a great experience and a lot of fun for everyone involved. We all have a lot to be thankful for! Just a nice reminder that everyday should feel this good!

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We continued our whirlwind week of Grand Opening parties with a celebration of our new store at Derby Street Shoppes in Hingham, MA! The rain couldn’t keep away the wonderful crowd of VV fans who enjoyed food, drinks, and music as always. Shep & Ian were on hand to meet, greet, and even sign a few ties. 10% of the night’s sales were donated back to One Mission, a local organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of pediatric cancer patients.

Thanks to all who came out and to our new team at Hingham for making the night a success!

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For more photos from this event, be sure to check out our flickr feed!

Last week, we had the pleasure of celebrating the opening of our new store at the Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, NJ with a proper Grand Opening party! Complete with food, drinks, music, the Whale, Shep & Ian, and a room full of local VV fans, it’s safe to say that we certainly feel welcome in New Jersey! We were also glad to donate 10% of the night’s sales to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, a wonderful organization that is near and dear to us.

Thanks to the new VV team at Short Hills and to everyone who came out to make the event such a success!

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Be sure to check out more photos over on our flickr feed!

While vineyard vines’ roots are planted firmly in New England, the Good Life is all about including as many people as possible, so what better way to do that than to set up shop for the first time on the West Coast. On Wednesday last week, we celebrated the opening of our brand new store in Newport Beach, CA at Fashion Island and received a first class California Whalecome.

Shep and Ian were on hand to meet and greet with party-goers, who dined on apps from The Crow Bar and listened to tunes from Sounds of Paradise. A portion of the night’s sales were donated to the Orange County affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the the Cure.

A big thank you to all who came out to welcome us to the west coast. We couldn’t be more excited, and we have a feeling this is the beginning of a whale of a relationship!

shep and ian at newport beach store shep and ian with wade the west prep vineyard vines whale of a chardonnay st francis vineyard vines austin sounds of paradise band whale hats nautical kate blogger vineyard vines newport beach staff

 

Today’s post comes from Connor Farley who recently returned from an amazing charitable mission to Guatemala.

On June 24, I returned home from a week long mission trip to Guatemala – an extremely fulfilling experience. Although I didn’t quite know what to expect, or to what degree of gratitude would be felt by the Guatemalan families, I looked forward to the trip with nervous, yet excited anticipation. After our first night in Antigua, our mission group served all day at a malnourishment center for starving children whose mother’s could not afford to feed or clothe their children. (Mother’s will literally walk up the face of the mountain to drop their kids off at the center – where they know the children will receive deserving attention) After our first day at the center, part of the group (including myself) headed off to a remote hut-filled village to build a house for a homeless family. We completed the house in three days and along the way, I got to play “Fútbol” with the local kids who lived in the surrounding huts. I had never been so humbled before by the sincere affection and family dedication that the children and parents of Guatemala showed all of us that week. Everything from the sharing of meals to the sharing of clothes, beds, and clean water opened my eyes to the immense poverty that devastates remote, but beautiful people.
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The inspiration to do this trip came from a single source – vineyard vines. VV displays an encouraging and enthusiastic effect on their community by promoting the helping of the less fortunate through charitable donations and local gestures of generosity. On a more personal note, vineyard vines inspired me to help others after fulfilling my hopes of one day working for the company. Although I’m still in high school, I sent in a package of drawings and designs – on a whim – that I thought might help benefit the company, or at the very least offer a little inspiration of design. Shortly after I sent in the package, vineyard vines (including Mr. Shep Murray himself) responded to my letter with sincere appreciation and thanks for being a contributing fan – an indication of their loyalty to customers, and an authentic concern for the happiness of “The Vine” community. This lead me to think that if a major company, especially the founder, is willing to take the time out of their day to show appreciation for a person they will probably never meet, what does that say about their mission? In short: a lot. Their appreciation was indirectly translated into mission work in Guatemala; by responding to my family and I, VV unknowingly responded to poor families in Guatemala. Their message is simple: Compassion is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.

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Independence Day has come and gone, but VV is still making fireworks! This week’s story comes to us from young Elise, who must have felt like a real “rock lobster” in her new twirly dress. Feel free to wear this dress wherever and whenever you wish!

“What’s July 4th without a new red, white, and blue dress! When the vineyard vines Summer catalog came, my Mom and Nanny knew the Seascape Dress was for us! My little sister Brooke and I, love wearing twirly dresses and spending our summer vacation with our Nanny and Poppie at their  cottage on Goose Rocks Beach in Maine. We love our vineyard vines dresses so much that we insisted on wearing them to the Goose Rocks Beach July 4th 5k run to cheer on our Mom and Dad as they ran …. you can’t believe how many runners stopped to compliment us on our dresses! We refused to take these special dresses off and spent the rest of the day in them at the beach and during our Red, White, and Blue Lobster cookout ( I especially loved the lobster and strawberry shortcake) and while I carefully experienced my first sparklers . We’ve worn these dresses almost every day since July 4th throughout Kennebunkport and Hanover, NH. We can’t wait to show these off when we get home to Alexandria, VA. I’ve already asked my mom if I can wear it to school on the first day of First Grade!”

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Last Wednesday, we properly celebrated the Grand Opening of our brand-new store in the SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, NC and we couldn’t have asked for a better welcome into the city! In addition to the hundreds of people who came out, our new friends at vitaminwater handed out free drinks, Scott Smith provided live tunes, and Dean & Deluca delivered delicious snacks. Oh, and did we mention the whale made an appearance? All in all, we are thrilled to finally be in the great city of Charlotte and look forward to seeing you all in the store in the future! Thanks to Charlotte Magazine, Rachel Sutherland Communications, and to all who came out!

Here are a few photos from the event. Check out more on our flickr page!

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Shep and Ian have made it a habit over the years to experience the Good Life in as many places as possible. Whether it’s a beach in Jamaica or a Yacht Club in the British Virgin Islands, you can bet that the guys have made a stop there.

We’ve teamed up with the travel gurus at Jetsetter to bring you a collection of Shep & Ian’s favorite places; a collection we like to call “Lighthouses and Lobster Rolls.” Head over to the Jetsetter website to check out the collection and as a bonus, if you follow this link, you’ll get a $50 new member credit when you sign up. Plus, the first 200 to book through Jetsetter will get an exclusive vineyard vines Captain Tote. Sounds like a win-win to us! Enjoy!

 

Summer may just be starting, but we’ve already got our eyes on the new fall collection. Shep & Ian were busy yesterday going through a full table spread of tie patterns and picking out their favorites – only the best will make the collection!

Want to learn more about Shep & Ian and vineyard vines? Everything from how we got started to who has a messier desk is covered in this great interview by The Daily Front Row! Check it out!

Update: To get the most current form for 2012, please follow this link: http://vvin.es/VVNeckties

With Father’s Day approaching, it’s time for us to once again roll out our annual Design a Tie for Dad contest! Grab your entry form here or by clicking the image below. Also, check back here soon for the full scoop on last year’s winner! (be sure to also check out the contest rules before entering!)

This past weekend, we headed to the Music City to celebrate the opening of our new store in Green Hills. While we could have done without the rain, we couldn’t have been more happy to see so many of our new and old Nashville friends at the event! Shep, Ian, and the VV whale were all on hand to officially christen the new store with live music, food, and of course, whale hats. Thanks to everyone who came out to the event and for welcoming us to Nashville!

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