Fashion Style

Bonnie Geer has to be one of the most energetic, upbeat people in Charleston. In the few years that I have had the pleasure of knowing her, she has worn many hats: wife, mother of two active children, fitness trainer, vice president of a major skincare company, Director of Development of the Children’s Museum and now Director of Business Development for the Worth New York clothing line. Whew! Is there anything this “can do” lady can’t do? Well, apparently not, because her latest business endeavor with Worth is also thriving. I had the chance to catch up with her recently to find out most about Worth and why she is so enthusiastic about it.

SB: What made you decide to take this new position with Worth?

BG: They actually approached me over two years ago to work with them and it seemed to be a great opportunity to blend my backgrounds in fashion, business and sales. You know, many people don’t realize that I have a degree in fashion merchandising from the University of Georgia.

SB: But Bonnie, you’re so young! Doesn’t Worth have the reputation of being clothing for older women?

BG: Well, Worth has been around for awhile, but the first thing to understand is that it’s NOT old lady’s a luxury clothing line designed by a 26-year designer. These are not matching sets of clothes but separates which can be coordinated in different ways or blended into a client’s existing wardrobe. Mixing pieces is a more individualized, modern way of dressing. It’s even marketed in an innovative way: in the homes of sales associates through one-on-one appointments. This offers women a more personalized, leisurely shopping experience than going to a conventional store...and it’s a lot more fun!

SB: How does “in home” shopping work?

BG: Worth produces four clothing lines per year -- spring, summer, fall and winter. Each season, the clothing is sent to the sales associate’s home and the client can look through and try on the clothing in a casual, relaxed environment.

SB: Who is your typical client?

BG: We have clients of all ages and lifestyles, but one of the fastest growing markets for Worth is the professional woman. Because they are generally time-starved, the idea of shopping for clothing this way instead of in stores makes sense because it saves time and energy. It’s one-stop shopping.

SB: Come one, aren’t some women intimidated by trying on clothes around friends?

BG: Well, yes, they are sometimes but I try to create a friendly social atmosphere where women can have a good time while trying things on. I encourage them to browse first and find something that they like. Once the ice is broken and they’re feeling more comfortable, they can start to try things on. Without any pressure, they can begin to relax and then it becomes fun. It’s a little like a grown up version of playing dress up.

SB: Okay, but how do you avoid selling the same outfit to two people who may run into each other at a party? After all, Charleston is still a pretty small place…

BG: I take very careful notes about who busy which pieces but with 500 pieces in each line to choose from, I rarely have people buying the same exact pieces. In the case of an item being really popular, I will limit the times I sell the piece and then I will “retire” it. In reality, however, people wear things very differently --- tucked in, buttoned up, left open, belted, not belted, etc. Each of our clients makes the clothing very personal.

SB: Let’s see: dressing up, having fun with friends, buying clothes --- what’s not to like?

BG: Exactly!

As Bonnie and I parted company, I checked my inbox and found an invitation for the next viewing of the Worth line. Why am I not surprised?

This post originally appeared in South of Broad and has been republished here with permission.