If you’re like me, you find yourself asking the question “What would Dolly do?” several times each day.
I have never asked myself that and you probably haven’t either. But Amanda Benedict did and it was a true life changing moment for her! Amanda, who had 15 years of experience in retail and over 10 years working in small boutiques, doing everything from buying to selling to merchandising and marketing, had been casually working on graphic T-shirt design ideas for months when the pandemic hit.
Like many of us, Amanda had concerns about her work, her responsibilities as a single mom, and how she would support her family. Her wheels got spinning and she thought why not release the T-shirt designs that she had been working on and try to sell them and have a little side business to help pay some bills? As a long time and passionate fan of Dolly Parton, she asked herself “What would Dolly do?” The answer was pretty obvious: ‘Tumble outta bed, stumble to the kitchen, and pour herself a cup of ambition!’
Amanda took her WWDD design, which she had been working on since early 2020, and had it turned into her first Blue Jean T-shirt. (More on the name Blue Jean in a moment!) Working with local designers and printers, the WWDD T-shirt started to sell and continues to be her top selling shirt. It became so popular that shoppers started asking for it in kids sizes so in 2021, the WWDD shirt for her Little Jean collection was introduced!
That first T-shirt gave life to six pages of T-shirts on her current website, bluejeanboutiquenc.com. And these are FUN T-shirts y’all! From Dolly to Johnny and June to Jesus and Shania, you can’t help but smile as you peruse the many comfy and cute options! And T-shirts turned to stickers and stickers turned to key chains, candles, cups, and on and on it goes!
Amanda also expanded into boutique clothing items and, of course, JEANS! I enjoyed learning how her business name was developed. “We all love a good denim jacket or have a favorite pair of worn-in blue jeans. They’re fashionable, comfortable and, best of all, make you feel GREAT. Which is exactly what we want Blue Jean Boutique to do for you,” says Amanda.
But there’s actually more to this story. Amanda, and her close friend and creative consultant, Parker, have a lot of amazing Jeans – with a capital J – in their lives. Amanda has her wonderful Grandma Barbie (Barbara Jean), her mother Cynthia Jean, and her little baby girl Delilah Jean. Parker has his sweet Grandma Jean (Catherine Jean) and his mom Pamela Jean. These women are proof that every woman has the power to be a positive force in the world, and that’s what Blue Jean Boutique is all about.
At this point you might be asking yourself how to visit the Blue Jean Boutique so that you can pay a visit and meet Amanda and her team. Are you sitting down? Amanda is a one-woman show and she manages ALL her Pop Ups in her adorable mobile boutique by herself! How many Pop Ups you might ask? Well, 65 in 2021 for starters! And she’s not slowing down in 2022 so you will have ample opportunity to check out her boutique and get some terrific clothing and gifts! Mark your calendar now for:
- Sip, Savor, Shop at the Greensboro Coliseum on Saturday, March 12
- Southern Charm at the Farm at Tanglewood Park on Saturday, April 23
In addition to a busy Pop Up schedule, continuing to design and parenting, Amanda makes time to give back. She feels that she has been blessed in her work and so she is very intentional about choosing important causes to support by sharing a percentage of product sales. The Blue Jean Give Back collections are special T-shirts designed with a supportive message specific to the chosen non-profit. At the time of writing, $10.00 from each purchase of her two featured T-shirts was being given to the National Breast Cancer Foundation or The Coral Reef Alliance.
One hard-working, intrepid young mom who makes it a point to count her blessings and spread love and joy to everyone around her. What would Dolly do? Dolly would be very, very proud.