Sororities come to the aid of Wish Boutique
Nestled deep inside the span of road that is Westheimer, the Wish Boutique seems overshadowed by the profitable thrift stores, such as its neighbor, Buffalo Exchange.
“We’re a boutique that is overlooked because of our position on the street and our position on the strip,” Wish Assistant Manager and former UH theater and fashion student Leslie Bautista said. “We’re a completely different store compared to what is on the rest of the street.”
Working alongside UH Public Relations Student Society of America members Taylor Martin and Raquel Gonzalez, Wish received the notice it desired while promoting sisterhood at the 2010 UH Sorority Soiree on April 29.
Martin and Gonzalez came up with the idea for the Sorority Soiree two months ago, when Bautista, who wanted more coverage for her store and more clientele, approached them. It was a perfect fit for Public Relations Student Society of America’s target audience — young women, specifically since they bond best with fashion in the mix.
“They (sororities) are a huge group on campus, and we know that sororities use experiences like this, especially girls in general,” Martin said. “Sororities need a lot of bonding experience and teamwork. So, we thought this would be a great experience for them.”
The soiree had several games available for friendship building, such as a Dress Your Mannequin Challenge with one rule: it had to be in style. Well-known photographer Matthew Marand was also on hand to capture all the special moments. Marand has worked with designer Betsey Johnson, GOOD Magazine and the Houston Chronicle.
In addition, all UH students were given a 25 percent discount on all regularly priced items.
“They weren’t with their fellow sisters,” Bautista said. “They had to use team work to get along with each other and meet new people which is a positive thing.”
Martin said that they were able to use their knowledge on marketing and PR planning from the classes they were taking at UH to plan this event.
“We sent three media kits to three different fashion magazines and one to the Houston Chronicle,” Martin said. “We also did calendar postings on people’s Web sites. We had a lot of first times.”
Yet, this wasn’t the first time PRSSA has put on an event to promote sisterhood and friendship. Last year, the girls hosted a CW Party for the sororities, which landed the girls in a competition that sent them to Los Angeles, in which they got to meet some of the cast from 90210.
The experience of planning events has helped build confidence and ideas for the future, Martin said.
“We are looking into doing a ‘What to Wear?’ event for the fall,” Martin said. “The president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council really wants us to do this to show newcomers who are rushing what to wear to meetings and other events.
“We’re thinking about showing examples of dresses from Wish.”
Bautista said despite its lack of attention, the store does get a lot of buzz from sorority members.
“The girls usually need a lot of dresses for many occasions,” Bautista said. “We do have a lot of girls who say they come here because not a lot of people come to our store, so they will have a dress no one else will have.”
The employees of Wish cater to every customer, Baustista said.
With the help from PRSSA, Bautista said the store management has been able to open up their minds.
“Taylor and Raquel have so many ideas. Each meeting with them blows our minds,” Bautista said. “We’ve definitely learned a lot from them with PR and marketing.”