Imogene + Willie > The 21st Century Mom & Pop Store

Thursday, August 12, 2010

There's nothing wrong with modest beginnings...  Get yourself acquainted with Imogene + Willie, the Nashville, TN artisan denim clothing & accessories store.  A year ago, husband and wife owners Matt & Carrie Eddmenson started with a blog (its cheaper than a website), a Paypal account (a safe & secure form of accepting payments), and an email, sent out to their friends and family announcing their business intentions.  Within 30 days, the couple raised the $25,000 needed to kick start their formalized company - accountant & attorney included. 

Working with denim comes naturally for Carrie.  In her previous work experience with her family's denim business based in Kentucky, she specialized in the development of "washes" for jeans, taking on Ralph Lauren as client.  In 2003, Matt, who has known Carrie since she was 10, joined Carrie's family business, bringing with him his keen sense of style & design.  The couple recognized a need to tap into the emerging trend of handcrafted clothing rooted with Americana style, and seized the opportunity to showcase custom & artisan denim designs within their own Mom & Pop style store.  Matt and Carrie looked to family inspiration for their new company's name, choosing the first names of her maternal grandparents.  They decided to relocate to Nashville, acquired and renovated an old gas station as their new storefront, and enlisted the talented craftsmen services of 2 tailors, long time friends associated with Carrie's former family run business, responsible for the creation of their custom orders.  The storefront houses both retail and workshop space - with all custom denim designed and produced on site.  Loyal customers include rockers Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Kings of Leon, as well as the admiration from stylish celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow, whose discovery of I + W happened while filming a movie on location in Nashville. 

Keeping community at the forefront, Matt & Carrie use the I + W network of fans to help raise awareness and support causes close to their hearts.  During the epic Nashville floods back in May, I + W played host to neighborhood fundraisers for those in need.  Stop by Thursday nights for Supper and Song - a gathering in the backyard of the store featuring the culinary delights of Mas Tacos, a local food cart purveyor, and live musical acts highlighting the sounds of a local singer/songwriters.

Exciting recent news for Matt & Carrie and I + W include a partnership with J Crew - bringing handcrafted denim to a wider audience, and Garden & Gun Magazine including I + W as one of their top 21 "Southerners to Watch", featured in the August/September 2010 issue.

Matt and Carrie Eddmenson - Garden & Gun Magazine

Garden & Gun Magazine - August/September 2010

Check out the video below and listen to Matt & Carrie talk about I + W and see more details of the interior of their shop.

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