We are so excited to share our latest Retailer Spotlight with you. Meet Cathy & Raul, the married couple and creative duo behind the fabulous retail and web stores, "What She Buys!"
Please tell us a bit about WhatSheBuys and what influenced you to start your own business. Cathy is the Chief Buyer and the “She” in WhatSheBuys. The name WhatSheBuys refers to the high quality brands and unique products that she buys for family and friends and that she has been identifying for our customers since 2003. Over her 25 year retail career, she’s earned a reputation for researching products and identifying the best.
At WhatSheBuys, we research, select and usually offer only one brand per product category – our selection of the best. We train our Customer Service Representatives regularly and thoroughly on each brand that we offer to help and give customers confidence when they make their purchase.
WhatSheBuys is only one of three retailers that are 5 star rated by Yahoo! Shopping with over 5,000 written customer reviews and the only one of those three that is A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau. Customers also get great value with Free Shipping and Free Gift Wrap (no minimum is required).
WhatSheBuys launched in April 2003 selling several cosmetic brands that Cathy already represented. Raul and Cathy used their guest house for the business. They had a couple of computers, used a closet to store the cosmetics and sent out their daily shipments. Raul’s trading would get interrupted by the periodic customer calls. With those initial high quality brands in hand, Cathy was able to go after more brands. Since she had recently been spending lots of time researching baby products, they decided that category would be next. They started to use their garage for store products. Then in November 2003, they got an unexpected surprise. Oprah selected one of their brand's robes and throws for her Holiday Favorites show. The orders and the phones went nuts. The delivery trucks began to drop off large shipments at their house. They began to fill their dining room, living room and bedrooms with product.
When a delivery truck broke a major branch of a neighbor’s tree, they decided it was time to lease space. They liked a space in the Mission District of San Gabriel which had been available for two years. Raul used his real estate expertise to strike a deal and they moved in December 2003. That space served both as the store and warehouse. Raul abandoned his stock trading to focus exclusively on the business. Eventually, the WhatSheBuys business consumed all of Cathy’s time and she shut down the manufacturer’s rep business.
Today, WhatSheBuys has its headquarters in San Gabriel, CA where the company processes and ships all its internet and phone orders from an office and warehouse facility. The company’s physical store is located in nearby San Marino, CA.
To this day, Cathy jokes about Raul’s promise that all she would have to do is shop.
Describe your personal style and how it affects your buying decisions? [Cathy] I am a classic type of girl with a fun twist. I love the classics, but I also like to mix in some funky and fun. I actually look for products that I like and I would use. I don’t fall in love with much….. so when I do fall in love with something I have to offer it in my store.
What Current trends are you the most excited about? [Cathy] As far as color I am thrilled about teal coming back into fashion. I think teal looks good on almost all skin tones. I am finding it on everything this year - from classic handbag company Longchamp to hip and fun boots like UGG. I also think that in the U.S. we’ve had a few tough years. It’s been bleak and everyone’s been saving and living a careful lifestyle. I am excited about newness and a little luxury.
What can we expect from your company in the future? [Raul] We will continue to grow sales by adding more high quality brands like Little Giraffe, UGG and Longchamp. We will remain true to our concept as a boutique retailer, identifying the best brands and products for our customers. We have no designs on becoming a large retailer.
What are your favorite picks from the Little Giraffe and Giraffe at Home collections? [Cathy] I love, love, love the Chenille Blankets and toddler towels. When my twins were smaller and I would pick them up with their blankets. It was so reassuring to know something so soft and cuddly was keeping them wrapped in love and warmth. Also, when I gave the babies their baths it made me happy to dry them off with the cute towel with ears. It helps giving them a bath a little more fun.
Regarding the Home collection there are so many things I love. In our son’s room we have the Chenille extra large throw (is being used as my son’s twin blanket), a queen sham (my son loves it because it has the satin which is cool against the skin on one side for the warm summer months and the soft cuddly warm chenille on the other side for the cold winter months). We also have a beautiful Luxe throw (silver fox pattern) in our living room. We’ve also gifted the extra large throw to the grand parents in our lives. They are always cold and it seems to be the blanket that keeps them the warmest.
Seven Secrets About Cathy & Raul: Our favorite thing to give as a gift is: For the little ones: Little Giraffe blankets For Adults: Cozy throw blankets For our immediate family: Little Giraffe Extra Large Throw
Our guilty pleasure: Ruth’s Chris steaks or a piece of dark chocolate with a glass of red wine
Websites that inspire us: The Web overall and its convenience for purchases and interaction inspire us.
Favorite City in the world: New York (favorite Village is Les Baux de Provence)
We cannot live without our: Honda Odyssey (now that we have twins!). It’s the only vehicle that can fit two twin baby seats in the center row and still fold down one chair to get to the back. Also, the trunk can lay flat and be used as a diaper changing station.
Money is no object when it comes to: Our 3 boys
One thing you don’t know about us is: We were high school sweethearts.
Thanks Cathy & Raul for sharing with us...
What She Buys - What She Buys