Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Yours Not Hers: 
A Customizable Lifestyle

Jeannine Benoit
By Elizabeth Buczak
BeansTalk Contributor

When it comes to fashion, the worst thing is to see someone wearing the same exact blouse or skirt as you. It makes you feel like your just like everyone else. Almost as if originality didn't exist. Cue in the DIY line started by Jeannine Benoit. No, not "Do It Yourself" but "Design It Yourself."

Benoit, 29, is the fashion-fueled brain behind her own semi-customizable brand Yours Not Hers, or YNH for short. ( YNH was created when Benoit realized she wanted to start tweaking certain things in her wardrobe. “I was actually on a date with my now husband, I was getting ready to go out with him and there was this top I wanted to wear and I wanted it to be a little bit different than it was, and I just started thinking, the whole day I was thinking there’s got to be an idea here,” she said. The seed for her own company was planted.

You can pick the size and shape that will best fit you and accessorize it as a reflection of your personality. “What you like isn’t necessarily what I like. You can go on and select the magenta with the gold buttons and think that’s the perfect blouse for you, but maybe I would say it’s the black with the exposed zipper for me” she said.

The lines was launched in January 2012 and up until recently, only featured one blouse, The Sheridan retailing at $88. The second blouse, The Marias, is expected to launch sometime in 2013. In the future Benoit hopes to release a high waist pencil skirt, which she explained is customizable on the waist piece. "You can pick the two buttons that are going to be on the back, and than what kind of ribbon or detail you want right on the waist band,” she said.

“I think honestly, customization is the way the fashion world is going to go so I’m excited that we’re kind of getting started from the ground up.” Alyssa Thomas, owner of Comfort Me a boutique in Chicago that carries Benoit’s line, agreed that Benoit was touching the tip of the iceberg with her line. “We have customers that come in and complain they can never find pieces that fit their body shape. The idea of being your own designer excites every woman.”

Currently Benoit’s designs can be found in 8 boutiques in the Chicago-land area and in four boutiques nationwide: San Diego, San Francisco, and two in North Dakota. “Its kind of changed the model of what YNH is for me and I’m just growing with those changes and trying to figure out how to keep that customization as much as I can but still go mass into boutiques and hopefully a retailer,” said Benoit.

Most of the publicity comes from word of mouth, which Benoit created by starting BYOD- Be Your Own Designer. BYOD brings the blouses and trims to the home for parties (be it bachelorette, birthday or just girls night), along with champagne and appetizers. BYOD creates such a buzz around the brand, that her last four clients were BYOD referrals.

But what makes Benoit such a fashion expert? Well aside from her time as a fashion correspondent for NBC 5 and a contributor at many fashion magazines, she came up with an idea that can revolutionize the way we look at fashion. By customizing our outfits, we can add a piece of ourselves into a blouse or a skirt in a way thats more personal than just piecing together an outfit from pieces everyone already has. Do you think semi-customizable lines are the future of fashion?? Will more women pick up the idea of being their own designer rather than settling for what retailers have to offer?