Y'all! I’m so thrilled to share my recent interview with the fabulous former Glamour magazine editor turned style icon and business guru behind the brand Ann Mashburn. Ann and her husband Sid launched their first joint fashion boutiques, Sid Mashburn (men’s) and Ann Mashburn (women’s), in Atlanta over ten years ago and have since opened up shops in DC, LA, Dallas and our very own Houston. Located off River Oaks Blvd, their Houston storefronts ooze cool with an ambience you just don’t find in any run of the mill retail shopping experience. On Sid’s side, you’ll spot a ping pong table and bourbon cocktails to sip on; the ladies will be tempted to perch on the sophisticated furnishings with a glass of pinot. I had the pleasure of doing just that with Ann in her River Oaks store last week. Read our conversation to see how she and Sid continue to grow their fashion empire, connect with their customers, and raise five girls all the while!
LZ: How did you get into the fashion business?
AM: I went to school in Colorado and was an English major and had this idea that I was going to get into business school so I did that and it was awesome, but I wanted to do something more creative. I wanted to write again and I wanted to write for a fashion magazine. I went to Paris after college and was totally inspired so I decided I wanted to move to New York. I interviewed for all of these different editors and got a call back from Vogue! It was such a crazy experience and I got to work with all of these amazing people. Cindy Crawford did her very first Vogue shoot on set with me!
LZ: What a dream! How long did you work for Vogue?
AM: I was an assistant for 18 months, which was eternity. I thought if I can make it a year that’s great, but I was able to stay longer. After that I went to Glamour magazine as an editor and I was there for about 8 years. Then I had a couple more kids so I went and worked freelance for J. Crew. I was a photo stylist one day a week and it was an awesome job. Then I had my last few kids, 5 girls in total, so I took a little break to raise them.
LZ: Where did the idea for Sid and Ann Mashburn come from?
AM: Really the whole idea came from my husband. He is an amazing designer. He was the first menswear designer at J. Crew. Then Ralph Lauren hired him to go there. He is really the key. He always wanted to do this, and I had no interest in doing what we are doing now. When he left his careers at all of these different places, we were in our mid 40’s and he said to me, "I really want to do this!" So we took a chance, and moved to Atlanta. We only knew one person there!
LZ: Why Atlanta?
AM: Because of the airport, we knew we were going to be doing lots of travel, and because we just kind of fell in love with the city. It was less expensive than New York City, to be frank. We plunked down there and started making his store. And then really what happened was our real-estate guy who we loved really pushed me to open a women's store.
LZ: What’s the best perk and biggest challenge of working with your husband?
AM: I think the best thing is that we’ve built something together, we’ve started something from nothing and made it and that’s really amazing. It’s also amazing to be able to do a lot of great travel together. The worst part is that you disagree, and disagreeing with your husband is not fun, especially when you might do so multiple times on any given day. And it’s also about stuff that’s meaningful, you’re slightly hurt if somebody gives you feedback about your creativity, so you have to be careful. But he’s great and he’s funny and we’ve been married a long time.
LZ: Where do you and Sid find inspiration for each season that comes about?
AM: I find a lot of my inspiration from what I learned as a fashion editor. The older fashion editors that I worked underneath influenced me and made me look at fashion in a different way. To me, that’s mostly what I’m influenced by. I would say that his shop is from a man’s point of view who’s a real designer and my shop is from the point of view of a woman who’s a fashion editor. Today I’m inspired by the same things you are, I’m on Instagram all the time, and I travel. I think women are always looking at other women, and then also because I am so immersed in it, I can tire of something maybe quicker than someone else so I will notice something new quicker than someone else because I have trained my eye to look that way.
LZ: How do you unplug?
AM: I’m still raising a child at home so to me anything domestic is so relaxing. I love to cook, I love to tidy. I love to be a mother, you’re not thinking about yourself so it’s so freeing.
LZ: If you could have one thing in the entire store, what is it?
AM: We call it our boyfriend shirt, it’s in our menswear oxford. It’s man’s style shirt, but you actually look very sexy because it's tailored and has all the touches of a menswear piece.
LZ: You’re hosting a dinner party, who are you inviting living or dead?
AM: If I’m having a dinner party, I'd to have to invite my husband! I would also have my brother who has passed away, but was amazing and so funny. And I would invite my friend Sapphire Barnes, she was my tutor at Vogue who taught me everything I needed to know. I was this little green Midwesterner and she was my savior , it was awesome.