During the season of thanks, Mud Pie is grateful for those who have stood behind us over the years: our 16,000 retailers. They continue to take pride in the brand as they display Mud Pie throughout their stores. We are welcoming a new initiative to show thanks to the back bones of Mud Pie. A handful of times throughout the year we will spotlight a retailer on the blog and on our social media channels.
This month we’re saying thanks to A. Dodson’s – a southern charm store with a side of urban grit based out of Virginia. Opened by Alison Dodson Anderson in 2003, the retail store now has three locations in Norfolk, Suffolk and Virginia Beach, VA.
Before we get into the delightfully inspiring interview, we want to talk about a little something special to A.Dodson’s. The store
has been nominated is one of the Quarterfinalist for Independent Small Business of the Year Award, and let us just tell you…Anderson and her team pour their hearts into the local communities through the stores Round Up Program (more information below). If they are honored with this award, the store is putting the cash prize right back into the community, standing behind its belief that if “we win, you win” mentality.
Vote A.Dodson’s November 23-December 13
Did we mention how fun it was to interview Anderson and her team? So much cheer and joy for what they do each day! And boy did they have Mud Pie smiling the whole way through. Thank you A. Dodson’s for kicking off our retailer spotlight initiative! Enjoy!
What inspired you to open a retail store? “Retail is in my blood.” Anderson grew up playing in her grandfather’s general store. Her mother also owned an Antique Store that she spent most of her childhood in. After growing up around family business and retail, Anderson moved to New York City and began working for brands like Anthropologie. The city and industry, combined with her childhood, inspired Anderson to venture out on her own retail journey. She decided to move back to Virginia in 2003 where she would create a local retail shop that would serve the community close to her heart.
How many employees does A.Dodson’s have? “About 32 as of this morning.” A. Dodson’s normally ups its numbers during the busy holiday season. The store appreciates all of their teams’ hard work. Some key players include: Rachel – Marketing Director; Amy – Creative Director; and Lexi – Executive Assistant
Describe the feel of A.Dodson’s. A. Dodson’s mission is to offer a transformative experience by touching all five senses. When a customer first walks in, the store offers them toffee that people say they travel miles to taste. There are candles lit to enhance smell. The touch sense is ignited as customers feel the fabrics, textures and products. A. Dodson’s has created an atmosphere that makes customers fall in love, which in turn betters the shopping experience. Many will linger in the store for hours and walk multiple laps because they are invited to a charming and rustic-chic atmosphere – the interior is hypnotizing!
Tell us about the Round Up Program. The Round Up Program began from requests for donations and gifts. Anderson felt like this method wasn’t going anywhere for the store, so she thought she would initiate a program asking customers if they would like to max their change to go towards a donation. The thought to “Take Less, Give More” is the heartbeat that drives the program. When the customers “Round Up” their total at checkout, the store matches their gift and presents the donations to local missions, selected by fans each month. 4 years, 54 non-profits, and $43,194.50 later, what began as “Round Up” has transformed into an awarding lifestyle.
What is your favorite Mud Pie item? “Too many items to pick just one!” The Anderson Dress is her go to piece. Anderson believes it is flattering on anyone and has the perfect fit. Also, the Fall 2015 blanket scarves. For Spring 16, Anderson is looking forward to the Chambray Shirt Dress. As a store, they believe that the March of Dimes baby socks are the “best fitting sock ever!”
Top selling Mud Pie collections? There is not just one collection – Mud Pie is across the whole spectrum. Anderson feels that the more they carry, the better story they can tell with it. To mention a few, the clutches and handbags are always a huge hit. The mango wood boards are also a hot item.
What ignites your passion for retail? “Always the customer!” Anderson lives, breathes, sleeps and eats retail. The customers experience ignites her. In more recent years, the Round Up Program has furthered that passion.
What is your escape when you want to create new visions for your store? Going to markets and seeing product gives Anderson new visions. She and the team are constantly attending market and shows from Dallas to Vegas to NY and beyond! Anderson is also inspired when she walks the streets and feels the atmosphere in different cities. She believes that getting out of your element and feeling slightly uncomfortable in a foreign place is a great means of inspiration.
What is your go to item in your own closet? BedStu Boots! (available at the store). Those plus leggings and cozy tanks – year round staples!
Your favorite style tip? Anderson’s niche is classic, chic lifestyle. She believes in making every day life, from home to fashion, functional. She relates to outfits and decor that moms can easily throw on and wear. Having kids of her own, she knows the importance of functionality.
Dream vacation? Motorcycling through Vietnam with her husband.
What is your dream job? “I’m living my dream career.” Anderson wakes up doing what she loves every day, but as a kid she dreamed of being an Olympic Jumper. She still holds her passion for riding horses close to her.
And remember – vote A. Dodson’s for Independent Small Business of the Year Award!