Inner Tie Connects Unique Designs of Independent Designers with Customers

September 10, 2013

by Christy Krueger

Inner Tie is located on the 2nd floor of the Reilly's building.

A narrow staircase opens into a beautiful retail space.

Coming from a non-profit background, part of Jodi Henderson’s character is to selflessly support the local charity organizations that hold meaning to her. At the same time, she has a keen sense for business opportunities, which led to the opening of her new women’s fashion store, Inner Tie.

While earning her degree in theater, Henderson took costuming classes and developed an interest in fashion. When she later ran into a high school friend who was making her own clothing, the light bulb went off for Henderson.

“I thought – how many people are out there who design and sew in their basement and haven’t had the chance to go out on their own. Now I work with independent fashion designers across the country producing their designs in the U.S. I sell and market for them and they receive royalties,” Henderson explained.

She originally planned to sell exclusively online and by phone, but that changed after locating a great retail spot above Reilly Craft Pizza on Pennington Street. “When I found the Downtown Tucson location, I thought there could be a retail component.” Now approximately 50 percent of her business is retail.

Clothes and accessories are geared towards professional women who want a little something different.

Clothes and accessories are geared towards professional women who want a little something different.

Inner Tie fashions include a wide selection of skirts, dresses, blouses and sweaters – causal to formal. “It’s geared to professional women looking for different kinds of fashion who want something whimsical and fun and not look like everyone else,” Henderson said. “Working with independents, we get fresh designs that aren’t over produced. Only 100 to 150 are sold across the country.” Most of the manufacturing is done in Portland, Ore.

The name of Henderson’s business, she said, is based on a clothing term. “Inner tie is a hidden belt inside a garment. I was a quick, secret connection bringing designers and customers together.”

Her next step is to expand on this concept. “I want to be able to work with more independent designers. Any designer can submit a sample and my customers will vote on them. That way I’m giving my customers a say of what they want.”

Nationally she reaches out to potential clients through her website, Google AdWords, partnerships with bloggers, social media and her own blog. “Social media is big,” she noted. “If customers have a connection with you, they’re more likely to feel confident in purchasing.”

Inner Tie Shop 1 sm

The view from the 2nd story retail shop.

Marketing locally includes advertising with LivingSocial and Tucson Lifestyle, opening her doors for 2nd Saturdays Downtown and participating in charity fashion shows.

Henderson’s 1,700-square-foot shop, which opened in April, includes a catering kitchen to accommodate the various events she hosts. These affairs tend to be fun, shopping oriented and have a charity component, going back to her days in the non-profit sector when she worked for Tucson Museum of Art and Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

On the calendar in October is what Henderson is calling a ShoeNeral, in honor of the building’s former life as a funeral parlor. She created the event as an entertaining, lighthearted way to collect retired footwear that she’ll pass on to Dress for Success, an organization that provides job training and career apparel to women entering the workforce.

“People donate gently used shoes. You get up and say something nice about your shoes and have your picture taken with the R.I.P wreath. It allows me to give back to the community and it ties into the business.”

Inner Tie is located at 101 E. Pennington St., Suite 201, on the 2nd floor above Reilly’s Craft Pizza. Retail hours are Thursday through Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Visit www.innertie.com for more and to get a taste of the clothes and accessories.