Meet the talented twosome behind Stella Blu in Mountain Brook Village, sisters Emily Arnold and Halle Ray.
Stella Blu was an instant hit from the very day it opened its doors in the summer of 2010. Emily and Halle both graduated from Auburn with a degree in fashion design and have been involved in fashion ever since. Emily worked as a stylist to the stars in LA. Halle has worked in retail management in Atlanta, Charleston and Fairhope.
Both sisters have extensive knowledge of the retail world, ranging from buying, wholesale repping, styling and management, so it was a no-brainer for them to open their own store. Stella Blu is the realization of a long-time dream for these sisters. These girls know what works and offer a curated selection of clothes that appeals to the fashionista, the girl next door and everyone in between.
The store carries many popular brands that are hard to find locally, such as Amanda Uprichard, Aaron Ashe, Blank, Greylin, Kelsi Dagger, Jenny Han, Isabel Lu, Rory Becca, Rebecca Minkoff and many, many more.
StyleBlueprint caught up with Emily and Halle recently, and here’s what we learned about these two stylin’ sisters:
SB: What do you love most about your job?
Emily: Wow where do I start? Well, we have the most wonderful customers. We have a blast working together. Normally we start the day out with music, and if mom is working you might pop in the store and hear Tina Turner, Earth Wind & Fire, or Steely Dan playing. Sometimes we break into dance mode (usually when nobody is in the shop). We want you to walk into Stella Blu and feel right at home. There is nothing worse than when you walk in a store and feel tension or the people behind the counter act snobby. Who has time for that? We love what we do and we want it to show when you walk in Stella Blu!
Halle: Working with Emily is always fun – maybe sometimes we have too much fun! Throw our mom into the mix and it’s a party. Emily and I always dreamed about owning our own boutique. You really can’t beat seeing your dream come to fruition. And at the end of the day we have each other to celebrate it with! What’s more fun than that?
SB: Any challenges working with your sister?
Emily: Few challenges, probably because we are so opposite. She is much more business-savvy and organized, which is a HUGE blessing. Work is definitely more fun when you get to work and travel with your sis. I can’t imagine doing this business without Halle…definitely wouldn’t be as fun. We are also blessed to have our mom work at Stella Blu. She has been a great addition, and all of our customers love Mom.
Halle: There have not been many challenges working as sisters, thank God. We have been blessed. I think it has helped because we are so different on some aspects but always agree on style and buying.
SB: What blogs do you like?
Halle: I love the Sartorialist, a blog by Scott Schuman. He takes photographs of people around New York who have a flare for fashion. That’s why I love visiting New York – it is exciting to see what everybody is wearing! There are influences from around the world, no rules and people are fearless when it comes to personal style.
SB: What’s your best date night line up?
Emily: Definitely Gianmarco’s wine bar….crab cakes for an appetizer and for an entree, the veal tortellini with gorgonzola cream sauce…amazing. Then head to Highlands Bar and Grill for some bread pudding and glass of pinot noir, and if the night is still young, we always love Dram for a glass of wine or one of their brewed beers. We love everyone at Dram, and they are almost like family. Another fun spot is Onas for some great jazz music.
Halle: Dinner and going to a concert. I love seeing Black Jacket Symphony at Workplay. They are so much fun!
SB: What’s your favorite restaurant?
Emily: I have many favorites. Vino is a fave right now because it has a great atmosphere…and I love being able to sit outside. You can even bring your dog. I highly recommend the stuffed artichokes, capellini pasta, keylime cheesecake and a bottle of Belle Gloss pinot noir.
Halle: Dyron’s because it is great food and reminds me of when we lived in Charleston. Also Dram because we love the food and everybody that works there!
SB: So…we hear you have a serious sweet tooth. What’s your favorite candy?
Emily: I am a sugar freak, so it’s hard to pick just one….Reese Cups (anything chocolate), gummy worms, and Swedish Fish (green ones are the best). There are many times when I pick up lunch I come back with treats. It’s kind of a bad habit…cookies, cake bites, you name it.
SB: Congrats, Halle! Last question: where did the name Stella Blue come from?
Emily: The name is random. I loved the name Stella, and Halle and I love the color blue (maybe because of the ocean). Halle looked up Stella and found that it means style in Greek. We liked how Stella Blu sounded, and there you have it!
Thanks, Emily and Halle! Stop by Stella Blu and say hello and check out all the super cute clothes. And remember to sign up for StyleBlueprint emails at StyleBlueprint.com.