Editor’s note: Leading up to National Daughters’ Day on September 25, we’re highlighting a series of local mother-daughter duos who are collaborating to inspire the community and excel in business. Enjoy!
When it comes to fashion savvy, sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Such is the case with mother-daughter team Betsy Taylor and Edie Caldwell, who opened Shop Alice in West Nashville two years ago. Like its owners, the boutique embodies style and grace, offering a curated collection of clothing and accessories for women of all ages. Please welcome this week’s FACES of Nashville, Betsy Taylor and Edie Caldwell.
First things first: What inspired you to open a shop together?
Betsy: Well, I had been thinking about finding a spot for a long time — a place where I could show small, special little designers. Things you can’t find in every store and on every website. There is so much out there! I hate that fashion has become so mass-produced, and I wanted a home for the artisans and niche designers. Edie was pretty much drafted into working with me! As a start-up business in an out-of-the-way spot, we have some slow days. I needed someone to work with who I would be okay spending lots of downtime with and vice versa.
Edie: That is pretty much it! She begged me to quit my job, take a pay cut, and come work with her. I couldn’t really pass up the trips to Paris.
Tell us a bit about each of your backgrounds in fashion.
Edie: In college, I worked at a really fun boutique, and they started taking me to market. I loved that part — finding new designers and being in on the decision-making.
Betsy: I have known for forever that I wanted to work in the fashion industry. I was an English major in college, mainly because it was my best subject, and I don’t think they offered any kind of fashion degree when I was at SMU (where I graduated). One of my first jobs was at Laura Ashley in D.C. When I moved back to Nashville, I got another job at a small boutique, and like Edie, they took me to market, and I was hooked.
What is the first fashion piece (or memory) that made an impression on you as a child?
Betsy: I swear mine must have been in the womb. I never remember not being fascinated with what people (mostly women) were wearing and all of the fashion magazines. Seventeen Magazine had a huge influence on me. My older sister had a subscription, and I probably started reading it at age 9 or 10.
Edie: I think it helped to have a fashion-obsessed mom. Plus, she worked at H. Audrey when I was in high school and college. The first piece I remember really feeling like I had to have was a leather jacket — that was the thing. It was by June and a knockoff of Rick Owens with the tight sleeves. Also, some Rag and Bone booties were also a big deal.
What influences what you carry in the store?
Edie: It’s pretty much what catches our eye. We don’t always agree, but our tastes, I think, work well together.
Betsy: For sure, Edie needs to rein me in at times, but at my age, I do understand women’s bodies better, so we make a good team.
What can we look forward to for the fall?
Betsy: I think the “quiet luxury” movement is taking hold, but we will also have lots of color. We really tried to bring in fabrics and styles that specifically work for Nashville and our clientele instead of getting too caught up in trends.
Edie: All of the above!
What essential pieces should we add to our wardrobes?
Betsy: That’s tough. I always think a good jacket or blazer is a smart purchase. It is just so versatile, and with our climate here, it basically doubles as your coat.
Edie: We saw pinstripes in unexpected places, and I would say find a way to add something fun with that or a cargo pant. We have a really cute tweed cargo pant coming that I’m excited about!
What is the best part about working together, and what is the biggest challenge?
Edie: The best part is the travel, especially the trips to Paris. The worst part is that my mom is so chaotic and unorganized! She can make a mess faster than anyone; she is constantly trying to do 10 things at once.
Betsy: I agree that I am messy and chaotic, but I think there is a method to my madness. It’s probably too late to change me. I agree on the “best” part. I love traveling together!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Betsy: Mine may sound odd, but the best thing someone ever told me was that you don’t owe people an explanation for your choices. I was blathering to a friend, justifying something I had done (which was to hire a babysitter so I could do something for myself, by myself), and I didn’t want her to think I was a bad mom. She looked at me and said, “You don’t need to justify yourself to me.” I just looked at her and said, “Thank you.” For some reason, that was a real turning point for me.
Edie: If it’s trending, it’s over.
Outside of faith, family, and friends, what three things can’t you live without?
Betsy: Books, rosé, and tweezers,
Edie: Is my dog considered family? Copper (my fox red lab), lemons, and Reginette Pasta from Roze Pony.
Favorite book recommendation:
Edie: I don’t read a ton, but I did really like the book Daisy Jones and the Six.
Betsy: There is nothing I love more than reading! I can’t believe I didn’t raise a reader … A book I really loved was Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc. It is a nonfiction account of two different families in the Bronx ghetto. I read it years ago, but it had a huge impact on me and how I viewed certain people and things.
Most memorable recent meal:
Edie: St. Barts on my honeymoon! Every meal was great.
Betsy: On a recent trip to London with girlfriends, we took a day trip to Petersham Nurseries in Richmond (about 45 minutes out), and I highly recommend doing this. We had the most wonderful afternoon. There is an antique shop, a tearoom, and a little restaurant. It was one of the best meals on the trip and just an all-around great experience.
Favorite places to shop outside of your own boutique:
Edie: The Frankie Shop in Paris! We both love it, but it’s more me than my mom.
Betsy: La Garçonne. It’s a website, though they do have a storefront in New York. I love their eclectic mix of lines.
Your go-to gift to give:
Edie: The Suede and Smoke candle from H. Audrey.
Favorite spots to take out-of-town guests to eat, drink, and shop:
One last question: Where did you come up with the name “Shop Alice?”
Betsy: There is a whole blog about that on our website!
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Betsy and Edie! And thanks to Nathan Westerfield for the images.
Nashville women are doing inspiring work. Meet more of them at our FACES archives!