After a few years of working at her father’s crop insurance agency, Trish Tilberg knew something was missing. What that was exactly came to her while on a trip to Europe, when she realized she wanted to own her own clothing business for her and for the community. Thus, the birth of TH Grey, the latest clothing boutique to hit downtown Sioux Falls.
“I started online in October of 2016, which allowed me to start out slow and figure things out as I went, like deciding on brands and styles,” explained Tilberg.
She says she knew she had a unique style to bring to the area, focusing heavily on the trendy, yet affordable statement pieces of the East and West Coasts, paired with timeless essentials.
Fast-forward to August of 2017, when Tilberg signed a lease between Bros Brasserie Americano and Oh My Word Luxury Paperie on Phillips Avenue, diving head-first into a storefront.
“I love being able to dress people. That’s what I love most about my job.”
The store design goes with the mantra of its products – modern and minimal. Tilberg says this makes it easy to shop, and is styled with every woman in mind. Tilberg not only offers clothing, but accessories, shoes, and handbags, allowing her customers to outfit themselves head to toe.
“Visual merchandising is huge, so playing with layouts and manequins is really important,” she said. “You have to pay attention to how people walk around, what they touch, and how they interact with the space.”
Not having this aspect in her online presence, Tilberg says her business skills and approaches are always evolving in an attempt to stay ahead of the game. A game, she says, that has a lot of room to grow. Tilberg knew she needed to offer something new in order to stand out from the multiple boutiques in the area and the rest of town. Not seeing what she herself wanted to wear locally, Tilberg used that for her business’s branding and development.
The four major components of TH Grey became: quality, comfort, tailored, and trendy.
For example, Tilberg offers a classic tweed jacket that she says will not only last as far as quality goes, but in fashion as well. For Tilberg, fashion is something that should bring your closet cohesiveness and never go out of style.
That being said, she also offers advice for the smoothest way to establish a new and successful business.
“You need to look at the quality of the location, the need for the product, and the want from the community and customers,” she said.
In Tilberg’s case, downtown seemed like the perfect place for her big-city vibe.
“Downtown is really starting to thrive with new shops and restaurants.” She continued, “People now have the ability to spend the entire day or evening there. I really like being a part of that experience for people, especially those who have never been to the area.”
Not only is it important to understand your market, but Tilberg also goes on to talk about the research aspect of owning your own business. Due to her degree in business from South Dakota State University, Tilberg was prepared to delve into the multiple elements of running a company, from financial security to marketing. As a first-time business owner, she says it’s important to go step by step when developing a brand, an advertising plan, and a financial agenda. In this case, the brand was timeless clothing meets new-age fashion. For example, “a classic blazer, but in bright yellow.”
“I’m really excited for summer. Things like comfortable basics and good denim are going to be big.”
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Tilberg talks about slow seasons and how to account for a decrease in traffic and sales.
“Having a presence both in the store and online, I have been able to account for my lack of in-store business through my online site,” she said. “Being downtown, a lot of my customers come on foot, so when it’s 20 below zero, that foot traffic is almost unheard of.”
Tilberg not only utilizes online, but cultivates business via private parties and events, all the while understanding the importance of face-to-face interaction. Being in the store almost every day, Tilberg has developed a relationship with most of her customers, instilling a sense of mutual respect and brand loyalty.
“We have many customers that are from out of town, and that’s when we realize that what we are doing is living up to the big city aesthetic,” said Tilberg. “TH Grey offers them clothing and brands they are used to in places like Minneapolis or Omaha, which gives me a sense of confidence in my styling.”
As far as styling goes, TH Grey provides an exclusive option for their customers on its website. There is an online style guide that shoppers can fill out, which acts as a personal profile card used to assist you in finding the right outfit. The website recently relaunched in March with updated navigation to ensure the shopping experience goes as smoothly as possible.
While customer awareness plays a vital role in owning a business, Tilberg claims that the majority of success is built up of confidence in your endeavor.
“You have to believe in your product and your brand in order for other people to.”
For more information, visit thgrey.com.
Some of TH Grey’s Brands
- Wanderlust + Co
- Beach Riot
- Tricia Fix
- Dolce Vita
- Pistola Denim
- Alma Guatemalan
L Couture Fashion Show
(Funds are donated to Sanford Children’s Hospital and Cure Kids Cancer.)
TH Grey will showcase fashions for the mothers of children affected by cancer. When:
Icon Event Hall + Lounge