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August 28, 2014

Nothing But Blue Skies


Every day we’re reminded of the awesome web of awesome people of which we are a part. First, we work with some pretty awesome people here at Blue Q HQ, if we do say so ourselves. We bust our asses together, giggle a lot, and make awesome stuff. Then we send it out to our awesome sales reps and distributors, who show it to awesome stores, who sell it to awesome people, who go out of their way to tell us how awesome they think the stuff is! It’s a feedback loop of awesome!

Sometimes, in our rush to focus on the stuff, we glaze over the middle part of that loop (I know loops don’t have middles, just go with it). But the truth is, there wouldn’t be stuff if there weren’t super-cool people and places to sell it. We’re talking about places like Blue Skies, an independent gift shop on the North Shore of Chattanooga, TN.

This one-of a kind curiosity emporium sells lots of funky jewelry, unique home goods, and, yes, Blue Q socks, bags, gum and more! They recently dedicated an entire window to our fancy footwear, and it totally blew our minds. And not only are they incredible shopkeepers and window dressers, they are kick-ass copywriters. “Socks so fun you’ll wish you had more feet!” !?? Come on, I wish I came up with that!

Anyway, we had to get to know them better. We wanted the whole scoop and nothing but the scoop! So we asked them a few questions, and owner Tina and webmaster Ginger were sweet enough to humor us. Thanks guys!

Give us the down-low on Blue Skies! What are you guys all about?

We are all about finding beautiful, cool, fun items to share with our customers.  We love to hear our customers ooh & aah over new artisan jewelry or watch them spend thirty minutes picking out just the right card.  And, it's especially heart-warming to see how tickled sweet little grandmother-types get when they buy a pair of Blue Q socks with swear words stitched on them.

Your store is so fabulous – unique, whimsical and cluttered in the best way! Tell us, what other stores and spaces do you look to for inspiration?

One store we find very inspiring is Oddyssea.  It's located a coast away from the Tennessee Valley, in Half Moon Bay, California. Their mixture of interactive retail with an outdoor garden is lovely, and the spirit of the store has made our Social Media Manager Extraordinaire, Ginger, officially deem them "blue skies' nerdy-cool, pirate-obsessed sister store."   Closer to home, Estate of Confusion and Knitting Mill Antiques, both in Chattanooga, are very cool spaces.  We love finding older storage pieces and furniture that inspire us to come up with new inventive ways to display merchandise, and both these stores are chock full of such goods.

I’ve never even been to Chattanooga and I’ve heard all about your freaking awesome customer service! How did you put together such an amazing team?

Thank you! Freaking awesome customer service is definitely something we strive to provide. Putting together an amazing team is partly luck of the draw, but, honestly, we think the aesthetic of the store and irreverent sensibility of a lot our merchandise tend to draw fun, curious, kind, and like-minded people to want to work here. We are pretty lucky to have so many great team members.  

What songs are on heavy rotation in the Blue Skies playlist?

We rock the satellite radio quite often. The weekdays tend to be a little more laid back and coffee-house style with the weekends a little more rockin'.  When we're not on the satellite, "Rocky Top" is always in our rotation. :)  We do love music at the blue skies and are fond of saying there are only two kinds: good and bad.

I noticed that on your website, all your employees list their favorite book. Do you guys have a Blue Skies book club? Can I join?

It's true, everyone at blue skies loves to read.  We had an official book club years ago, mainly to prevent anyone from talking about the end of Harry Potter 'til everyone had finished.  We'll revive the book club just so you can join us, if you please move to Chattanooga.  It's a great city and we have the fastest internet in the country!  Seriously.

What is Chattanooga’s “signature dish,” and where should I go to get it?

Lamar's fried chicken could rule the world. Luckily their cocktails are so stiff any world domination ideas quickly fade away.  Did we mention the velvet wallpaper with the No Touching sign?  The wallpaper's museum-quality and Lamar's is a Chattanooga institution. 

Ok, let’s get to this incredible window that you put together - that one with all the Blue Q socks. We are so honored!  Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?

Well, we had just kinda thrown some of your socks in our window as an interim display after taking down a window we did in May to promote the USA Cycling Trials that were held here in Chatt.   We had another new window idea in mind but were so entertained by the way people stopped and pointed and laughed at all the hilarious and fun Blue Q socks (and then came inside and bought them!) that we just knew we had to come up with a thoughtful (as opposed to thrown-together interim) Blue Q sock window display instead.   The socks are so sassy it was easy to see their words flying out of the mouths of sassy chicks.   The socks themselves were the inspiration--they speak--and speak for themselves.

That looks like a lot of lady-head-cutting and sock-tongue-gluing. Is it one lucky person’s job to do all that or does the whole staff get to join in on the fun?

Depends on the window concept and content.  Sometimes we all pitch in, like the time we spelled the word MOM out of paper flowers for Mother's Day.  But it's almost always at least two of us collaborating.   Our Fearless Leader and Store Owner, Tina, and our Special Projects Manager, Kelly, who also happen to be good friends and neighbors, created the Blue Q sock window.   Kelly did all of the lady-head-cutting by her lonesome, and together they painted the socks' matching accessories.   Look Mom!  No glue!  Those ladies' mouths are cut out too so each one just holds tight to her special sock. 

What’s the craziest thing you ever put in the windows at Blue Skies?

The craziest?  We're going to go with a Christmas window we did years back. We made a battalion of snow-women out of stuffed white trash bags and fabric batting with our xeroxed faces glued onto them. It was pretty memorable and well received by passers-by.

What’s one thing you’d like to see Blue Q make that we don’t already?

An anti-gravity bra or irreverent shaped ceramic ring holder. Whatever's easiest.

Ok, real talk. What’s your favorite Beyoncé song?

My heart says "Halo."  My dancin’ shoes say "Single Ladies." 

Next time you're in Chattanooga, stop into Blue Skies. And tell them we say hello. And that they are really, really, awesome.

Thanks a Bunch!

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I'm booking the next flight to Chattanooga- headin' for blues skies!!
Comment By: Tracey6 years ago 
We are so lucky to have Blue Skies in Chattanooga. They are most creative in their displays and they provide the best service posible. If you need a lift, go shopping at Blue Skies!
Comment By: Ellie6 years ago 

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