Emily Rodrigue and Marlo Rodrigue aren’t biological sisters, though their last names might make you believe otherwise. Rather, they are Delta Zeta sorority sisters who found common ground in their entrepreneurial dreams.
A sophomore and junior at LSU respectively, the two took a leap of faith and launched MAREM, an online boutique specializing in on-trend apparel, this past July. Despite juggling other jobs, school responsibilities and a global pandemic, the best friends are optimistic about the future of their boutique. We sat down with Emily and Marlo to learn more about MAREM and their passion for business and fashion. Read on for the full interview.
1. Why did you decide to start a business while you’re both still in school?
Ever since we were little, we have been described as “go-getters.” If we had a dream or goal, we were going to achieve it. We have both always wanted to own a clothing store one day so we figured why wait? We set our dream in motion and have been working to make it as successful as possible ever since.
2. What is a typical day like you two and your team? How do you juggle school and a business?
While running MAREM, we both have other part-time jobs, are in school full time, and are very involved in our sorority. As you can imagine, days are very hectic. We typically start the day off with doing stuff for MAREM, then go to our part-time jobs, then it’s usually something with the sorority, then we finish the day off with more things for MAREM. Time management is our best friend. We had to learn how to prioritize our time and really ask ourselves what needs to get done today. We also make it a point to work around each other’s schedules and pick up the slack when the other is having a busier day. Getting everything done is hard but the reward at the end of the day makes it all worth it.
3. When did the store officially launch? How did you celebrate with social distancing?
We launched the online store on July 25! We celebrated with a limited number of family and friends in a large outdoor space so that social distancing could remain in place.
4. What sets MAREM apart?
MAREM is a company led by two young female entrepreneurs who do everything for the company from ordering clothes to physically packing the orders. Shopping with us is supporting a different type of businessperson. We also work to give our customers the cutest clothes at the best possible prices.
5. What is one thing you think customers should know about MAREM that they may not be aware of?
We actually run the store out of the hallway/nook in Emily’s apartment! This is where we store all the inventory and package all the orders. It gets a bit chaotic, but we make it work.
Also, all of our items are named after women who have supported us in one way or another. This is our way of acknowledging the strong women in our lives and giving a small thank you to them.
6. What are the first things customers see when they visit your website?
The first thing customers see is our homepage with our favorite picture from our launch shoot. Our photoshoot to launch our store was so perfect and we couldn’t help but plaster those pictures anywhere we could!
7. What are some of your best-selling products so far?
We have had so much support that we have had to restock multiple items in our first two weeks open. Two pieces that stick out to us are the “Londyn” top and the “Tabitha” top. We could hardly keep those two on the shelves for an hour!
8. Does MAREM have an overall style and aesthetic?
Since we are both college girls, we wanted our style to be fun, unique and really fitting to our target demographic, which is college girls like us! Even so, we still have stylish options for all ages and styles.
9. Can you share a hint about what shoppers will see at MAREM this fall?
It’s hard to plan for certain events when the future is so unknown, but we are still looking forward to a full gameday collection, as well as a full collection of semiformal dresses. We are also extremely excited to drop loungewear and earrings very soon.
10. How do you see your business growing as you two move through college?
We hope to keep the same rate of growth we have had in the past two weeks going for a long time. We have a ton of marketing ideas in the works to help with our growth as well.