Ariana Carps has what some might call a dream job; she is surrounded with the latest in fashion. As the co-owner of Rear Ends, a two-store denim and casual-wear boutique chain, Carps is always researching, reviewing and revising her fashion forecast to be on top of her customers’ needs.
But when it comes to her own wardrobe, Carps is into simplicity: She lives in plaid shirts, torn blue jeans and Converse sneakers. This uniform of sorts allows Carps to maintain both her busy workload – she is the buyer and manager of the stores as well – and stay comfortable on the job.
What’s the other item Carps always has in her possession? The answer may surprise you – it’s a five-subject notebook. Her backpack has other essentials, including a laptop and a tablet, of course. But that notebook goes with Carps everywhere. It is how she keeps track of her orders, the trade shows she visits and everything else in her life.
Rear Ends is a premium denim retailer and casual women’s clothier. The original location in West Bloomfield was started by Carps’ parents, Elaine and Mark Blumenfeld, more than 37 years ago. This past fall, the family opened Rear Ends second location in Bloomfield Hills.
As the co-owner/head of purchasing/manager, Carps is a second-generation entrepreneur, and a retail expert in women’s fashion. The clothing store carries more than a dozen brands of premium denim, as well as a variety of lines of t-shirts, sweaters, jackets, pants, dresses and accessories.
“It’s the only job I’ve ever had,” Carps said. “My mother took me with her on buying trips; she wanted my opinion. As a result, I’ve seen how the buying process worked since I was a teenager. When I turned 14, I started at the store. … To this day, we do the buying together – we work by instinct and we have a rapport based on trust.”
Buying for two stores and staying on top of trends is exciting and challenging, Carps said. The two locations have similar selections because Carps wants her core customers to have the jeans they need and want at their fingertips. But she also works diligently to ensure trendy pieces, such as jumpers and flair-leg jeans, are represented at both shops.
“Fashion is always changing and evolving; you have to stay fluid,” Carps said. “You have to be open to change. Even after I’ve placed an order, I go back and review it based on what’s selling and what my customers want and are buying.”
That is where having her trusted notebook comes in hand. Carps said it never leaves her side because it carries all of the research she does, all of the ordering basics and sales data. “My mom calls me the Human Computer” because of it, Carps said.
“I like having these notebooks. I’ve got 15 now, and they’re always there for me to check if I have a question. I write everything down,” Carps said.