By Tiffany Bentley
“When mom looks good, mom feels good” is the business philosophy of FlirtyFinds, an online fashion merchandising collaboration between Beth Hyer Roy ’88 and Jamie Dublirer Hoff ’88.
Launched in May 2008, FlirtyFinds is a web-based boutique featuring a hand-picked line of stylish accessories for cost-conscious women. The venture pairs the different, yet complementary styles of Roy and Hoff, who have been friends since their first year at Lafayette.
During their careers, Roy and Hoff have gained considerable experience in the world of fashion. Most recently, Hoff served as a senior executive and buyer for Ralph Lauren, and Roy managed corporate sales at Tiffany & Co.
Each, however, brings a different specialty to the partnership. Hoff developed expertise in merchandising, product assortment, inventory management, and business analysis. Roy’s talent is in marketing, sales, and web-based programs.
Their meeting at Lafayette is chronicled on the FlirtyFinds website. As Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters, they spent the next three years sharing their closets and their dreams. “We always used to say that we should start a fashion business together someday,” says Roy.
After graduation, Roy, an English graduate, was accepted into AT&T’s marketing and sales training program. Hoff, an economics and business graduate, entered Macy’s executive program. As they began their careers, they shared an apartment in Hoboken, N.J.
Eventually Roy moved to Massachusetts, and Hoff returned to her hometown area in New Jersey. But, they stayed in touch.
Then, four years ago, they put their long-held dream in motion. “Once our kids went to school and we had more time on our hands, we started our business,” says Roy. “We have a great working relationship and friendship.”
With a focus on small business goals and models, they never order more products than they think they can sell or items of which people will soon tire. They align their collection with current trends and styles and feature practical options that everyday women will love wearing.
Hoff says women can “style up” their jeans or basic black sweater. While both partners come from elite product backgrounds, they chose to center their business on affordable options—with a price point that is never more than $100 per item.
“We provide an alternative to traveling to mass retailers only to be offered the same accessories that everyone else owns,” Roy says. “Women want to be fashion forward without paying designer prices.” They have customers from every state.
The partners’ own busy lives—including teleconference meetings, style shows, and the daily life of raising children—give them insight into the stay-at-home-mom market. “Women still want to look and feel good even though they’re not dressing professionally every day,” Hoff says.
The Lafayette alumnae even say their 200 miles of separation is a business asset, because they observe the variation in tastes and lifestyles between the geographic areas.
The company recently expanded to offering home parties, during which women can shop the collection with their friends in a fun, no-pressure party atmosphere. “The response we’ve received has been tremendous,” says Roy. “Women get to leave that night with their purchases. They love the immediate satisfaction. Plus, because we offer such a varied collection of accessories, there is something for everyone.”