It was love at first sight for Jeanne Johansson, owner of Scarlet Clothing. Ten years ago, she said “I do” to the boutique and hasn’t looked back.
Since then, Scarlet has earned its spot at the top of the fashion game in central Arkansas, as well as online success coast to coast. So what’s the secret?
“I compare it to marriage,” Johansson says. “We keep doing new things, keep it fresh. We’re always texting each other ideas. One day we just started drawing all over our conference room walls. Whatever, anything new and fun. We don’t ever want to be bored, not for one day.”
But that desire for an engaged, dynamic lifestyle is an intentional one that stemmed from past obstacles.
At 19, Johansson spent three months in bed, paralyzed from a mononucleosis complication. She missed the fall semester of her sophomore year at the University of Arkansas, spending it in rehab, relearning how to walk, how to write her own name.
“I made one promise to myself and that I’d never lay around again. I was going to run through fields with music playing, go hiking. I was always going to have fun every day and not take anything for granted,” she recalls.
“I think I’m a different person since then. I don’t ever like to have a bad day. Sometimes I’ll be a little grumpy, but I try to be happy, positive every day.”
And she didn’t waste any time implementing those standards. Soon after she got back to school, the fashion merchandising and apparel studies major took a job at a local clothing store and fell head-over-heels. She spent all her free time there, learning the ins and outs of the industry.
While in school, a class required her to create a business plan for a mock store, following all the steps necessary for a real one, including a small business loan. A few years after graduation, when the magazine she worked for folded, Johansson saw an opportunity.
“The only reason I wasn’t going to open my store was because I thought I was too young. But then I thought that was a dumb reason. I was ready, so I did,” says Johansson.
Fast-forward 10 years, add a husband and a 4-year-old daughter, and Scarlet is still growing. After moving twice to larger locations, they’ve settled in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center on Cantrell, complete with the internal Salon Scarlet and photo studio.
Despite success, Johansson has been smart about her employees, utilizing them to their full potential. The photographer is also the person in charge of marketing and web. The person who does the books is also the person who does customer service.
“Everything’s in-house, but it works,” she says. “Everybody who works here loves it and treats it like their own. They spend a lot of their free time getting better at their jobs. They’re all so passionate about it. They’ll call me with ideas; at meetings, I barely talk. It’s awesome.”
Scarlet’s website has been key to the store’s performance. By styling every piece and filling each page with full outfits, they hope the site will be a resource for people as they get ready. That and their social media presence have drawn a lot of attention. Employees get approached outside the shop about items people have seen online.
An oddly proud moment came in realizing that the vast majority of Scarlet’s online sales were from California and New York.
“We hear all the time that people can’t believe we’re from Arkansas,” says Johansson. “There are some really trendy people here, and our reps were so surprised. No, we’re not missing our front teeth.”
Some of that comes from Johansson’s refusal to purchase what sales reps think “looks like Arkansas.”
“I don’t know if that stereotype’s ever going to go away, but it’s fine because we’re surprising people, and I like that.”
That stereotype is something that draws the boutique owners of Little Rock together, despite any friendly competition. Johansson loves any and all attention fashion gets from the community, even if that means sending customers and sales reps to other stores.
“It’s a small little fashion world. People think it’s really glamorous, but everyone works so hard and is so passionate about it. Just the work ethic is crazy. Everyone is cheering each other on and helping each other out.”
But even now, her favorite element is still putting an outfit together. Whether it’s the ability to be creative in her own effortless and laidback style every morning, or spending three hours online one night trying to find the perfect red dress for a customer, Johansson confesses that it’s not about the logistics, it’s about the feeling.
“We have one customer who wiped out her entire closet. She had never really spent much time or money on her wardrobe, so we started from scratch and built it little by little,” she says. “She looks like a different person. Her confidence has changed. It’s gorgeous. These clothes didn’t make that happen, it’s her. She just glows.”
It’s that kind of payback that keeps Scarlet going strong. Even with a new website in the works and girls now looking to her as the standard, Johansson proves that hard work and perspective can make a 10-year relationship seem like only yesterday. Scarlet’s in it for the long haul, for better or for worse, and we’re only predicting better.
A sneak peek at what’s on Scarlet’s fashion agenda
Excited for: Look for Scarlet’s new website in the upcoming months, as well as a Scarlet phone line that you can text for direct feedback on your outfit.
Wish list: Scarlet sells merchandise for organizations like the Taylor McKeen Shelton Foundation and Fighting Fancy, but would love to get involved with more charities and nonprofits.
When Dana Kleine met her future husband Joe Kleine at the University of Arkansas, the Nuremberg, Germany-born, Dallas-raised marketing major didn’t know much about basketball.
“I had only been to one game my freshman year and didn’t know any of the rules. I remember sitting in the stands watching practice with my best friend Karla Hilburn, sipping our Mr. Burger cokes and giggling about the uniforms and just how cute Joe looked in his,” she smiles.
Fast-forward a few years under the tutelage of Coach Eddie Sutton and Joe Kleine was NBA-ready. He was drafted as the No. 6 pick in 1986 to the Sacramento Kings. Dana and Joe wed after his rookie season and the couple’s eldest son, Daniel, was born the day Joe was traded to the Boston Celtics in 1989.
Moves to Phoenix, Chicago and Portland followed during the course of Joe’s 15-year NBA career. The family later moved back to Arkansas, where they co-own, along with friends Karla and Tommy Hilburn, the area Corky’s Ribs & BBQ restaurants.
In 2007, Joe accepted a position at UALR as an assistant men’s basketball coach and has truly found his niche. Dana has always been an active supporter of UALR Athletics, but this year she’s taking things to the next level as co-chair – along with Larry Golden – of UALR Athletics’ most important annual fundraiser, SpectacUALR.
As for her knowledge of basketball, she’s learned a lot since the ’80s. “I am proud to say that I know most all the rules of basketball and could probably be a pretty good play-by-play announcer,” the volunteer and Rodan+Fields consultant jokes.
Soirée: Tell us more about SpectacUALR and its importance.
Dana Kleine: This is the sixth annual SpectacUALR, which is one of the most enjoyable fundraising events in Little Rock. We set up on the court of the Jack Stephens center with numerous silent and live auction items. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails are served; attire is business casual. There is an opportunity to mix and mingle with all UALR athletic coaches and student-athletes. To me, the highlight of our live auction is a five-night golf stay at the JW Marriott on Oahu, Hawaii, for four people. Patty and Dan Snider secured this for us. All proceeds will directly impact current student-athletes in the form of scholarships, operating budgets and facility upgrades.
S: Who is this year’s honoree?
DK: This year’s honoree is Betty Jo Stephens, who is a pioneer in women’s athletics at UALR. Betty Jo is essentially the reason UALR has women’s athletics, and she was the first-ever UALR women’s basketball coach. A 1993 inductee into the UALR Athletics Hall of Fame, Stephens has been connected to the UALR athletic program since the late 1960s.
S: What’s it like being married to a former NBA pro? Do people ever ask for Coach Kleine’s autograph?
DK: Yes, folks do still approach Joe for autographs, and I have to say that he has never lost his humility. Almost always, folks are extremely polite and non-obtrusive. I have many stories to tell and am kicking myself that I did not keep a journal throughout Joe’s professional playing days. I love that Joe is now a coach because it is what God has blessed him with – a talent for teaching and coaching the game of basketball.
When: 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 9
Where: Jack Stephens Center, UALR campus
Info: 569-3393, UALRTrojans.com/SpectacUALR
The seed of cynicism was planted in me on a chilly October weekday in downtown Little Rock waiting for Michael Jackson to roll by.
I lived for the Jackson 5. The 45 single of “Dancing Machine” was on constant rotation on my family’s stereo … well, when “Jesus Christ: Superstar” and “Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits” weren’t on it. The Jacksons came on after the Osmonds on CBS, and I’d take my bath during that half hour because, let’s face it, the Osmonds were just too much for me then just as they are now. But when the Jacksons came on, a hush fell over the room while I gyrated on the braided living room rug. Go ahead, Michael. I’ll keep up.
But to see him in person? My preschool mind never comprehended that. Even when my mother told me we’d get on a bus to see my dad at his work in downtown Little Rock, I didn’t really believe it. Even when she said we’d watch the Arkansas Livestock Show Parade, where Michael and his brothers would be before they performed at the state fair, I didn’t fully understand. You see, Michael Jackson wasn’t really real. He was just in the TV.
So when we mounted the bus steps, which stopped right in front of our house, and the driver looked me squarely in the eyes, addressed me as darling and offered me a stick of Juicy Fruit, I knew my stars were aligning. When mama said I could take it, my chest puffed up a little. He knows I’m going downtown to do important things.
He dropped us off at Louisiana Street right where the old main library was. Daddy worked in the pink building across the street, and we got to go up in the elevator to see him. We left soon afterward to get a good spot to watch the parade, but people were already lining up and jostling each other. That’s when a lady offered for me to sit on the roof of her Country Squire station wagon with her kids so we could see. This was the most mind-blowing thing of all to me: that a stranger willingly offered for me to sit on top of her car, and that my mother said yes. It was then I knew I owned this town.
All I had to do next was wait for Michael Jackson. There was no doubt whatsoever in my mind that he’d know who I was. We were friends. I knew all the words to one of his songs. I knew all his dance moves. We were mano y mano.
But it took forever before I could faintly hear the music. The stranger’s kids and I jumped up. “Here he comes! Here he comes!” we cried, pointing and waving. The bus was every possible color of the rainbow, and as it came right in front of us, the music swelled, and we screamed. Michael was looking out at me right now! Hey, Michael! Look! It’s me!
The bus made a slow turn to the left, the music began to fade, and all we saw were blacked-out windows. “A record player?” we said, perplexed. “That wasn’t Michael Jackson. That was a record player.” Dejected, we slid off the wagon’s roof, took our mothers’ hands, and with heads hung a little low, went home to our own record players.
And so the perfect day lost a little bit of its shine, and I had my first lesson in real life. I eventually moved on, replacing “Dancing Machine” with Andy Gibbs’ “Shadow Dancing,” but my devotion wasn’t of the same degree.
It's pretty uncommon for trends in the everyday fashion realm to make their way over to the world of weddings. One scenario in which we’ve seen some gorgeous crossover that we just can’t get enough of: statement necklaces.
Now that we’ve seen it, it just makes perfect sense. A sweetheart neckline with some out-of-this-world jewels? The opportunity for color and drama alone is enough to make our heads start swimming with inspiration ideas!
So what do you think? Are you a statement-making bride? Let us know!
This weekend, Girl Scouts - Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas is hosting its first-ever Round Up on the River, a rally and camping event held Oct. 10-12 on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center!
Scouts will gather for a Girl Rally and Kick-Off on Saturday, Oct. 11, followed by a huge picnic on the back lawn of the Clinton Presidential Center. Program activities will center around the "It's Your World - Change it!" Journeys, and encourage girls to take action and change the world with their sister Girl Scouts. Plus, all participants will earn a grade-appropriate Citizen Badge.
Brownies are invited for a day event from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Oct. 11. They'll learn how to take action in their community and take part in hands-on activities from Heifer International. Cost is $20 each for Brownies and their Leaders.
Junior Girl Scouts can attend an overnight event from 9 a.m. Oct. 11-noon Oct. 12. Girls will plan step-by-step how to tackle issues and spend one night camping on the Clinton Presidential Center lawn. Cost is $40 each for Juniors and their Leaders.
Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors will spend two nights camping out on the lawn! On Oct. 10, they'll dine in the Great Hall of the Clinton Center and attend a Clinton School Panel, learning how the students were inspired to become change agents. Then, girls will work together on solutions and commit to a Take Action Project. Cost is $60 for each girl and their Leaders.
Registration for the event ends Friday, Oct. 3; Click here to register.
Get festive with your family at one (or more!) of these fall festivals. The events range from traditional harvest fun to a bullying arts and film fest to a kids music extravaganza!
Rest up, because you'll probably want to go festival hopping this weekend, Oct. 3-5, as there are 12 amazing festivals for families. Bounce from the Big Rock Mountain Bike Festival to the Asian Festival to the Main Street Food Truck Festival to Harvestfest.
Keep reading for details on all 23 festivals this month!
Through Oct. 25
Conway ArtsFest in Various Locations in Conway: A citywide celebration of the arts includes film, literature, gallery installation and family fun. Family events include Art in the Park at Simon Park -- a day of youth performances, hands-on activities and an art marketplace -- and "The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley" stage show at UCA. Visit the website for a complete list of events. For info: ArtsInConway.org.
46th Annual Hot Springs Arts & Crafts Fair at Garland County Fairgrounds in Hot Springs: At this fair, you’ll find 400 exhibitors, food vendors, pony rides, and a children's area with a petting zoo, bounce houses, and station for kids to pan for gold. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri. & Sat.; noon-5 p.m. Sun. For info: (501) 623-9592, HotSpringsArtsAndCraftsFair.com. FREE!
Hot Water Hills Music & Arts Festival in Downtown Hot Springs: This festival is a quirky mix of music, art, food, drink, contests and kids’ activities. Ongoing each day, you'll find a cardboard city, straw bale fort, crystal digging, buble station and The STAR Galler playhous. Plus, visitors can participate in hands-on activities to make upcycled pumpkins, sock puppets, marble painting, music making and more. Bring a lawn chair and join the fun! $7. For info and the full schedule: HotWaterHills.com.
Amazeum’s TinkerFest at Old High Middle School in Bentonville: Engage your child’s imagination through activities, such as launching a rocket, making jewelry from unexpected materials, creating fabric from recycled plastic, playing a fruit piano, constructing machines that draw, painting with light and more. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For info: (479) 696-9280, Amazeum.org. FREE!
Big Rock Mountain Bike Festival at Boyle Park: Presented by the Central Arkansas Trail Alliance and ArkansasOutside.com, this active event includes a kids’ obstacle course, easy trail rides led by experienced mountain bike leaders, a women’s mountain biking clinic, a “bunny-hop” clinic and other games and contests. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. For info: (501) 707-5989, ArkansasOutside.com. FREE!
Chili Fights in the Heights: This family-friendly festival with chili, music and more is held on the streets of the Heights Neighborhood. Cooking starts at 1:30 p.m. with awards presentation at 6:30 p.m. Chili tasting kits are available for purchase for $4. All proceeds benefit the Arkansas Foodbank. 1:30 p.m. Free admission; chili tasting kits $4. For info: (501) 565-8121, ChiliFights.com.
Fall Festival & Silent Auction at Little Rock Montessori School: Families can play games and hop in a jump house. Don’t miss the cake walk, concessions, and a silent auction (bidding ends at 1 p.m.). Children may wear costumes, but no scary or violent costumes, please. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $10 per family. For info: (501) 225-2428, LRMontessori.com.
Fall Harvest Home Festival at Plantation Agriculture Museum in Scott: Local farmers and vendors from around Arkansas will be on hand to sell their goods and produce. Fall festivities will include a pie contest, a pumpkin decorating contest, apple bobbing, three-legged racing and other old-time games and activities. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For info: (501) 961-1409, ArkansasStateParks.com/PlantationAgricultureMuseum.
The High Cotton on the Bayou Festival at Scott Plantation Settlement: This event includes plantation building tours, blacksmith demonstrations, live music, butter churning, Dutch oven demonstrations, early period games and crafts. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. $3, kids ages 6-17 $1, kids under 6 free. For info: (501) 351-0300, ScottConnections.org.
HarvestFest in Hillcrest: Head to Kavanaugh Blvd. in Hillcrest for this day-long event that includes live music, a fashion show, activities for kids, street festival and cheese dip contest. Visitors can also attend a bird walk in Allsop Park at 7:30 a.m., and enjoy a pancake breakfast at Pulaski Heights Presbyterian Church from 9-11 a.m. A portion of the HarvestFest proceeds will benefit local organizations. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. For info: HarvestFest.us. FREE!
Little Rock Asian Festival at Mosaic Church: Sponsored by Asian Pacific Resource & Cultural Center, this festival celebrates the Asian Pacific heritage with fun, food, entertainment, games, and more. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $3; kids under 12, military, fireman & seniors free. For info: (501) 374-2001, click here.
Main Street Food Truck Festival in Downtown Little Rock: Snack on delicious fare from more than 30 food trucks and mobile eateries. Plus, shop craft vendors, enjoy local musicians and street performers, and sip a brew at the beer gardens. The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure will cross Main Street 7-10 a.m., and many of the trucks will open with early bird specials. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For info: (501) 375-0121, MainStreetFoodTrucks.com. Entry FREE!
Oktoberfest & StoryFest at Fairfield Bay Conference Center: Fairfield Bay offers two festivals in one weekend! OktoberFest includes German food, a motorcycle rally, car show, arts and crafts, live music and dancing. OktoberFest hours: Noon-10 p.m. Fri. & Sat.; motorcycle rally 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. Free admission for OktoberFest. StoryFest celebrates the rich and diverse art of professional storytelling. Join the festivities at 9:30 a.m. and dive into all-day storytelling sessions, featuring the talents of Bill Lepp and Tim Tingle. $10-$15 for StoryFest. For info: (501) 884-4202, FairfieldBayConferenceCenter.com.
Fall Festival at Crater of Diamonds State Park: The state park grounds will transform into an old-fashioned carnival with games, food, craft vendors, live music, bounce attractions and a spooky hayride. 3-9 p.m. $4, includes 10 game tickets. For info: CraterOfDiamondsStatePark.com.
Oct. 11, 18 & 25
Hay Days Celebration at Wildwood Park for the Arts: Celebrate fall with hay rides, storytelling, pumpkins and other fall fun activities. Noon-4 p.m. Oct. 11, 18 & 25. $5, includes hayride and pumpkin patch. For info: 821-7275, WildwoodPark.org.
Fountain Fest at Arkansas Arts Center: Join the AAC Contemporaries for the second annual Fountain Fest, an outdoor party around the Carrie Remmel Dickinson fountain. This year's event features community-contributed photos using the hashtag #inspirationoverflow, as well as music, BBQ and libations. Funds raised will go toward purchasing artwork and to fund Contemporaries projects that support the AAC. 5:30 p.m. $25-$30. For info: (501) 372-4000, ArkansasArtsCenter.org. PARENTS NIGHT OUT!
Pooches & Pumpkins at The Good Earth Garden Center: Snap family photos in themed areas, bring your pup for a pet costume contest, snack on free hot dogs, ride along for a hayride, and enjoy balloons, face painting, and live music. Kids and pets in costume receive little pumpkins while they last. 11 a.m.-3 a.m. For info: (501) 868-4666, TheGoodEarthGarden.com. FREE!
Oct. 18 & 19
Farm Fest at St. Joseph Farm in North Little Rock: A celebration on the picturesque 63-acre farm includes a pumpkin patch, sorghum-Sudangrass maze, livestock barn, craftsman fair, local food, and live local music. Visit the website for more information on times and specific events. $10, kids 4 and older are $5, kids 3 and under are free. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 18 & noon-5 p.m. Oct. 19. For info: (501) 681-9073, StJosephFarm.com.
Kidstock at Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library & Learning Center: Bring your blankets and chairs to this family-friendly music festival. Musical groups include Sugar Free Allstars and Ellis Family Band. The fun continues with tree painting, yoga, sack races, bubbles and more. 4-6 p.m. For info: (501) 978-3870, CALS.org. FREE!
Barktober Fest at MacArthur Park: Paid admission includes food/beer/wine and leashed-dogs welcome. For info: MacArthurParkLR.com.
Stand Up to Bullying Arts and Film Festival at CALS Ron Robinson Theater: In observance of National Bullying Awareness Month, Songbird Multimedia and Central Arkansas Library System present a unique performing arts festival to feature music, plays, art show, free film screening and essay contest about bullying. The award-winning documentary, "Bully," directed by Lee Hirsch, begins at 1 p.m. Events at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for teens include essay readings and performances. Pay what you can for admission to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. events. for info, click here.
Fall Carnival at St. James UMC: Enjoy inflatables, candy, games and prizes. 5-7 p.m. For info: StJamesLR.org. FREE!
Trunk or Treat and Fall Fest at Chenal Valley Church: Come for trunk-or-treating for candy and treats, lots of fun carnival-style games with prizes, face painting, photo booth, and more. Fun for all ages but geared for toddlers through 6th graders. 6-6:30 p.m. Trunk or Treat; 6:30-8 p.m. Fall Fest. Free admission and games. For info: (501) 868-9808, ChenalValleyChurch.org. FREE!
For more October events, browse our full online calendar here.
Originally scheduled to open today, Potbelly had a minor construction delay and announced in an email it will officially open tomorrow. No worries, that gives the ovens a little more time to preheat.
Opening in midtown at Park Avenue, 314 South University, St. 160, the sandwich chain offers a variety of sandwiches that are all served hot. Aside from delicious sandwiches, the menu will also feature soup, shakes, malts and smoothies.
With locations in more than 20 states, this will be the first Potbelly in Arkansas.
Click here to take a look at the full menu.
Stay up-to-date on the latest happenings on Potbelly's Facebook page here.
We have a brand new 5K tradition on our hands, folks. The Kelly-Rahn-Turnage Fellowship for Physician Assistant Students at UAMS will host the inaugural Heroes Against Hunger 5K on Oct. 11 in the midst of National Physician Assistants Week.
The race’s objective is twofold: to bring awareness to the role of PA’s in the state and to benefit the Arkansas Rice Depot Food for Kids program, aiming to feed a whole elementary school for a year. The FFK partners with participating schools to provide food-filled backpacks to children in need.
The KRT Fellowship, which is named after three of its founders (Patricia Kelly, Ph.D., PA-C, UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. and Richard Turnage, M.D.) is an organization designed to spread the word about PA’s, who are a vital and often overlooked part of the health care process.
Registration for Heroes Against Hunger is $25 and you can do that by clicking here. The race starts at 8 a.m. on Jack Stephens Dr. on campus and participants are welcome to walk the race as well. For more information on KRT, visit their website.