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Library: A Modern Clothing Company

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OKLAHOMA CITY- It’s been said that clothes define a person. For Jessi Murray, they define a lifestyle.

Murray, 23, is not your average young adult.

Since graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma, she has remained in motion. While many 20-year-olds can be found partying or slaving away at homework, Murray is the exception to the rule.

She has a myriad of jobs.

Currently, she is the Director of Digital Marketing at Spark Creative. A business run and owned by her husband Kris Murray, Spark Creative is a social media consulting company that helps businesses promote themselves.

Besides her full-time job, she is also a lifestyle, engagement and fashion photographer. Normally, she does photo shoots for clients and their social media content; however, Murray is always willing to expand.

“I can have anywhere between three to seven photo shoots a week,” Murray said. “When it comes to wedding season, it means that I have to occupy my weekends with photography.”

Her ambition doesn’t stop there.

In October, Library: A Modern Clothing Company, will set roots in Oklahoma City. It’s a new style of clothes shopping that will revolutionize the clothing industry for women in the state.

What To Expect

Library: A Modern Clothing Company is set to change the way people shop for clothes. The design of the store is based on renting clothing and then returning them for a fee of anywhere between $10 to $25 a month.

The store appeals to the age demographic of college students or kids right out college. Murray expressed that they are the ones who are wanting to look stylish but may not have the money to do so.

She can remember a time right out of college when she was looking for a job yet had nothing to wear that would be considered “business appropriate”.

“The store is a little edgy but it’s open to everyone,” Murray said.

Murray classifies this style of shopping as Rent-A-Swag for modern female clothing. Initially, it is exclusively a women’s store but expansion to male fashion has not been ruled out. 

The clothes offered will be an eclectic mix of styles and range from cocktail dresses to business attire.

“I would say that my personal style is very modern, a little bit edgy, and pretty monochromatic,” she said. “That theme is pretty apparent whenever I’m buying clothes for the store but I’m recognizing that not everybody likes my style.”

“I want the store to be inclusive,” Murray said. “All of my own clothes will be in the Library. I pride myself on wearing unique things and I hope people can feel unique too.”

With help from her husband and some of her friends, Murray regularly goes to thrift stores in Oklahoma City and Edmond to look for clothes for the store. She said that she aims to buy clothes from local people to make the store feel more like home.

“My goal is to get clothes for people and think 'That’s really cute, I’d love to see my friend in that.' Our style is definitely vintage while still appealing to the modern scene.”

Renting clothes from the Library works on a point system. For every piece of clothing that you rent from the store, you accumulate points that get added to your account. Depending on the fabric, you only have to pay $10 to $25 a month. While you continue to shop, the points continue to add up. Murray said that people could shop and get enough points to rent clothes free for a month.

A lounge area will be found in the front of the store. The rest of the building will be for offices that will help run the business. What separates the clothing store from the pack is their on-set photography studio.

“Because we do a lot of photography and video production, there’ll be a studio for our models to come in and showcase our clothes,” she said. “This allows us to brand ourselves instead of having to work through another agency.”

Murray continued by saying that majority of the models used in the store’s advertisements are Oklahoma locals and personal friends.

Though the store hasn’t opened for locals, the Library’s online presence is growing daily. Murray’s store has gained a following through the Library’s Instagram and Facebook account that she runs.

Since its origin, the store has operated through its Instagram account. There you can find models showing off the inventory. Along with the Library’s Instagram account, Murray has also dedicated a website for people to browse before they shop.

Murray said the goal is to bridge the gap between those who shop online and those who shop in the store.

“Online shopping is taking over, I get it,” she said. “I love online shopping. All of our inventory will be online to view and they can have it delivered to their door. Or, for those who like to try things on, they’re always welcome to come in and browse.”

Online, the store is already beginning to flourish.

Murray has already begun to ship clothing out of the state and across the nation.

As the store continues to pick up in popularity, Murray made a suggestion for those interested in shopping the Library. 

“People can come to me and donate their clothes. We could buy it from them or they can get months free from the shop,” Murray said. “Either way, it cuts down on excessive spending and it also keeps clothes out of landfills.”

When it comes to donations, the Library accepts almost any style of clothes relatable to the theme of the store. The only exceptions include if the clothing is in poor quality, any problems with a zipper, or if anything is peeling.

Murray has found a sense of comradery in the founding of the story. She said it’s created a “cool community of women that are all kind of into the same thing.”

“It’s this awesome bonding experience. I’ve gotten to make so many new friends just because they bought my clothes online and now we’re friends.”

The main focus that Murray has had throughout the operation was how women felt about themselves. There’s always been a stigma in the clothing industry that your self-worth is attached to the price tag.

Jessi wants to break the barriers between fashion and affordability.

“I like fashion and I like people,” Murray said. “I want people to feel good about themselves and I don’t feel like people should have to pay a lot of money to feel good about themselves in a dress that fits them and they feel pretty in.”

She continued on by saying, “The more people that feel good and hot about themselves, it’s good in my book.”

When asked what drives her to be as ambitious as she has been, she replied, “I I think I’ve always just known that I would not be satisfied working a typical clock-in, clock-out kind of job.”

“When I’m committing to something, I’m all freaking in,” Murray said. “I know that I’m lucky to have all the support that I’ve had over the years,” she said. “That being said, I’ve worked hard for everything that I have.”

With a playful grin, she remembers where it all began. It all started in a dorm room at the University of Central Oklahoma.

It All Began Here

As a sophomore at UCO, Murray worked at Bob Moore Kia as a secretary. What many college students realize quickly is that money and college expenses are much like a match on a windy night.

Beautiful yet it never lasts long.

That’s when Jessi began to sell her own clothes on Instagram as a way to get extra money on the side.

“It was super easy and super fun. I could just recycle clothes and then buy more clothes which was awesome. It’s a vicious cycle,” she said with a laugh. “More importantly, I was able to maintain a budget.”

Shortly after meeting her now-husband, he gently nudged her to pursue her dreams. 

“He thought it was a neat idea and he always talked with me about being more than a side job. But it’s hard to make a profit on that right away,” Murray said. “Somehow, through spit-balling ideas, we came up with this idea for basically a library of clothing where you could check out clothes.”

Jessi credits part of her success to her husband.

“I’ve always wanted to go big or go home,” she said, “and my husband is just the same. Since he owns his own business, we’re constantly in moving and wanting to create things. It gives my life a very creative dynamic and I owe him so much for that.”

By the time the two got married, Jessi began working for Kris as a Social Media Account Manager. She was in charge of helping businesses that asked hired them with their online media presence.

Soon after working there, she would receive a promotion to her current title. 

Library: A Modern Clothing Company was an idea that had yet to be tapped into. Jessi was focused on her other two responsibilities but she never lost sight of her dream.

It was a dream that would begin to see the light of opportunity on a fateful weekend.

A contest was held in midtown for a free pop-up location. The competition required that a business submit their best idea, fill out a form, and win up to three months of free rent.

Kris found out about this contest with only five hours to spare. Quickly, the Spark Creative team went to work. Within five hours, a business plan was built along with a trendy logo.

The plan and logo were submitted on a Sunday. By Monday, they were told that not only did they not win, they didn’t even make it as a finalist.

“No lie, I was pretty bummed,” Murray said. “But hey, we created it in five hours.”

But there was something the logo that was created by their designer Caleb Croy. A clear triangle being overlapped by a black, identical triangle; it sparked interest and intrigue.

The same day it was announced that the team had lost, Kris and their friend Christopher had set their sights on a location on Hudson Avenue.

“I didn’t even look at it before they signed the lease,” she said.

She trusted the two in their purchase. Where her trust landed her was in the first location of Library: A Modern Clothing Company.

Even in the finest confidence, inklings of doubt are inevitable.

“Since I’ve announced that I’m doing this store, everyone knows about it. So it could go really well or just terribly,” Murray said. “At the end of the day, of course, I want it to do well. If it doesn’t, you change, you mold it, and you try something different. But never give up.”

As the store is set to open in October, Murray cannot help but be proud of all the accomplishments she has under her belt. Every so often, Jessi and Kris are exhausted from running businesses on a daily basis.

“Our days are a little long but I’m 23 and I have the autonomy to do whatever I need to do. I’m very lucky but I’ve worked very hard for what I have.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being proud of yourself if you’ve worked hard for it,” Jessi said.

While the world is looking up for Jessi and her new store, she looks back on those willing to try and make a business of their own.

“You cannot be afraid of hard work,” she said. “Starting your own business is as hard of work as you can get. It’s the best, most satisfying feeling though. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

If you’re interested in Library: A Modern Clothing Company, check out the website at http://library.clothing/ or their Instagram account @libraryokc. 

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Brandon King

Brandon King is a journalism student at OCCC, working towards becoming a professional writer....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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