Rachael Eider may have picked the perfect place to start a high-quality, luxury clothing showroom and styling service. She is a New York-trained stylist with the skill to make it anywhere. She is also a native of the Red River Valley who understands the region’s ever-changing sensibility and willingness for bold clothing statements made on the person, or on the pocketbook. From her shop in downtown Grand Forks, she is at the heart of a community that needs a showroom like RH Standard, and maybe more importantly, a person like Eider.
Her store offers everything you’d expect from a high-quality men’s and women’s attire set-up. Mannequins in tall-glass windows at the front of the store display pearls, formal dresses or perfectly creased collared shirts. Depending on the day, it could be tailored suits or little black dresses. Throughout the space, green velvet couches offer clients a comfortable, yet elegant sitting space to ponder Eider’s advice on clothing options. Painted portraits of well-dressed individuals hang on the walls and draw your eye to the skill of the work. A pool table is set and ready for a game of eight ball near the dressing rooms, the wooden cues on the wall-stand shine, and somehow seem to call out to anyone that looks at them that a quick game of pool should be played, Eider’s thoughts on clothing should be taken seriously and an investment in a piece from the store is worth it. Time with Eider in her showroom is more of an experience than a quick stop. Eider wants it that way.
The showroom offers a glimpse into the best of the best in quality clothing for life’s important events (or for just looking good). And, with Eider at the helm, style goers of all skill or commitment levels have a resource that has two elements: the knowledge and style philosophy suitable for any market and any clientele; and the no-nonsense personality that is both unexpected and inspiring. She is not pretentious, she’s honest. She’s not pushy, she’s helpful. Talking to her is like talking to someone you’ve known for a long time. By the end of a talk with her, you’ve forgotten what your early misgivings or hang-ups were about a dress or a suit and you are already thinking about the future. As you walk away from Eider and the back of the store—past the pool table, the green velvet couches, the portraits on the wall and the mannequins in the windows—you clutch your bag and smile, thinking about how good you’ll look and feel wearing the contents inside the bag.
“It’s a proud moment for me when I see people walking around wearing my clothes,” Eider says. “Feeling good about what you look like resonates in everything you do.”
Eider has run her showroom for two years, operating in other places in Grand Forks before settling on the downtown space. Her client base has grown and become so solid she doesn’t have to worry about expanding. She is proud of that. Her success stems from her ability to work with clients—sometimes for hours—to help them find their best look. It is also linked to her bold, risk-taking attitude on business. As part of a major business mentorship group tasked with helping new business owners, Eider is the only one without a direct link to a business degree or background. Her learnings and insight was gained by doing. She’s proud of that too.
“The future of retail doesn’t have anything to do with the clothes,” she says, “it is all about the service.”
Eider has a network of dress alteration experts and tailors that ensure items from her store fit as well as possible. She is also confident in her ability to ensure people leave happy. “Having a panic attack about what you have to wear should never happen,” she says, adding that she can always tell when people are uncomfortable in their own clothes. Watch them fidget or pull on a collar or shirt-end, she says, noting that there are always better options that alleviate those instances.
The store has an old-school feel. There is a sign that displays the word “antique” on the back wall, an ode to a previous store in Grand Forks. Eider is drawn to the classic style overtures—the black dress or tailored suit or tan sport coat—that have stood the test of time in an industry headlined by changing trends. She knows some of the price tags throughout her showroom are above big-box outlets, but she also knows the difference in quality. “Buying pieces from me is an investment,” she says, “but there is no buyer’s remorse here.”
Eider Mostly Ignores Fashion Trends
The idea that every trend or fashion movement gets to the region last is simply not true, she says. The internet, fashion blogs and Instagram or Pinterest reveal what’s on the leading trend edge. Amazon.com and other outlets can take care of the rest, she says with a laugh. What makes the region’s style needs and wants different than the coasts is linked to the way wholesalers time their clothing releases and also, the seasons. Most people don’t understand how crucial seasonal themes are to style offerings, she explains.
For shops like Eider’s, the issue isn’t if she can get items, it is more about when she will get them and if people will actually want them. As Eider explains the facts of the Red River Valley, there isn’t a long spring season or a light winter timeframe. Because of that, she often pushes back on vendors to give her more options that are appropriate for her clientele and not connected to what a vendor believes should be out based on a hypothetical season.
The Influence of Family
As a kid, Eider remembers her father always having a sport coat in his car. It’s an item every guy should have, he told her later in life, because it can be used in nearly any occasion. It’s not a trendy piece, but it never goes out of style. That is what Eider believes in today, the pieces that people can use and love forever. Eider knows she’s been fortunate to travel and study fashion in New York City for the Kenneth Cole brand because of her family. In the early days of her solo-style career, investments by her Grandma and her future husband helped launch her dreams. According to her, her husband invested because he believed in her ability to talk, shop and live style and clothing. (Their spare bedroom has been turned into extra closet space for Eider). Her Grandma, the matriarch responsible for running a centennial farm (that’s a century of owning and operating a farm) invested in her grand daughter simply because it was her grand daughter and she’d seen her own traits in Rachael. Eider smiles and sheds a quick tear talking about her grandma. A strong woman, she calls her, noting that when it was time for capital or financing necessary at the farm, her grandma would interview the bankers, not the other way around. Eider’s mom wears her clothes any chance she can. Her Grandmother too, often sitting in the back of the store, spending time with someone she respects for going for what she wants with a healthy fear of risk and a confidence that only comes from skill and passion. “In many ways,” Eider says, “this shop is about my family.” G
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PHOTOS BY: MANSTROM PHOTOGRAPHY
From Issue 3, 2019