Inspiring Alumni Create Boutique Catering to FSU Fans

Courtesy: Bows and Arrows

Her Campus (HC): Hi Chelsea and Matt! You are both alumni of FSU. Was there a point in your time here that you consider the most memorable?   

Bows and Arrows (BA): Some of my (Matt Sluizer's) most memorable moments came from hanging out on campus, attending thought provoking lectures, going to the Leach and participating in the wrestling club team. Chelsea had a blast participating on campus by getting involved with the Collegiate Merchandising Association as Treasurer and leading Clutch Magazine as Graphics Director. Game days were the best - the team wasn’t all that good back then, but we cheered them on with a lot of enthusiasm!

HC: You both met at FSU. How did that happen? 

BA: We actually met during high school. We worked together at a Sonic in Pasco County. We started dating our senior year, and both went to FSU.

HC: How fun! You both established Bows and Arrows in 2013. How did that come about? What inspired it?

BA: We both are very passionate about our alma mater and Chelsea has always loved fashion. Chelsea was looking for an outfit to wear for game day, and she was having a tough time finding FSU apparel that wasn’t somewhat generic. That sparked the inspiration to create a store that has unique and quality options for FSU fans. It just so happened that the logo changed that year, and we also wanted a store where the retro logos were always available.

HC: How did you pick the name “Bows and Arrows?” 

BA: We wanted something that tied to FSU, but wasn’t obvious - something that was simple and memorable. We were brainstorming and Chelsea came up with Bows and Arrows. As soon as she said it, we knew that was the name we would go with.

HC: What has been the most challenging part about owning Bows and Arrows? 

BA: We have been very selective in choosing vendors that can provide high quality merchandise while being consistent and up to our standards.  This as well as finding vendors that carry the retro FSU logos has been a challenge.

HC: What has been the most rewarding experience in owning Bows and Arrows?

BA: It has been really rewarding hearing back from our customers, like hearing from someone that received their outfit in time for the big tailgate due to fast order processing and shipping or hearing about how happy they are with their purchase and the compliments that they received. We had a friend go to the Oklahoma State game in Texas last year and while tailgating before the game, he met a group of fans wearing some fashionable game day dresses and began to tell them about our store.  They replied, “Where do you think we got these?” It was very cool to hear that story considering it was only a few months after our launch.

HC: What inspires the products that you guys pick for the web site? 

BA: We are always competitively shopping and studying the trends of what is in fashion to help inspire the products we carry. Sometimes inspiration comes from going to games or events and social media. Our goal is to carry unique products that you can’t get at a normal sports retailer.   

Courtesy: Bows and Arrows Instagram

HC: What is the most popular product on your website?

BA: We carry a large selection of Bourbon & Boweties bangles and the Seminole themed bangles are by far some of the most popular items. We try to stay ahead of the curve by getting the newest designs as soon as they come out. This year we started carrying the Gameday Couture line, which has had a great response. The FSU lace jerseys and gingham tunics have also been in high demand.

HC: What has been the best part about working together? 

BA: We make a great team. I (Matt) am the numbers and marketing guy and Chelsea has a great eye for fashion and design. We complement each other well and bring different perspectives to the business.

HC: What is the biggest way the company has grown since opening in 2013?

BA: Since we originally opened, we have been engaged in an ongoing process of expanding our selection of merchandise and continuously looking for higher quality products. The quality and quantity of our offering has been the biggest area of growth since our company’s inception.

HC: Do you guys plan to expand the boutique to include any rivalry products for Gators or Miami fans or is it just going to stay exclusively FSU? 

BA: We like the idea of keeping Bows and Arrows as a boutique that is dedicated only to students, alumni and fans of FSU. We do have plans to branch out in the future to include additional schools, but those products will be sold under a separate brand and website.

HC: Have you been back to FSU to visit? What do you think has been the biggest improvement or is the most exciting thing about visiting as alumni? 

BA: We have been back several times to go to games and it’s been exciting to see how much Tallahassee continues to grow. There is a ton of progress at the university and in the city. We have enjoyed visiting College Town during games, as well as dining in some of the new restaurants in town. 

Courtesy: Bows and Arrows Instagram

HC: Has game day style changed a lot since you two went to FSU? 

BA: We think the biggest thing that has changed and grown is the fans’ desire to wear something unique and different to game day, besides just a generic graphic t-shirt. Fashion trends change year after year, but we’ve seen more and more college students and alumni wanting to still look fashionable and on trend even for their favorite sporting event.

HC: What are some words of advice for aspiring FSU students looking to open up their own business or boutique?  

BA: Whether opening a business or trying to accomplish any worthwhile goal, our advice would be the following: Create a clear vision of exactly what you want to accomplish and why, and create a plan on what steps are needed to reach the goal. Learn as much as you can about the area you are going into and continue to improve your knowledge in that area. Get a mentor; find people that are doing what you want to do and build a relationship with them. Take immediate and massive action, even if the circumstances don’t seem just right, do what you can now and then next steps will open up. Also, stay awhile, as overnight successes are rare, and success is built on consistent disciplined effort even when excitement waxes and wanes. Sometimes goals take longer to achieve than anticipated so refer back to your original vision often to help pull you through the tough times. 

HC: Last question: is there one product on your website that you think will make the perfect gift for a Seminole this holiday season? 

BA: Our Bourbon & Boweties bangles would make the perfect gift this holiday season. They make a statement, but are still versatile. We have the new Micanopy Chief bangles, which pair perfectly with the Arrowhead bangles and other colored gemstone bangles.

For more information on Bows and Arrows make sure to check out their website and Instagram!