There are three career to-dos on the bucket list of celebrity NASCAR wife and fashion/lifestyle blogger Samantha Busch, and she crosses a big one off Thursday as she launches Murph Boutique, an online clothing e-tailer with trendy styles, affordable prices and a range of regular and plus size pieces.
(The other two items on her list? Making a workout video and creating a shoe collection, she says.)
Busch, wife of NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and a celebrity in her own right with 206,000 followers on Twitter, 84,000 on Instagram and a healthy blog following, says she’s been kicking around the idea of a boutique for years but never before felt the time was right.
Followers of her blog, samanthabusch.com, know about the couple’s struggles with infertility (they now have a 20-month-old son, Brexton), and their passion behind the charity they started, the Kyle and Samantha Busch Bundle of Joy Fund, for families dealing with infertility.
Now that her family’s on solid footing, she says, she realized it was time to bring her love of clothes and accessories to the masses.
“I finally feel like I’m at a point in my life where I’m confident to take on such a big task. Before I was scared. ‘What are people going to think? What if people don’t like it? What are they going to say about it?’ ” Busch said.
“I just think as you get older and mature, you realize it’s not about what other people think, as long as you have the support of family and friends,” she said. “You’ve got to give it a try.”
With the help of a professional buyer, she visited the Los Angeles clothing market late last year to find her debut collection, and Murph Boutique was born.
Most items hover in the $20s and $30s; the highest priced items are statement jackets at $60. Most dresses fall around $32; rompers are in the $30s. Jumpsuits and rompers abound and there’s a line of athleisure and workout wear, as well as jewelry, purses and bralettes. She’s also got a small line of racing t-shirts with cute sayings she designed herself.
“I don’t think you have to always go spend a ton of money to look really good,” she said Tuesday from her office in the Kyle Busch Motorsports headquarters, where Murph Boutique is anchored. “Our pieces are bold and unique, but the quality of them is really good.”
Offering plenty of plus sizes (the store carries 1X-3X, in addition to traditional small, medium and large) was a priority.
It was while meeting with fans during a racing trip with Kyle last year to Watkins Glen, N.Y., she says, that she realized the need for more on-trend plus-sized clothing in the marketplace.
“I just have so many women that come tell me, ‘I don’t feel good in this. I can’t find things I like,’ ” Busch said. “I want to go out there and not just find boring plus-sized stuff. I want to find really unique stuff, really cool stuff. We pushed the envelope.”
She’s running the online shop out of her husband’s 77,000-square-foot Mooresville racing complex. Multi-tiered racks of clothing hang in a large room big enough to fit a couple of her husband’s cars; a tall, long table sits in the middle for shipping and packing.
Busch says she’ll be packing boxes and shipping orders too, alongside a Murph Boutique team that includes one full-time employee as well as her mom and several workers at her husband’s business who are pitching in, part-time.
She named the shop after her late maternal grandmother (Elvina was her given name; “Murph” was her lifelong nickname), a fashionable woman who loved to take young Samantha shopping and advised her on the importance of always leaving the house with lipstick applied.
Even the chosen launch date, Jan. 26, was related to her grandmother; it would have been Murph’s 91st birthday.
Busch says she thinks her grandmother would be pleased with how Murph Boutique is shaping up. Goosebumps ran down her spine earlier this month while – on a Homegoods run for photo-shoot props – she found a “Golden Girls” coffee table book: a reminder of a show the two both loved. (Betty White looks very much like her grandmother, she says.)
Just as her grandmother was honest with her beauty advice, Busch is hoping that women who buy from her will be honest with their feedback.
“I already told people on social media: ‘Contact me,’ ” she said. “Kyle and I are very open with our fan base and on social media, we don’t hide anything. So I think they’ll be comfortable to tell me what they think.”