Back at the Ranch owner Katie Hoffman is capitalizing on the popularity of beads and all things that glitter to aid in her quest to raise awareness of and funds for breast cancer research. She has created a contest called “Blingin' Brazieres” - and yes, Hoffman knows how to spell “brassiere”?with the intention of garnering interest from a new demographic.
“This is our first year, but I'm hoping to keep it an annual thing,” she said. “It's something to get the younger generation involved.”
Contestants are invited to decorate bras with beads, crystals and other glimmering items to be judged by store patrons and online followers.
“We suggested a 36C or larger so you have more space to work with,” she said. “Any smaller than that will be harder to decorate.”
Hoffman has posted pictures of bedazzled bras on the Back at the Ranch Facebook page to inspire potential artists as they plot their own designs.
“I've seen some online, and I am going to do a thing on Facebook to give people inspiration with pictures I've seen,” she said. “They make cute titles for them.”
When asked what prompted her desire to hold the fundraiser, she explained it was a personal venture for her.
“I have a lot of customers who are breast cancer survivors,” she said. “My mother-in-law had it at one point. And I just want to help people out.”
The event's moniker is one tailor made for the boutique, and Hoffman claimed the father of one of her employees gave her the idea for the name.
“He's always saying we 'sling bling' in here because we put rhinestones on everything,” she said. “And we were trying to come up with a cute name that would get people's attention.”
Endowed with a loyal Facebook following, Hoffman hopes the fundraiser will go beyond the city limits.
“We are going to take out-of-town entries, too, because we have 12,000 Facebook fans,” she said. “We have a big following.”
Entrance forms can be picked up at the store or printed out from the Back at the Ranch Facebook page.
“After we get them all in, we will be hanging them all around in here and will put numbers on them,” she said. “We'll have pictures online with the numbers, and people can vote for the number of the bra they like.”
Hoffman anticipates the waiving of any entrance fee will ensure a healthy number of submissions.
“The way we are going to raise funds is by votes,” she said. “It's going to be a $1 per vote. For out-of-town people, we are going to have a PayPal account set up so they can donate online on Facebook.”
The amount of votes made in favor of a particular bra will determine the winner of a $250 shopping spree at Back at the Ranch. Second place will get to choose $100 in products from the store.
All designs must be original, and participants can work alone or in groups. The “blinged out” creations can be mailed to 2900 W. Washington St., Ste. 60, or dropped off at the store. Hoffman started accepting entries Monday and will continue to take them through Oct. 24. Voting will be launched on Oct. 25 and conclude Nov. 2.
“I want to cover this place up,” Hoffman said. “I think it'll be good.”
Back at the Ranch is located in the Bosque River Center at 2900 West Washington Street in Stephenville. Call (254) 918-2498 for more information.