Splitting at the Seams
This week on Relative Success with Tabatha, she consults with a family run apparel business specializing in Orthodox clothing for women, Newme. What exactly is Orthodox clothing? Well, it’s not as modest as a jilbab, but knees, elbows and cleavage must be covered. The business is splitting at the seams and so is the family. The company was created by mom, Eilat and daughter Miriam, two years ago, and twin brother, Menashe, joined a little later, but oy vey! What a thorn in the side this one is.
Will Tabatha save the day? So far we have not seen the classic Tabatha from Tabatha Takes Over who kicks but and takes names. This Tabatha is more reserved, but each week I say to myself, “Maybe this is the week Tabatha will show some hutzpah.”
What makes Newme special is they break from the traditional black and gray tones. Bright colors and prints, as long as the fabrics aren’t sheer, are turned into fun, traditional dresses. Fun might be a stretch, but you know what I mean. Tabatha arrives and is disappointed the office and storage room are in the garage. It’s mishegas! Eilat and Miriam have lofty dreams about taking the company world-wide, but zero know how. And they have no clue what their sales or inventory are. Tabatha thinks this is more of a hobby than a business, but this was a message from God to Eilat, so lets not question God.
Twin brother Menashe finally remembers to show up. Tabatha asks to speak to him alone. He says that so far he only schleps boxes, and he’s too smart to do such menial tasks. Menashe used to work in fashion and now runs a handy-man company that is “very successful.” His beef, because it can’t be pork, is that he wants to know ahead of time what his sister and mom are designing because they are too stupid to live skipping important steps. Tabatha asks why Menashe isn’t organizing the disaster zone of a place if he dislike it so much and he says the mess makes him dizzy. Really, pretty boy? Tabatha tells Menashe he’s running away and blaming others.
As per usual, Tabatha will be joining the family for dinner. Before Tabatha arrives, the family gets into a heated argument with Menashe announcing to everyone that he’s the boss. What a schmuck! And because there’s so much yelling goingo on, Tabatha can hear it from the street. She asks what in Manischewitz is going on? Menashe says he’s cynical because he’s surrounded by sinful, yamaka-wearing people. Eilat blames herself that Menashe has left their faith. Of course she does, that’s what Jewish mom’s do.
Tabatha says their business idea is genius, but if they can’t communicate with each other, how will they communicate with their customers. The twins were once very close, but now Miriam can’t stand to hear Menashe speak because he’s a shmendrik who spews negativity. Tabatha thinks he’s a dick – make that a circumcised dick – and tells Menashe he has zero respect for anyone. Tabatha says she needs to leave the dinner table because her head is about to explode and doesn’t want that to happen in front of the children.
The next day Tabatha meets with the ladies, and then Mensahe eventually strolls in with his condescending attitude. Tabatha presents her action plan: 1. Organize inventory 2. Sell merchandise 3. Improve communication. When Tabatha tells them they are required to sign the action plan, both Menashe and Eilat say, “What action plan?” Hand to Moses, they said that. Tabatha is beyond frustrated. She leaves to let the family get started with the organization, but quickly tensions arise.
On Day 3, Tabatha meets the ladies at the site of a pop-up shop that she wants Newme to use to showcase their merchandise for one month – on Tabatha’s dime. Hugs for everyone, even though Tabatha hates hug. The space is cool with floor-to-ceiling windows. Mother and daughter want to design part of the space to have a children’s play area since they can be so annoying come with their mothers to shop.
Later that week, Tabatha receives an inventory list that seems incomplete and a flyer for a BOGO sale without consulting Tabatha. Tabatha is meeting the family at a café, and once again Menashe is late. Tabatha confronts the family on the inventory list and explains they are off by $16K. Miriam explains they forgot to inventory the fabric. Oy vey! And as far as the sample sale, Tabatha recommends they fire their marketing department. Menashe says he wasn’t consulted about the BOGO sale. Any chance to throw mom and sis under the bus, he takes.
The ladies are setting up the store for the grand opening, but once again, Menashe is not there. After hanging all the garments, Miriam and Eilat are overwhelmed. They decide no more designing until they start selling. So where is Menashe? He’s working on his motorcycle. Seriously? Even if you weren’t an owner, why not help out mom? Not kosher dude! Meriam says she’s done with her brother.
Menashe is still a no-show and has reached out to Tabatha to kvetch about it. He has lost all hope and reached his breaking point. Menashe is ready to walk away. Drama-much? Tabatha says fine, it’s for the best, but she won’t do his dirty work and tells him to go tell mom and sis. Eilat is brought to tears when Menashe quits, Miriam says the show must go on, and Tabatha says, buh-bye, dead weight.
The doors will be open in four hours, but tags and labels haven’t been attached. It’s total mishegas! Freaking out does no one any good. It’s time for a pep talk from mom and sis. On three, shabbot shalom! It works. The women get it together and open the doors to the community synagogue members. The place is packed and the sales are up. The ladies know they can now do this on their own, without some Doubting Thomas-stein harshing their mellow.
Update: Sales continue to grow after filming. Miriam and Eilat made the Newme storefront permanent. And they resumed production on the Newme line. Menashe is focused solely on his handyman business (and pouting). His relationship with his mom and sister has improved significantly.
Missed last week’s Relative Success with Tabatha? Check it out here.