how it all began
It’s not really a love story, but… maybe it is? (In a friend way, of course.)
For quite some time, Bethany Halford (living in Arkansas) and Amanda Jerkins (in Tennessee) had been hearing about one other through mutual friends. People would go on and on about how one needed to meet the other and how they would surely be BFFs. Finally, the two met at a friend-in-common’s wedding, Amanda in a yellow, floral skirt suit and Bethany in a strapless aqua floral-print dress, and it was friendship at first sight (ha!)! Not long after that first meeting, Bethany just so happened to move to Nashville and the two were engaged just months later (j/k, j/k… but their friendship did quickly grow and they now consider themselves ‘style soulmates’).
While in Nashville, Bethany started a blog (may it rest in peace) about some of her favorite things. One regular blog feature was titled ‘Whoa, wait. Walmart?’, a spotlight on the amazingly/surprisingly cute products she was discovering on the aisles of Walmart (as in ‘whoa, hang on, you found that at Walmart?’). In the summer of 2013, the two friends were on a playdate with their kids. Bethany showed Amanda a really cute pair of leather (yes, real leather!) sandals she had recently found at Walmart for under $15. Amanda suggested that they start an Instagram account sharing cool Walmart finds. Bethany shared about the Whoa, wait. Walmart? feature on her blog, and that she was considering letting it stand on its own. When Amanda encouraged her to do it, Bethany invited her ‘style soulmate’ to join her in the endeavor. Four years later, Bethany and Amanda are personal shoppers for over 91,000 of their very best friends and they’re helping make Walmart (!) cool.
To make an already lovely story even lovelier, their Instagram success eventually parlayed into an opportunity to design and sell a cute, affordable, fashion-forward clothing line exclusive to Walmart, called ‘Whoa, Wait.’, launching online in the spring of 2017.
To be clear, Bethany and Amanda do not work for Walmart, but they love sharing their finds with their Instagram fans, the majority of whom are young moms with great tastes (think Anthropologie fans with, well… Walmart budgets). They like to think of themselves as personal shoppers for these ladies and are having a growing influence on the ways women are spending money at Walmart.
Oddly enough, Bethany and her family are now back in Arkansas, while Amanda and her family remain in Nashville. That has not hindered their collaborations… it is, after all, the 21st century. Hundreds—possibly thousands—of text conversations and FaceTime chats strong, the girls are working as hard as ever, and Whoa Wait. Walmart? marches onward with yet more exciting projects on the horizon.
story of whoa, wait. apparel
The girls’ astute sense of style and design has won over a wide array of admirers, and after three years of an increasingly successful Instagram presence, Bethany and Amanda were approached by a clothing maker about collaborating on a private collection, to be pitched as an exclusive line at Walmart. For the girls, it was a no-brainer and after partnering on a line for spring 2017, it was pitched to Walmart apparel buyers, who loved the collection and decided to start it out online. Their collection launched on Walmart.com in early 2017.
The girls’ following consists primarily of young, on-trend moms who love having cute things, but can’t spend a fortune on them. Whoa, Wait. apparel was designed with this very group in mind—girls who love stores like Anthropologie and J. Crew, but don’t have the budgets to shop there exclusively. The Whoa, Wait. collection will feature missy, plus size and maternity for the spring collection. Bethany and Amanda are hoping to add a girls collection in the upcoming fall and holiday 2017 collections.
Bethany grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas and has been around Walmart all of her life. Her mother was a buyer at the Walmart home office, so she spent plenty of time tagging along to apparel line reviews and learning the ins and outs of the retailer. She went to college at Harding University in Arkansas and earned a BS in fashion and interior merchandising, with a minor in marketing. Upon graduation, she spent a year as a Product Development Manager for Dorel Industries, a furniture company that sells to Walmart and Sam’s Club.
In 2006, she moved to Nashville. Bethany took a position in design consulting at Meridian Home Furnishings (from Amanda’s recommendation). After a few years, she decided to make a career switch and go into something that would allow her to help others daily: teaching. She got her MA in teaching English language learners at Lipscomb University and began teaching in the Metropolitan Nashville Public School system. It was during this time that she started a blog (RIP) to share ideas and good deals. In 2013, Bethany moved back to Arkansas with her family and taught for another year before deciding to stay home to raise her daughters.
Being home also allowed Bethany to focus on growing Whoa, wait. Walmart?, which quickly became her full time job. She loves partnering with her BFF, Amanda, to run their business. Being a personal shopper (via Instagram) and helping fellow everyday girls find the really cool products in Walmart is by far Bethany’s favorite role. Her previous product development experience and understanding of the Walmart world have definitely come in handy on this wild ride, especially with the launch of their apparel line, Whoa, Wait. The new line is just one more way Bethany gets to help friends: by ensuring fashion-forward clothes are available at low prices.
Bethany currently lives in Bentonville with her husband Adam, and their two girls: Matilda and Ingrid.
Amanda is a Louisiana girl, born and raised. She attended Harding University in Arkansas where she graduated with a BS in fashion and interior merchandising. Shortly thereafter, she moved to New York City and landed a job as store designer at the flagship Crate&Barrel on Madison Avenue (where, for whatever it’s worth, she helped both Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono (separately) pick out kitchenware).
After three wonderful years in New York City, she uprooted to Nashville in pursuit of a second degree, a BFA in interior design at O’More School of Design. She graduated from O’More and headed back to NYC for an internship with Grid Partners, one of the world’s renowned retail design firms. After the internship, she turned down a job offer so she could return to Nashville, where she decided to start her own business: Amanda Jerkins Design, a combination of her equal loves of creating florals and designing spaces.
Several years in to being a small business owner, Amanda has found yet another passion: teaming up on Instagram with her bestie Bethany Halford, being a personal shopper to tens of thousands of lovely ladies, in Walmart of all places. With the spinoff of the Whoa, Wait. clothing line, she now comes full circle to where she began: the world of fashion. In some ways, she combines all of her skill sets in to one, now pursuing her favorite venture yet: Whoa, Wait. apparel.
Amanda lives in Nashville with her husband and favorite photographer Stephen, along with their three young children: Reason, Hollis and Sadie.
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