Emily Andreas and Michelle Barrett are cousins by day and business owners by night. The power duo created their brand RATZ in the fall of 2020, utilizing Emily’s marketing skills and Michelle’s artistic talent. Emily expects to graduate in 2022 with a Marketing degree, along with Michelle who attends art school.
Bimbo University Empowers Women to Express Themselves Without Shame
Emily and Michelle grew up surrounded by powerful women, and that motivator held their confidence high when developing the daring logo for RATZ, “Bimbo University”. The term “bimbo” is a slang term that was initially used in the US to describe an unintelligent or brutish man. Nowadays, it is typically associated with the symbol of an attractive or sexualized naïve/unintelligent woman. Emily and Michelle noticed an online trend in the increased usage of the slang, and wanted to create a brand based on it while simultaneously sending a message. When asked about their choice of their logo, Emily says,
“We didn’t really hesitate to use it because we’re all about not absorbing what other people think. If someone wants to call me a bimbo, they can do so because it doesn’t impact my self-worth or intelligence. If someone calls you a bimbo, why not laugh about it and coin it for yourself? It’s definitely not something that everyone gets and loves, but it’s a fun form of self-expression!”
RATZ conducts retail through their Etsy account. They have an Instagram page, as well as a TikTok account to market their products. Emily remarks that TikTok is their most active marketing channel, with some of their videos reaching about half a million views! While they receive plenty of support, they have also been a target of hostility. Their brand sometimes receives negative comments from viewers about the controversy of their message, but RATZ chooses to advocate their message of self-acceptance and pride. Instead of getting upset over the negative feedback, they appreciate the engagement!
RATZ Wants to Expand Beyond Online Business
When envisioning RATZ’ future, Emily and Michelle see themselves building up their brand further after college. Currently, they feel blessed to know some people are setting alarms for their restocks, as their products go out of stock rapidly. They see sales primarily among women, with approximately 96% of their social media following being women.
Since their business began during the pandemic, they’ve grown accustomed to the online world of business. Yet they are continuously developing their brand in new ways, like their switch from vinyl to screen-printing designs on their products. Emily and Michelle eventually hope to open up a brick-and-mortar store, and operate their business as a full-time job.
Checkout RATZ’ Etsy for cute apparel, keychains, and stickers!