So it has been about 6 months since I decided to forgo my partnership with a branded clothing company and venture into owning and curating my own shop! For the most part-it has been amazing but there for sure have been some obstacles and learning curves I've needed to adapt to. Here are some things I've learned since owning my own business!
1. My style may not be what my customer's want.
This is something I struggle with consistently. I frequently add things to my cart that I look at and say "I LOVE THAT" but when I take a step back I realize it's not going to serve the masses. It's even more of a struggle because I want to generally carry items I love and would wear as well. This was a problem I had with the last company I was with, feeling "inauthentic" because I was saying "OMG so cute" to something I thought was terrible. I never want to lie to anyone but I am realizing that I do need to venture outside of just want I'm drawn to. Which ironically leads me into my next lesson...
2. I can't be everything to everybody
There are things with my business that are non-misses. I will always strive to bring in quality products at a good price, unique items and those that women's of all shapes and sizes can love. But I will admit, taking on those 3 must-haves, can be mentally and emotionally draining sometimes. I often sit at my computer preparing an order, only to find the item(s) I love, don't also come in a plus size or are out of stock. Or I'll bring in an item that I think is amazing and am met with a not-so-nice comment from social media.
Slowly I'm realizing, I can't please everyone. And I'm not saying that in a "forget you-i'm doing me" sort of way, but I just don't have the capacity at this moment to bring in everything customer's may be requesting or as frequently as some larger boutiques. And I need to not let that get to me and get me down. I know there will always be a business that out-prices me or brings in new stuff every week and that's fine. Part of my learning too is not to get into a comparison trap. In business, nothing is achieved overnight-so learning what not only keeps me sane but my customers happy and referring others is my ultimate goal.
3. It is a lot harder than I thought to be a size inclusive boutique than S-L store.
I'm saying this one and expressing my deepest empathy to my curvy gals- I am sorry there is not more in the market for you! I was honestly and unfortunately unaware of the disparity in the market before I got in. I was lucky in the sense that I was previously with a company that was size inclusive so I just thought when I went out on my own, that was the norm. NOPE. It takes me a good deal of time to not only find quality vendors but vendors who have the same or similar items in a S-Curvy run. I now (again unfortunately) understand why so many boutiques aren't size inclusive. Plus not only is there a lack of availability- but all items in the XL-3X version are more expensive than there S-L counterparts. I'm calling BS on that. Again now understanding why most boutiques just choose to not do Curvy at all.I feel bad I can't bring in all the cute and trendy pieces in for my curvy gals, and it's not because I don't want to- it's just that vendors out there haven't caught up yet. Things are changing...I am seeing more every time I order and I hope that in another 6 months, I have different feedback.
I know I'll probably think of so many more things once I hit that publish button. But I did want to share these with you all and know that everyday I learn and grow and it's always a work in progress. If you're another business owner reading this, I'm sure you struggle with some of these same things and maybe feel you can't/shouldn't articulate it.
So we'll do another recap after a year. I'm sure my lessons will be different and hopefully these ones I mentioned above, I'll have grown with.
Thank you all for your love & support so far!