What's it Really Like to Own a Boutique?
If you’ve been a follower of Ruthie Grace for a bit, you know that I love to share the world of entrepreneurship with others. While I adore fashion, the entrepreneur side of my business is really want I love! So that may spark the question, “Did you start a boutique so you could just own your own business? Or was it something you had always wanted to do because you love clothes?” In this blog post, I’m going to open up about my “Why” and “How” I got started and what it’s really like owning a boutique!
So let’s go back to the birth of Ruthie Grace and how she even came about. Have you ever wondered where this idea started that is now 7 years strong? I get asked this question a lot and my answer is simple. I was a college graduate with a degree in Animal Science from Texas A&M. I was newly married, had a job as a customer service rep for an insurance agency, and barely making ends meet financially. There was nothing about my job that correlated with my degree and I wasn’t being challenged. Most days I drove to work feeling unfulfilled in my career. It just wasn’t what I was created to do and I knew it. This was about the time that Facebook businesses really started to pop-up and companies were seeing huge returns by posting products on their then “fan pages”. I was fortunate enough to have built a friendship with some great girls who owned a boutique in College Station. I shopped there often and found that I really loved their business model. The idea of owning my own business kept nagging in the back of my head and I felt this huge push to really do it. Was I scared? Of course. Did I know anything at all about business or owning my own boutique? Nope. Not a thing. Did I have any experience in the fashion industry? Nothing. Was it safe to say that I was taking a huge risk on taking on this new business venture? ABSOLUTELY. But here’s the thing with owing your own business. It’s always a risk. And the reward will NEVER be available if you don’t step out in faith and do it. So that’s exactly what I did.
To get things moving, I made a business plan. I highly recommend anyone wanting to start their own business to do this. Even if it’s a multi-level marketing company. You need to know what the investment will be and what the return will be. Guess if you have to, you need to know. Then look at it and decide, is this PROFITABLE? If you can’t prove a profitable model, then you need to rethink some things. Next step. Go the bank. I told you I had barely any money, so getting a loan was the only option, but, I started small. I didn’t want to get in over my head so I made sure my debt was manageable. (You have to include this in your business model!) Once the loan was secured I started putting together the store. It went like this. Find a location. Check. Design a logo and a name. Check. (Ruthie Grace is the combined middle names of my grandmother’s middle names. And no, I didn’t always have this name picked out. It came after the idea of owning a business.) Buy clothes. Check. ( My first buying trip was to Dallas Market Center). Build a social media account. Check. Then green light! I opened the doors to Ruthie Grace exactly 1.5 months after finding my location.
Looking back on that stage of business, I thought the beginning would be the scariest part. The initial set up. Oh my, how I was wrong. The scariest part of owning a business is growing it. It’s easy to sit back and coast and stay complacent. There’s no challenge and risks starts to diminish. Growing a business, investing more money, and constantly stretching your knowledge is where it really gets tough. You can read tons of books on owning you own business (I’ll link my favs at the end of this post) but none of them will give you all the knowledge you need to know on what will or won’t work. You have to invent those processes yourself. Processes? What do you mean? Here’s an example. When inventory arrives, what’s the best way to get it tagged and online? Sounds simple but when we are receiving 100’s of products per month, sometimes in one week, you have to have a system in place for that. So what does that look like for us? I’ll have a whole blog post coming soon to give you behind the scenes.
That leads me to the title of this blog post, “What’s it really like owning a boutique?”. It’s hard. Like wayyy challenging. And the most rewarding career I could have asked for. If you were looking for me to give you some cheesy answer about how I play dress up all day, you’re in the wrong place. In fact, most days you can find me rocking work out pants and tennis shoes because I’m hustling from one thing to the next. But if you were to ask me, should I open my own boutique? I would 100% say yes. There is nothing in this world that is worth something that isn’t hard. If it wasn’t challenging you, then that means you would find no value in it. My business takes up an immense amount of time but because of this career, I am living the creative life I want to live. My mind works like this, “How do I get from Point A to Point B?” What does that process look like? There’s no road so I have to create it, dig it and, pave it. That hustle is what makes my entrepreneur heart sing!
With the technology and social media we have available, we are seeing tons of women like you and me opening up their own businesses regularly. While we could all look at it as extremely intimidating, I see it as a wonderful opportunity. We have the ability to create our own place on the web, a place that is uniquely branded to who we are, what we stand for, and what we love. Isn’t that amazing? And the opportunity is yours for the taking, you just have to do it. Trust me, I know the uncertainty that is going through your head, but with PRAYER (Yes, I am a believer and I pray about EVERYTHING!) and support, you can do it!
I’ll leave you with just a few things before I wrap up this post.
- My email is always open. If you have any questions, shoot me an email. I’ll be happy to answer! firstname.lastname@example.org
- Meditate on this scripture. I know you’ve heard it before but it’s so good and so true. “I can do ALL things through Christ, who gives me strength.” Phil 4:13. Notice the emphasis on all. Not some… ALL, even owning your own business.
- Read some really good books. My fave is The E-Myth by Michael Gerber.
- If you really want more, I’m teaching a webinar in June with some of my favorite social media gurus. More details will be coming up soon but you can find the website here.
Alright, so here was my first blog post. It was all about “business” but I have some pretty rad ideas in the works. I plan on covering lots of good topics from mom life, styling, to eye-lash extensions. So keep coming back to check out more!
Many blessings to you,