Business Babes – The Curly Girly Boutique

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I have been thinking a lot about home based businesses lately. Especially those run by women. We have to find that perfect balance between life, work, and business. Sometimes, there are husbands and kids thrown into the mix. Either way, it can be hectic.

As my little hobby grows, I get busier and find that I have less and less time for me, the hubby, and the kids. I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I asked a few women owned business owners what their thoughts were. This is the first post in the series.  I hope we can all learn from each other and if nothing more, know that we aren’t alone in this hectic life we love!

 

business babes

business babes

 

Meet Michelle of The Curly Girly Boutique:

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
We are a mother/daughter team, Lyn and Michelle.  We are Whidbey Island, Washington’s premiere  handmade children’s boutique.  We specialize in ‘Modern Designs.  Vintage Details.”  Lyn, my mom, is married to Ken and they have been together for over 30 years.  Lyn has been sewing for over 20 years and has a long career as a commercial sewer and seamstress.  Her attention to detail is amazing.  She has always been creative and loves stamping, crocheting, sewing and gardening with the grandkids.  I, Michelle, am married to Matt with four children.  I have always loved creating and designing.  I teach part time and homeschool my children between sewing and creating for the Boutique. 
 
We often get asked how we can work together being mother and daughter.  It helps that we get along really well and are quite different.  We each have our strengths and weaknesses.  Together we have learned how to blend those to create a fabulous team.  Lyn is very good at details in her finished projects.  Those details have given the boutique a name for high-quality clothing and accessories.  I am the designing force behind the team.  With an eye for trends and keeping brand fresh and current, I have developed a unique look for the boutique.  A look that reflects both of our personalities.
 
2. When did you start your biz?
Our business started in April of 2010.
 
3. Why did you start your biz?
We had no plans to actually start a business.  It just happened over time.  We started crocheting hats, for our own children.  Soon family and friends were asking for us to make them hats.  Then a local store saw our hats and invited us to place them into their store.  Once we had a good inventory built up we decided to start doing craft shows, festivals and street fairs.  This caused our business to gain a large fan-base in our home town.  Over time, as business grew we started adding new product lines and items until we have something for infants to adults and everyone in between.
 
4. What do you find most rewarding about owning your own biz?
Being creative and being able to add to the family income is the most rewarding part of owning my own business.  We are the creative force behind all decisions for our business.  What fabric and patterns we use for our clothing lines.  What colors we use for crocheted hats.  What different supplies we will use to create our hair accessories.  We get to make all of those decisions for our business without having to run them by anyone else.  Our business is a true reflection of each of our creativity and talents, no one else’s.  
 
5. What do you find most frustrating about owning your own biz?
The amount of work involved in keeping up with the business besides the sewing and crafting.  I thought we could just make products, they would sell and we would be in business.  There is so much background work that happens that most people never see.  Like social networking, our website, accounting, taxes, inventory, photography, editing, designing and so much more.  The creative side of our business keeps us busy enough but trying to balance that with the paperwork can be tough.  It can be easy to burn out owning your own business.  All the work can be overwhelming both mentally and physically.
 
6. If you could go back to before your started your biz and tell yourself something, what would you say?
Make a business plan.  Just having a name and some ambition is not enough, get organized and determine what your business will look like first.  Write out your goals for six months, nine months a year and more.  By writing out your goals you will be better able to set little deadlines to make those goals attainable.  It will also help you define your business and create a brand or ‘look’ for your shop.  Otherwise you will be working backwards, trying to do create a business plan and change an already established business is tough and can be confusing to your customers.
7. Do you have kids? If so, do you find it easy to work with them? What tips could you give to balancing work and play with them?
I have four kids, ages 11, 7, 5 & 3.  I homeschool three out of my four kids.  So as you can imagine, my life is very full.  Balancing owning a business, working from home and juggling all the responsibilities of mom is hard.  Some weeks are easier then others.  I have a set up business hours, time for taking care of paperwork and sewing and creating.  I also work while my kids are doing homework, so once I teach their lesson they start on their school work and I can sit at the table with them sewing, crafting or working on the computer.  I have a little journal where I write my weekly goals of things I want to accomplish.  If I don’t get everything done one week, then I just move it to the next week.  I have also learned a great deal about not stressing out and learning to be flexible with my work hours.
8. Are you a full time biz owner or do you work outside the home? Any tips on balancing a full/part time job with your biz?
Mom is currently working our business full-time, sewing four-five days a week.  After working outside of the home for years, she is enjoying the freedom of being her own boss.  I teach five hours a week (at the homeschool program my kids attend).  I teach a variety of enrichment classes, including sewing.  So this takes a lot of balancing to be able to fit this in with homeschooling and owning my own business.  I have learned to be a planner.  I do all of my lesson plans, for my kids and my students, weeks in advance.  This makes it much easier for me to work part-time.
9. What do you want to gain from your biz? Where do you see yourself? Ultimate goal?
Our ultimate goal is to open our own brick-and-mortar children’s boutique one day and have our clothing in multiple children’s boutiques across the country.  I hope to open a store so we can run it together.  But that dream is in the distant future, I would like my own children to be older before considering opening my own store.  Right now we are focused on building our brand and customer base.  We enjoy doing craft shows and getting out to meet our customers face to face.
10. Anything else you would like to share? 
Running a business, being my own boss is worth any sacrifices of time and sanity I have to make.  I wouldn’t trade the opportunities I have gained from The Curly Girly Boutique for anything.
I love their site, the little girl clothing is a-DOR-able! I can just see Scarlett wearing this dress
 Curly Girly Boutique 5-2-13
and Rowan needs this bib!
bib
You can find The Curly Girly Boutique on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Don’t forget to stop by her blog as well!
Thanks for hanging out with us Michelle!
  • http://www.facebook.com/kdovealston Keena Dove Alston

    This is an awesome write up, thanks for sharing!!

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