5 Life lessons from a Boutique Owner (blog 2)
Posted on May 21 2021
Hi, friends! Welcome back to the Poppie’s blog. Sarah here- you’ll be putting up with me for one more week until we introduce you to our amazing, lady-boss guests writers! They are already prepping the BEST posts about fashion, travel, tips, and more to launch each friday on the blog: ANOTHER great reason that Friday’s just got better!
Today, we are chatting all things life lessons. It's about to get cheesy in here, so buckle up and bare with me. Hunter (my husband) and I started Poppie’s our Junior year of college back in 2014 (you can read our full story here), and you can say we’ve learned quite a bit in the past 7 years. Despite popular belief, my background is not in business. My degree is in education, but PRAISE THE LORD, Hunter has a business degree to help me with the many hiccups along the way.
I say all of this to say: do what you want to do with your life, and you’d be surprised how much you will learn along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love a marketing or merchandising degree, but I regret nothing in my choice to “go for it” when it comes to my ambitions. I am actually glad I’ve learned from trial and error (arguably the best teacher). Ha, try telling myself that 5 years ago, and I wouldn't have believed you. Sure, it could have been much, much, easier along the way, but I wouldn't trade the experiences and the lessons I’m about to share with you for anything.
So, here we go! Whether you’re in entrepreneurship, want to be, or are just nosey as to what mistakes I’ve made and how I’ve learned from them, make yourself comfortable, lol. You might even learn a thing or two that can help you outside of business, too.
Lesson 1: Don’t try to be them...they already are.
OH how many times I have tried to base a business model off of another, order things based on another retailer, and so many more situations that led me to the least authentic version of myself. There is a distinct difference between inspiration and replication. The over-saturated market that I’m in didn't need another “them,” it needed a “me.” There’s a reason God made us all with the personality, quirks, qualities, and strengths that He did: so we could live them out authentically. If you try to be them (whoever “them” is to you), you’ll always be a second rate version that is one step behind. Don’t take yourself for granted. Be YOU, then you’ll always be ahead.
Lesson 2: Starting small is better than not starting at all.
Pride makes me ugly. Heck, pride makes everyone ugly. I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t make the move I needed to out of fear of failure or not being “the best.” Everything has a beginning, and more often than not, a small beginning. You can either start small, water your own grass, and watch it grow, or look at how much greener the grass is for your neighbor while you sit in the dirt. You can’t steer a ship that isn’t moving. Just start somewhere. One step at a time. No one is keeping score. The people that will judge your humble beginning often are people who are remaining standing still.
Lesson 3: Your team is everything, but so is your leadership.
People ask me all the time, “I don't see how you have multiple locations. How do you trust people on your team?” WHAT a loaded question. The simple answer is, I just do, until I don’t. Poppie’s, hands down, would not be here without the team we have had along the way. I am a pretty hard-headed rower, but I’m confident this boat could only have gone in circles with only myself rowing a full speed. There’s a lot that goes into gaining and leading a great team, but to keep it short: 1) Stick with your gut with hiring. God gives you intuition for a reason. 2) TRAIN THE HECK out of people. A person, and business, will rise or fall to the level of their systems. 3) Keep accountability. Every. Single. Day. 4) Show appreciation. Again, every. Single. Day. 5) Confront things head on: good and bad.
**this is the time to thank my amazing team. I love each of you, and I am so proud of you all. My greatest joy of Poppie’s, and probably one of the greatest joys of my life, has been the opportunity to disciple and grow with you.
Lesson 4: Know your people, love your people.
Going back to being YOU...you’ve got a vibe. The world you create with your business is a direct reflection of that. Of course, this will change as trends evolve and years go by, but the “gist” is still there. With this, you find “your people.” Business talk would call this your “audience.” OKAY, HEAR ME OUT Y'ALL: these people are important. These people become your friends, family, and your cheerleaders. Cater to them, care for them, and consider them in your business choices. For me, in my world, that’s buying what they need and want. That is making sure the quality, style, and price point is on point. Your people, ultimately, are the ones who keep you afloat.
**This is a chance to thank my amazing customers, who have become more like friends and family. Thank you for loving my dream, supporting it, and providing a job to myself and 10 other amazing ladies. I am humbled by this community each day and I’m honored by your business.
(you’ve finally made it) Lesson 5: You don’t have to do it all.
Another question that makes me CRINGE is the often asked, “Girl, how do you do it all?” The short answer? I don’t. I can’t. And the beautiful thing is, I don’t have to. And, sis, take a deep breath: you don’t either.
I used to get asked this question and try to answer with an actual response, as if I actually did have the audacity to think that I could do it all. The most freeing realization came when I realized it's okay to slow down, work at my own pace, celebrate the wins, and learn from the losses. There is so much grace amidst a world of constant striving and competition. Yes, there are boutiques that grow quicker than me. There always will be. There are goals that I have that are unmet. There are always things to do. But, I can only do what I can do, and that’s okay.
Basically: stop being so hard on yourself. Grace upon grace.
And the funny thing is, when I started adopting this mindset, I started reaching goals so much more quickly than before.
So, thank you for attending my Ted Talk. (lol) I hope that these life lessons can help you not make mistakes, or even adopt toxic midsets, that I have. Thank you for reading, and I would love to know your thoughts in the comments! Join us back here next Friday with a guest writer, my dear friend and stylist, Julie Plunk!