APRIL 2018

Is it Summer yet?

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It's almost May and we've had maybe two real "Spring" days where it has actually been enjoyable to be outside. I hate to complain though, because last September I couldn't wait for it to get cold outside so I could finally start selling sweaters and Fall clothes that the store was already packed with. Now that it's nearing the end of April, here I am begging for it to be warm.

 After getting through the worst two months of the year (looking at you January and February), I'm feeling optimistic for this Spring and Summer since the store hasn't seen those seasons yet.  Also, some of the construction next to us in the Short North will be done (!!!) which means no more ugly orange cones in front of the store. They have been sitting out there since the day I opened and I could not be more excited to see them disappear. Did I mention we are also getting new sidewalks and trees planted too!? *happy dance*

There is so much happening in the district that it makes a lot of people angry, and it seems that it's all anyone wants to talk about. Yes, I can see all of the construction going on as I work and live here. Yes, I am aware that parking sucks right now. Yes, the construction noise bothers me. Yes, I can't wait for it to be over. But the best part? I opened the store in the midst of all this construction so I really don't know what it will be like once it is complete.  I can only imagine it will get better!

Looking forward to temperatures rising and the sun shining! xo

-Steph


DECEMBER 2017

Reflection

As the year comes to an end, I wanted to take some time to reflect on all of the good, the bad, and the ugly that the year has brought me.  To kick-off the year, I was unemployed, running out of money (I spent it all on a trip to Thailand with one of my best friends…No regrets), but I had a big dream of one day opening my own store. As you (maybe) read in my previous Jolie Journal post, I did not want to go back to corporate retail so opening my own store was the only option I gave myself. It had to work out, and it did. Fast-forward to today, I can now call myself a “small business owner”, or Sales Manager, or CEO, or VP of Human Resources or really anything else I want because let’s be honest, as a small business owner you wear many hats... and they’re not always cute.

Before my business was up and running, I read and studied what I thought was everything I needed to know about owning and operating a retail store. Turns out, nothing can prepare you for the random, amazing, and terrible things that will happen. If you told me I would have to clean up vomit right outside the front door of my store one morning, I would have laughed in your face. If you told me someone would punch a hole in my super cute chalkboard sign, I would have rolled my eyes. And if you told me I was going to be a guest judge at HighBall Halloween (one of my favorite nights of the year), I wouldn’t have believed you.

But I was wrong….

I knew that owning a small business would mean dealing with some major BS at times, but after looking back at these past few months of being open, I wouldn’t change a thing. All of the good that this store has brought to myself and others strongly outweighs all the bad things that have happened, no matter how big or small. I’ve met some amazing people in this journey including other local business owners who I can now call my friends. I’ve had the opportunity to grow my store through pop-up shops, private shopping parties, and showcases at events. Plus, I was even a guest on a radio show (shout out to Phillip Bufford on WTMH radio)!

2017 has been one heck of a ride full of some extreme lows but even better highs. If I had to do it all again, I absolutely would.

Work hard, stay humble people! xo

-Steph

Here’s a look back at some of my favorite moments this year:


September 2017

One Month Down

It’s been a little over a month since the store has officially been open for business, and I still can’t believe it’s real. I went from having too many bosses to becoming my own boss in just a few short months and it was the best decision I ever made (besides marrying my husband…Hi Mark!)

I always told people that my dream job would be to open my own store, and it wasn’t until I was let go from my previous job that I decided to pull the trigger and just do it.  I was not going to go back to corporate retail to work a job I didn’t love, and since this was the only option I gave myself, it had to work out. And it did.

I wish I could say that I knew what I was doing 8 months ago when I decided to open a store, but I didn’t. I read countless articles and “how-to” guides, I met with a handful of people in the business world, cried to my parents every now and then, and figured out the rest along the way.  After a few months of pitching my business plan to what seemed like every bank in the city, I finally received a loan and found a space to lease (!!!). We turned an old office into the cutest little boutique in the city (I am clearly bias) and got the store up and running in less than 8 weeks.  

The only reason this store is now a reality is because I had the best support team and I wasn't going to let my dream fade away.  Like I said, this was the only option I gave myself and it had to work out.

Jolie Occasions is everything I hoped it would be and more, and I truly could not have done it without the love and support I received from everyone around me. I hope if you're reading this you will take the time to check out the website and stop in and say hello if you haven't already! xo

-Steph

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