Since Kindly Kentucky is a family affair, we love seeing other families team up to pursue their passions! Today we are featuring an interview with Savannah of Lou + Shea Boutique. Savannah recently joined forces with her mother, Christi, to bring their vision of an online and pop-up boutique to life.
City: Pleasant View, TN
Education: WKU, Public Relations with a minor in Marketing
So tell us about Lou + Shea! Where did the inspiration to start your own online and pop-up boutique begin?
I always knew that I would one day own my own store. I didn't know when or how old I would be when I did or where I would be at in life, but I definitely didn't think it would be at age 22. The inspiration started young. I was in high school with the dream of owning my own store. I love shopping so much that it's considered a hobby to me...oops! I worked at numerous retail stores throughout college and really just wanted to own a store that was affordable and that carried cute clothing and accessories. Also, being in college and loving cute items in local boutiques in town but not having the budget was an inspiration, too. I never want someone to walk out of our pop-up shop saying "that's too expensive, I'll never be back" or loving our products but always having to shop the sale rack to afford anything.
You had some time between graduating from college and launching your own business. What were you doing during that time and what made you want to take the plunge to start a brand new business alongside your mother?
Lou + Shea was established in October of 2016. Before I graduated from WKU in May 2016, I was an intern at a marketing firm in Bowling Green, KY from January-May. They hired me on full-time the day before graduation, so the position just fell in my lap. I couldn't say no. I absolutely loved my job, but i knew that I wanted to make a career out of owning my own boutique, so I am now doing this full time. I'm young and what other time besides now do I have to take the plunge and start my own business?
My mom actually received her Fashion Merchandising degree over 30 years ago, but never did much with it. She always wanted to have her own store as well. She works at Data Concepts, Inc. in Nashville still to this day, but she loved the idea and we decided to go for it.
We know from experience that working with family can be fun but can also come with its own set of challenges! What is it like working as a mom-daughter duo?
It's fun, we like it! We make a pretty good team. She handles the accounting and the more business side of things while I handle the marketing (social media, website design, etc.). We both have our own opinions when it comes to buying our inventory, so that's the biggest challenge. Such a challenge, right? We want to be sure to provide affordable clothing at any age. So, I'll pick out items that I know girls my age or younger would wear where she picks things for women her age. The diversity can make things fun and interesting.
Take us through a day in the life of a boutique owner. What does your typical 9-5 look like?
Every day is different. There is no set schedule for us, which is something I love. I like being my own boss. My mom still works her regular job in Nashville. I check email constantly to make sure we are receiving our inventory on time and making sure our customers are happy. I schedule photo shoots, post on all forms of social media, and reach out to bloggers to gain traffic to our social media accounts and website. I design all of our emails that we send out to our VIP list. I created our website myself so I'm always keeping that up-to-date and making sure things are running smoothly. The best though is going to market. Our first trip to market in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago was hands down the best experience. It was very overwhelming, but so fun to be able to handpick all of the items in our store for spring.
What are your current wardrobe must-haves? Anything popping up in trends you are excited about?
Our current wardrobe must-haves are tassels, graphic tees, and midi dresses. When we went to market a couple of weeks ago, tassels were the number one thing that we saw the most, especially for spring and summer. It adds a touch of flare to any dress or top. Another must have are fun graphic tees. I love to wear graphic tees with a cute pair of ripped jeans. It's an appealing way to look causal and feel comfortable while making a statement. We offer several in our own store that are super cute. And last but not least--midi dresses. I think every girl from the South aspires in some way to be like Joanna Gaines and a midi dress screams just that. Modest is hottest, am I right? Some people may choose to differ, but we think women should respect themselves and the clothes you wear have a lot to do with that. For some, the midi length isn't for them, but we love it! They're perfect for any age, but teachers and young moms especially love them!
Where do you find your inspiration for what you sell at Lou + Shea?
Our tagline is "A dash of southern with a pinch of edge," so we like to stay up-to-date on trends all while keeping the southern flare in our pieces. The South has a lot to do with our inspiration, but Pinterest plays a big role in it, too. We love different and unique pieces. I've always been one to wear things others aren't. Why be like the rest of them?
What would you say to other women out there interested in starting their own side-hustle or turning their side-hustle into a full-time gig?
Go for it! Be your own boss and turn your business into what you want it to be. I truly believe that hard work pays off. Set goals for your business, push yourself, and always be confident. Fake it 'till you make it, baby!
Dream purchase to add to your closet?
There are lot's of things I could add to this list, but I would love to have a Chloe Faye bag. #allthehearteyes
Favorite spot in Nashville?
I love the 12 South area. Taco Mamacita is one of my favorite places to eat, Old Glory is a really cool speakeasy, and Pinewood Social is a retro and fun place to meet friends for drinks or bowling.
If you could spend one day with one woman, who would it be and what would you do?
Honestly, I think I would hang with Jessie James Decker. She owns her own clothing line, she's married to the hottest man in the NFL, and she's a country music singer. We would hang out and talk about Kittenish, her clothing line, go to a New York Jets football game, and then hang out backstage at one of her gigs. She seems so down-to-earth and obsessed with her family. Her life seems pretty amazing!
P.S. Lou + Shea just released their new items for spring! We are currently coveting this.