Three years ago, on November first of 2015, I officially launched S & Company Incorporated as an online women’s clothing boutique. I had been chasing this dream since high school, and then as a Senior in college, just a month and a half before graduation, I finally made that dream a reality.
Throughout high school and college I became familiar with the look of doubt that crossed people’s faces as I told them my plan for the future. It wasn’t until my site was launched, and I started actually selling clothes that those same people finally started to believe in me.
I wouldn’t say I’m successful, actually incredibly far from the success I hope to achieve one day. But I will say that I’m happy, and that might be the biggest success of all. I’m happy waking up every morning and going to a job that I love. I’m happy working for myself and calling all the shots. I’m happy working weekends and sometimes long nights just to get everything done. I’m even happy walking away from the week with a small paycheck, because I know that some day all this hard work will start to pay off.
S & Co. started as a few racks of clothes in a spare bedroom at my parent’s house. In this tiny room I was able to fit 2 desks (one for my computer and all the paperwork, and one for packaging up orders), a backdrop with lights, and three racks of clothes all crammed together. I took my own pictures for the site using my canon and a remote, and they were far from perfect!
Then my parents decided to add onto their house. My mom dreamed of a big open kitchen and living room, while my dad dreamed of the perfect sunroom overlooking the hills. One day my dad agreed to let me use his sunroom for my store! He gave me one year before I would be kicked out, although between you and me, he never would have made me leave. This sunroom was my favorite office/store space! I hosted pop up events, and had all my racks lined up against the big windows.
A little less than a year later, I moved into a rental house with a couple girls and it just didn’t make sense to travel to my parent’s house every night after my day job to work on my store. So I began the search for a downtown office space, only to find out that every space was much smaller (and more expensive) than my nice sunroom setup. I then came across the space I’m in now, right next to Essence of Coffee. I looked through the window, knowing it was far too big and far too expensive to just be an office space, but I just had to call the landlord. I didn’t really have a plan, I look back now and honestly can’t believe how gutsy I was. I signed the lease on a storefront with absolutely no idea on how I was going to pay the rent every month! I had a full time job so I didn’t know when I would even be able to work at my store. I didn’t have any fixtures other than a few racks of clothes, and yet I had rent due so I knew I had to make this store shop-able. With the help of my parents, we managed to build and setup the entire store in a matter of 3 weeks, using just our non-working hours at our full time jobs.
Somehow I managed to maintain a full time job and my store for a couple months, but my store wasn’t open often enough, and I knew that was hurting business along with my sanity, so I went part time at my other job. I opened up shop for a couple more days out of the week and I thought that would work, until it didn’t. I would run over to my store on my lunch breaks to sell clothes, then race back to my day job! For weeks I was so stressed out that I didn’t eat and barely slept. So as hard as it was for me, I had to quit that other job. It was honestly such a good job, it was fun, it was creative, and I loved everyone I worked with, but I had to make a decision and my store had to come first.
I can honestly say I’ve never had a day where I regret being totally self employed. I wouldn’t trade it and I don’t know if I could ever go back to working for someone else. There are parts that aren’t the greatest, like not having insurance and not getting paid a set amount every other week, but having my own business trumps all of that in the end.
After three years, S & Co. has come a long way, but it has so much farther to go.
Thanks for reading 🙂