Three. Years. In. Business.
Can you believe it? We surely can't. It seems like yesterday we were filming this video on the rooftop of the main library in Baton Rouge, LA talking about lessons learned after one year in business. Then, in the blink of an eye, we were sharing our excitement with you about #SoSisIRL and opening our very first storefront after two years in business.
Year three has been life changing, challenging and oh so amazing. Opening our first storefront has been nothing short of incredible. We've learned so many lessons (some harder than others) that we apply to our day-to-day routines and continue to use our story to inspire other female entrepreneurs every step of our journey.
Can we be real with you sistas for a minute? We are really proud of ourselves. It's ok to say that (females don't say it enough). We are proud to own and operate a storefront and online shop while continuing to manage two (sometimes three or four) other jobs along the way. We are proud of the team we've built at SoSis and would like to think we are pretty cool girl bosses. We are proud of the trust we've built with each other and how we've learned to work together as business partners while still loving and caring about one another as a sister - a best friend. We have a LONG way to go, but honestly, we want to relish in this moment right now and just be real. We are proud.
Two sisters, two different perspectives
Annie Claire reflects on three years
Chelsey and I have our own passions that contribute to our business, no doubt. She focuses on shopsosis.com and executing our marketing plan - from social media management and video creation to email communication and in-store promotions. While I handle all merchandising needs for the store - from vendor relations and buying trips to LYLAS Box styling and of course Annie Claire Designs making :). Sometimes, we cross over into the other's SoSis world and we've learned that sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn't.
I may have social media ideas where it's really Chelsey's forte'. I must admit (if I do say so myself) I'm pretty good about coming up with ideas and sharing them with her to actually execute. Thank goodness she is darn good at what she does! She just gets me and my crazy ideas. Most of the time, she adds her own take on it and together we produce what you actually see from SoSis online.
On the other hand, Chelsey sometimes makes suggestions on new merchandise we should buy. In fact, she is all about finding something new and exciting, rather than re-stocking the same ole' things. I have learned from her to not get stuck in a rut and use our beloved budget on something we already had in stock. After all, we are a specialty boutique and one of the main reasons people shop with us is because they won't find what we have anywhere else.
We just work.
After three years in business, we are starting to hear from our customers and their reviews make our hearts full. Here are some of my faves:
"This boutique is a little gem in Port Allen." Yes, yes, I have to agree with you on that one ;)
"Adorable store with very cute clothes and jewelry! Annie Claire was super helpful with finding a perfect dress for me at the last minute!!" Well, what can I say? :P
"Love my LYLAS box !!!! I rarely send anything back. My SoSis girls know my body type and send me items that usually work perfectly for me. I look forward to getting my box every month..." To the sistas that don't get to shop in real life often, THANK YOU for signing up for our LYLAS Box subscription! It's so fun getting to style these boxes.
"So nice to have another boutique on this side of the river! The owners are such sweethearts and so far I've enjoyed my time there. I'll be back soon!" Westside is the best side, baby!
"Beautiful stylish clothing and elegant well designed jewelry. Fun, friendly, and welcoming." We couldn't agree more ;)
After my boast fest, I should probably take a bite of humble pie and THANK YOU for sticking by our side the past three years. It means the world to us to have loyal customers who we can relate to. We hope you always enjoy your shopping experience with us, whether online or in person, and come back often.
Cheers to three years with many more to come!
Focusing on what matters most
Chelsey reflects on three years
When we opened #SoSisIRL last November, it really changed everything for me. In July of last year, I chose to step away from my full-time position at a local marketing agency to focus on our SoSis storefront and start my own marketing consulting business. Little did I know the challenges and road bumps I would experience along the way. Turns out starting a new business while drastically expanding a current one is no easy feat.
I now have six consistent clients that I work with on a day-to-day basis handling their social media accounts, websites and public relations all while learning invaluable lessons from local small businesses I respect and admire. That alongside SoSis puts me in a pretty incredible situation where I get to truly do what I love.
I think SoSis' third year will go down in Annie Claire and I's lives as one of possibly the most challenging. Through our store buildout, we had to learn how to be a contractor, an electrician, a city inspector, a carpenter - the list goes on. As you know, all of these positions are primarily held by males. Well, we put on our best work boots and dealt with it, sistas. That may be what I'm most proud of in year three - Annie Claire and I's ability to face the "oh that's cute, you're opening a boutique with your sister" stereotype and turn it on it's side.
Throughout this year, we've worked hard to gain the respect of so many different industries that started off thinking we were just two young girls opening a store - how fun right? Of course it's fun - we wouldn't be doing this if it weren't. But it's also just like any other business in many ways. We have budget restraints we must work within. We have monthly goals we MUST meet. We have employees we must manage and cultivate. We have a relationship with each other we must foster so it can thrive. We are serious business, sistas. Don't believe us? You should see our break-even analysis :).
Biggest thanks to YOU for getting us here. Every order, every walk-in, every comment means the world to us and we simply wouldn't be going into year four without you. Wish I could give you a big ole' hug through the screen!
Shop our looks:
What Annie Claire is wearing: She Blossoms Floral Dress: $52 | In for the Ride Vegan Leather Jacket (black): $64 | Barnes Open Toe Bootie by Qupid: $32 | Minnie Necklace: $32 | Blakely Earrings: $24 | Liquid Lipstick by Kismet Cosmetics
What Chelsey is wearing: Well Stripe Me Metallic Oversized Shirt: $36 | Over-the-Bump Maternity Jeans :) | Don't Blush Necklace: $42 | Call Me Pearl Black Velvet Sneakers: $58 | Liquid Lipstick by Kismet: $22