Ever since I was younger I knew that I wanted to own my own business, particularly a boutique. I was always told that “you can’t just start your own business right out of college, you need a real job first.” Maybe if I didn’t have the help of my mom starting my business that would be true. However, after almost a year of setting up and running a business, I have to disagree with this. Owning your own business is SO much work but you can literally do ANYTHING you set your mind to even if you were to have little money or help. So how did this all start? How did Vogue Society Boutique come about?
I knew I wanted to be in the business of “buying” for any type of clothing store for a while, so I chose Marketing as my Major at Penn State. During my senior year, my mom, who has been in the corporate world for 20+ years knew she needed a change and wanted to start her own business. Although I already was lucky enough to have a full time job set up for me after graduation, I knew in my heart that if my mom wanted to start a business with me, I would choose that over anything because it was my dream as well. Throughout my senior year at Penn State, we actually looked at buying some pre existing boutiques that were for sale. Particularly, we were looking in Florida because I have always wanted to move there. I figured if we were going after our dreams here, I might as well go all the way!!
Throughout that year, we looked at a ton of different options, honestly even some other type of businesses that we were into as well. In the end, we ended up choosing the thing that we knew we had always been passionate about and that was owning a boutique. Very long story short, we chose to move to Jacksonville, FL to open our boutique in June 2017.
In the beginning, we had our hearts set on having a physical store location but we decided to start online to get things rolling until we found the perfect location. We launched our official website, voguesocietyboutique.com on July 15, 2017 at noon and I will literally never forget the excitement as those orders rolled in and we packed them up in our home office.
We started doing a ton of “pop-up”/ vendor events and met a lot of people in the area.
Between the months of June and November, we searched for the perfect retail location in Jacksonville while growing our online business. We also came to three important realizations during those months that really impacted our lives and business and made it where it is today.
#1: We realized that we should back off looking for a retail location for the time being. Although this was the plan in the beginning, we began loving the online side of things and realized how big it could potentially grow if we just focused on our website and loyal online shoppers!
#2: As we were making the decision to move to Jacksonville, FL, my boyfriend (of like, 10 years, Cody) got a job offer in Sarasota, FL. At the time, I didn’t think this would be a huge deal. We had a long distance relationship for the past 5 years when we were in college and we’d only be like 4 hours away from each other. However, it turns out we were so sick of doing the long distance thing. Not only that, but I was driving 8+ hours there and back a few times per month to go see him. When you are starting and growing a business, 8+ hours of driving is an extremely large chunk of time to lose! My mom and I were living together in Jacksonville, FL with our two dogs. The reasons for moving to Jacksonville specifically were no longer relevant and although I loved it there, it made more sense to move to Sarasota to be closer with him. So in January 2018, my mom, Barkley, Jackson and I moved to Sarasota. Yes, me, my mom and my boyfriend all live together. No, it isn’t weird. Yes, we run our business from our house as well. Yes, it is hectic at times.
#3: Since we were no longer planning to have a retail location any time soon, we knew we still needed to do our “pop-up” shops at events like we had been doing. However, these were SO much work because transporting all of our merchandise along with a check-out counter, a table, a dressing room, and 5 racks in two small Nissans took many trips back & forth, and lots of energy each time we did an event. Around this same time, I discovered mobile retail. I am from a small town in cold Pennsylvania where this type of thing is almost unheard of but it is becoming a lot more popular especially in warmer climates like Florida! Basically, you convert a truck or trailer into a boutique inside, the same type of concept as a food truck–except less greasy, lol! Our mobile boutique story is for a WHOLE different blog post. But long story short, we purchased a trailer and we are in the process of turning it into a mobile boutique, which should be completed this summer! So exciting!!
So, now Vogue Society Boutique is really taking off. Owning a business is much more work than I ever imagined it to be. But it is also the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life, and I am not even a year into it yet! Here is a timeline of how our logo has grown over the past year- so cool to see the evolution- don’t worry we are sticking to this one!
My mom and I run this boutique full time and do everything from buy our clothes, inspect the merchandise for quality assurance, steam, tag, enter products into our website, I model all of our clothes, my mom photographs everything, edit photos, post on social media, send out e-mails, vendor relations, and a ton of financial tasks (my mom has the math brain)!
We really try and find the cutest pieces possible at an affordable price. Vogue Society is for that girl in her 20’s or 30’s who wants to wear Insta-worthy outfits while feeling comfy because she’s got things to DO!
Do what you love. Love what you wear.