4 Tips To Have A Successful Start-up
Updated: Nov 2, 2018
I am so excited to introduce you to Felicia Kiesel for this LAST edition of our Dreamcatcher series! She is the owner of Boomerang Boutique, creator of a widely popular t-shirt line, Felicia Tees, and is one of the most fun people to be around EVER. Thanks for joining us in this series, and I hope that at least one of these women has resonated with you! Stay tuned for other guest posts meant to inspire you along your journey!
Hi readers! My name is Felicia Kiesel and I am the owner of Boomerang Boutique in Indianapolis, Indiana. I came up with the name Boomerang because "Style Always Comes Back Around”. Boomerang is a fun eclectic mix of clothes, accessories, and home décor from handmade and local artists as well as designers from around the country. I have a cute 500 square foot store front on a busy avenue in Indianapolis with other local shops and restaurants. I also have an online shop, a t-shirt line I design and sell in store–as well as wholesale out to other shops–and a boutique on wheels. I converted an old 1963 Holiday Rambler Camping Trailer into a mini boutique on wheels. It’s been fun to take the trailer around to different events and festivals around the city and spread the word about my shop as well as make new friends in the process! This year, I plan on starting at-home parties where ladies can schedule the trailer to come to their home with a group of girlfriends for an exclusive shopping experience.
Owning my own shop has been a dream of mine for a very long time. I had been dreaming about it, pinning things on Pinterest, and making an idea binder for years. I have always had an entrepreneur mindset since I was a kid starting my own lawn mowing “company". The truth is, I only completed one year of college. I had great grades, but just couldn’t justify sitting in a classroom at the time when I could be out making money. I had different odd jobs in my 20’s that gave me good experience for owning a shop–from customer service to learning the business side of things. The job I left right before I opened my own shop was a nice job with good people, but I was not happy. I was sitting at a desk everyday and not using my creative energy or entrepreneurial skills. After four years at that job, I just became miserable, and thinking about opening my own shop laid heavier and heavier on my heart everyday. I was sitting at my desk one summer day in 2013, and finally decided it was time to stop dreaming and start doing.
My dad told me “you will never know until you try, and if it doesn’t work… oh well! You tried and you’ll go do something else.” And he was right. Why not follow my dreams? It was a risk I was willing to take. Just a few months later, I was in my current retail space. It all happened very fast and it was definitely a God thing. Everything fell into place way quicker and easier than I ever thought it would. I had no retail experience or experience owning my own store, but with a lot of Googling and reaching out to other shop owners, I learned a lot in the first year.
It has been five years now, and the store continues to grow more and more. I’m not going to lie. It is really hard at times. When you own your own business, you are responsible for everything. And when owning a shop that includes everything from social media, buying, merchandising, hiring employees, customer service, and the list goes on and on, a paycheck is not guaranteed. When you’re doing your own thing, you have to work very hard to ensure that you have enough money coming in to run the shop, as well as live on. Thankfully, I have been blessed to be able to continue to do this.
To keep myself motivated, I have made connections and friendships with other store owners in the community. I think it’s really important for us to work together and share ideas. Of course we don’t want to all do the exact same things, but it’s nice to bounce ideas off each other and even to just vent with someone who understands.
Family and friends have been really crucial for me as well. Having a good support system is key to keep your sanity when you are working such long hours. Also, getting involved in the community whether it be with a non-profit or a local school. I volunteer my time on a few different boards that not only help me to get involved and help others in need but it’s great to network.
I love empowering other women to chase their dreams and I do that by talking to classrooms and also by mentoring others looking to start their own business. I also suggest lots of tacos and
Coca-Cola to keep going when times seem tough!
To sum up my suggestions for a successful start-up, I'll share these four points.
Get A Good Location – You always hear people say “location, location, location”! And it’s so true. I found a great location in an older building on the most desirable avenue in the city. Getting into an older building there are issues with the building but I’ll take those issues for a lower monthly rent. Having the lower rent as opposed to the newer building right next door has helped me save money and use that money in other areas of the business. Being in a spot with other shops and restaurants around has benefited me because that means more people are out walking around and stumbling into my store that might not know that I’m there. Walking traffic has been huge for my success.
Involve The Community – Involving the community in your business is a benefit for everyone. I sell over 60 local artists' creations in my store, as well as host weekly sidewalk events in the summer. I will have an artist or organization setup outside my shop to share their story and sell their merchandise. They will advertise the event and their network will come to the store, and maybe even follow my social media accounts. It’s a benefit for the artists and myself to grow our followings.
Use Your Money Wisely – When you start your own thing, money is definitely going to be tight for awhile. But if you are smart about it, being frugal will benefit you in the long run. Everything from gradually adding systems or products into your store–instead of all at once–and even working a lot of long hours yourself instead of putting so much money into payroll for employees can really help. The one thing I wish I would have done differently and splurged on initially is an inventory system. I waited until year 2 for that, doing everything by hand, and I should of bought that up-front. The transition from my hand-written system to the POS system wasn’t bad, but it would have been a lot easier to start with everything digitally.
Take Time For Yourself – Treat yourself to a weekend get away if you can, or even just turn your phone off at a certain time at night! Those emails and messages will be there in the morning and it won’t make a difference if you answer them immediately or wait until the next work day. Sometimes we just need to turn things off to read a book, watch your favorite show, or play board games with friends. Don’t forget to enjoy your life while you are chasing your dream!
I truly love owning Boomerang, finding artists to carry in-store, and just being apart of the community. Having your own business is rewarding in so many ways, and there are many resources out there to make sure you are a successful. Be smart, have fun, and Carpe Diem!
Felicia Kiesel, Owner
@BoomerangBTQ – Insta/Twitter