Today’s source of inspiration is the wonderful Beth Minyard, a founder of The Flannel Fox Boutique, based in Bainbridge Island, Washington.
Her love for fashion inspired her to start an online boutique for women’s clothing and accessories. The clothing is all made in the USA as Beth believes in sourcing locally and supporting jobs in the US.
Even though she had zero experience in business and retail, she managed to build a successful online boutique and has great plans for the future.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND THE BUSINESS YOU STARTED.
I am a 30-something woman living near Seattle, Washington. My background is mostly in the legal field as a secretary, admin assistant, and other various roles. I ended up having to leave the job due to health issues. I needed something to occupy my time and my mind to keep me sane while not working.
I started as a rep for a direct sale clothing company but it wasn’t a good fit for me. I resigned with that company and started The Flannel Fox. It was the best decision I could have made. I have SO much fun and have built amazing relationships with my customers.
WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE AND HOW DO YOU STAY PRODUCTIVE?
My typical day is spending A LOT of time on social media. Most of my sales run through my Facebook group so I spend time planning content for that and my business page. I pack and ship packages in the morning and deliver packages to the post office mid-morning. I spend time throughout the day communicating with my customers, ordering inventory and supplies.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
PLEASE DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF LAUNCHING YOUR BUSINESS.
I was able to sell off the inventory from my direct sale company to buy inventory for my new boutique so thankfully I wasn’t in debt from the start. I probably started with around $1,000.
It took me a lot of time to come up with my business name! I eventually landed on The Flannel Fox. I wanted to tie in something that had to do with Washington State, flannel came to mind! Plus, my style is comfy and casual and there’s nothing more comfy than flannel.
I’ve been in this business by myself but my mom helps me out a lot!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT AND YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE SINCE YOU STARTED YOUR BUSINESS?
Biggest Achievement: I think my biggest achievement is just learning how to do all of this with absolutely NO experience. I’ve had to go through a lot of trial and error learning all the ins and outs, especially on the business side of it (like taxes!). I’ve never even worked in a retail environment. It’s been a struggle, but it’s been so fun at the same time. It’s given me a lot of confidence in myself.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge I’ve had is learning social media marketing. It’s very hard to get yourself out there and learn what works and what doesn’t when it comes to getting your business seen. It’s still a struggle that I deal with every day.
WHAT STRATEGY DID YOU USE TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS? AND HOW?
I’ve been able to grow my business mostly through advertising my group on local Facebook groups, word of mouth and friends and family. I’m still in the growth phase and expect to get bigger over the next year. I’ve hired a Social Media coach to help me with this.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS?
I would love for my business to continue to grow organically. I made myself a goal to double the members in my Facebook group over 2020. I have a monthly number that I have in mind for sales and would love to get to the point where I’m consistently meeting that number or exceeding it. Hiring the social media coach should help with that!
RECOMMENDATIONS & FINAL THOUGHTS
PLEASE RECOMMEND ANY RESOURCES AND TOOLS THAT YOU USE TO RUN YOUR BUSINESS.
I love using Shopify for my e-commerce platform. I don’t get a lot of traffic because most of my sales happen through my Facebook group but it’s an excellent way to keep track of my inventory, and an easy way to tell people to look for me.
I focus primarily on Facebook but am looking to get more into Instagram over the next few months. I couldn’t live without Facebook Messenger! I communicate with so many of my customers through that.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER WOMEN WHO WANT TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
Just take the leap! It’s not worth not taking the risk.
It may pay off big, it may not but you won’t wonder.
Welcome to the Biz Ladies interview series!
If you’re new to these series, I interview women entrepreneurs on how they started their business, what was the idea behind it, how they got where they are, the struggles, the reality and more.
By sharing their stories, we want to inspire other women to get started.
If you are interested to share your own story on the Biz Ladies LET ME KNOW!