Branching out and starting something new, from scratch, is a daunting task. In the early days of building Coulee Boutique (though I still feel like I'm in the "early days"), I did a lot of research. From podcasts to books to online communities, I consumed whatever was out there. I had no one to lean on in terms of the boutique business so it was up to me to figure it out! My in-laws ran a successful meat processing plant and retail store for 40+ years, so they were my go-to's for general business advice, but nobody I talked to "got" the retail side of business I was delving into. This was new territory for me.
In my former profession as a teacher, my people were naturally built in to my day-to-day life. I had an incredible team and we really clicked. We supported each other through personal and professional struggles and wins. There was always someone there with words of encouragement and wisdom when I needed it. Along with my team, there were countless other individuals in the building and district that I grew to consider important parts of my school family. Dang do I miss these people.
Fast forward a year and a half. I'm still figuring a lot out on my own, but I've also found a great tribe of individuals that are, like me, in the trenches of entrepreneurship. Most of the women I've met are also working full-time jobs, running a household, and hustling late into the night. They are all passionate about their craft and it shows each time their face lights up as they talk about it. We meet monthly and discuss challenges in business, celebrate successes, and just be in the presence of like-minded people. Here's the crew that attended the meet-up I hosted at the shop.
The winter months can be long and feel really isolating. I encourage any of you who feel alone or lonely, hang in there. The days are getting longer, the temperatures warmer. If you ever need a friend, you'll find one at Coulee Boutique. Stop in for a free coffee and conversation. May we lift each other up.
Hey everyone! It's been a loooong while since my last blog post. In that one, I talked all about why I chose to run my business online at the beginning versus in a brick and mortar location. Fast forward nine months and Coulee Boutique is thriving in its downtown location in Galesville, WI.
Our store occupies what once was a bank, hardware store, and flooring and video rental store. There are a lot of stories behind the building we're in, and it is truly humbling to be a part of its history. When people step into the fitting room for the first time and I get to tell them it was once a bank vault, the sense of whimsy is unmistakable.
You can't help but admire the amazing mural that adorns the wall behind the checkout counter. It was just one of the many beautiful details that made choosing this space a no-brainer. Maggie Stoner, who is a former student and daughter of my landlord, was the talent behind the beautiful painting which represents the building Coulee Boutique resides in.
Not only do I get to connect with customers and share my love of clothes with my community, but I also get to show my children what dedication and hard work look like. My boys are often with me on weeknights until my husband can pick them up. When we officially got the address for the store (which is a whole other story), my 6-year-old looked up at the numbers and said, "Hey! That's our place!" My hope is that over the course of time, you feel like it is your place, too. You are welcome at Coulee Boutique at any time. <3
I've been asked many times, "Where is Coulee Boutique?" People expect a physical location to shop at, so when my response is, "It's a website!" I sense hesitation. Personally, I prefer shopping online compared to in-store. I have three young children, live out in the country, and just generally live a busy life. I don't have time to drive 30+ minutes to the nearest Target, GAP, or *gasp* outlet mall. That's why so many other entrepreneurial women get my business. I can shop in my PJs, when and where it's convenient for me, and get items that aren't in all the big box stores. Win, win, win!
By starting Coulee Boutique as an online-only boutique, I wanted to offer that same convenience to other women who may be in a similar predicament. Shopping with us allows you to purchase unique pieces that are specifically curated for our boutique. Our items are limited so you're not likely to see anyone else in the same pieces.
Shopping online is seen as a challenge because many women like being able to touch the clothing and the ability to try on various sizes. I get it, but if you utilize our size chart, it will help take some of the guesswork out for you and make choosing your appropriate size less daunting. I'm also more than happy to answer any questions you might have regarding fit. Just shoot me an e-mail! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you're not normally a boutique shopper, online shopper, or both, I'd ask that you give us a chance. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!