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.