I love this time of year.
It starts off a little crazy with shopping and decorating and parties and family. But I always seem to get in major reflection-mode, and find peace and clarity about the year to come.
To be honest, 2015 was a little hectic. Not necessarily bad hectic, but hectic nonetheless. Specifically for the business, we went through a lot of changes, and sometimes I even cringe and think, “How in the hell did we even make it out of 2015?!” But I’ve always considered myself an adapter and pretty quick to react. For 522 Envy, 2015 was all about adapting.
The most obvious one was our name, adding “522” — that took a little getting used to! But the name was just a superficial change– it was the point where we split from our licensing agreement and became an independent boutique (yay!). While I have always been the boutique owner, my responsibilities shifted because I was no longer receiving support from my licensor. My job role changed (for the better!) and now I am in complete control of choosing inventory, deciding on sales and promotions, and creating new revenue opportunities for the business. I’d say 2015 was really when I put on my “business owner” hat.
But the biggest change of all was the online store. A lot of people don’t know this about me, but e-commerce is where my nerdy side is on FULL display!! It’s always been a personal hobby/passion of mine, but I didn’t have the opportunity to make it happen with the boutique until I became independent. So obviously, opening an online store was one of the first and most significant changes I made in 2015.
To say I have an obsession with the online store is an understatement– I have become an e-commerce junky. But the truth about the online store is that it has pushed 522 Envy into being a business I never thought possible. Beyond a local neighborhood boutique, we are connecting with our customers on a crazy cool level, meeting people from literally all over the country, and creating a foundation that is so much greater than one little boutique could have ever done.
Oh and to top off the year, I got engaged (ahhhhhh!)
So. Much. Reflection. I know.
Of course, with reflection comes planning. And, oh baby, I’m a planner. So as I’m looking at 2015 at what worked and what didn’t work, I realize where this boutique is headed: It’s headed online. In 2015, I found my real passion, and you seemed to dig it too. I mean, you’re reading this on my WEBSITE, not inside my boutique, amiright?
So here’s the major news for my Chicago customers: In 2016, we will be looking to move into a smaller storefront with more warehouse space, which would effectively make the boutique primarily online. It’s kind of shocking news to me, too, because I really thought I would own a brick and mortar boutique for like, ever. But if being a business owner has taught me anything, it’s that I have to be open to letting the business become what it is meant to become.
For instance, take this past Christmas season. I crossed my fingers that the online store would be a hit. And what did I just learn, YUP, y’all are online shoppers. I mean, JUST YESTERDAY I had a customer sit on the couch in my boutique and order something online. She was in my boutique and she placed the order on her phone. Why? Because she didn’t have her credit card and could make the sale automatically through Paypal. Crazy!!
If I’m being honest, we don’t have a new future location yet, and I want to make sure it’s the perfect fit, so I’m going to take that part slow. Chicago customers: you’ll have plenty of notice, I promise! But TBH, it shouldn’t come as that much of a change to you…because that’s how you are already shopping!
So that’s what’s up, and that’s where we are going. As my lease it set to expire in Evanston in 2016, I am going to ride this e-commerce thing out, because that’s what you’re telling me to do, and turns out, that’s completely where my passion is, too. And if I needed a 3rd reason for this super exciting change, it also makes sense for me personally (because did I mention I’m engaged??!!)
Guilty: I only mentioned my engagement again to show off that cute photo. But getting back on track:
I have said since the beginning that my goal is to make 522 Envy your absolute favorite store, and I have been so blessed to have you all cheering me on as I hopefully am getting closer to reaching that goal!! I can’t wait to see what 2016 is going to throw our way!!
P.S. If you’re not on our email list yet, I would absolutely love for you to join now! I send weekly emails with store announcements, sales, and promotions. It would be awesome to stay in touch and have you on the list!
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