I have been writing this blog for the past year and it has been so much fun. I started it because I just wanted to improve my writing skills and as a creative outlet, but I’ve really grown to love doing this! Lately I have been thinking about what direction I wanted to take with it in this upcoming year. (Spoiler: there is a lot I want to do!) One thing I would love to do is to promote a local business every month! A sort of highlight of an individual and their shop.
You could definitely say I have a soft spot for local businesses. My first ever “real” job, I mean like more than pulling the neighbor’s weeds and babysitting, was at a local business, Sparkling Tiara. Then I moved on to Billy Goat Coffee Cafe, a locally owned and operated coffee shop. If you know me or have been following for some time, you know that was a little over a five year affair! Overlapping that time I also worked for a few other assorted local businesses. I think the fact that (besides six hours a week for two months when my second job was at Justice) I have worked exclusively at local businesses gives me a unique perspective. I have seen the hardships and challenges, I have felt the family ties of small shops, and I have experienced the behind the scenes of these businesses. I know how much each purchase is valued.
I want to help foster support for these hardworking individuals. I am a proud small business supporter and I want to help others to embrace it as well! So stick with me as I feel out the details, but for now I am so excited to introduce my new, monthly segment- my Local Business Spotlight. Today I am starting with a new find, a precious store called Zoë & Hadlee. A sweet acquaintance, Ali, is the owner and creator of this locally run shop. I asked her a few questions about her store and the realities of running a small business. Here is what she had to say.
For someone who has never experienced your shop before, how would you describe your product? “In our family when you buy someone a gift we call it a happy. I wanted to create a line of gifts of some of our favorite “Happies” in hopes that others would be blessed by it as much as we are. We offer home decor and customized products such as Shirts and coffee mugs. We love to take old vintage items and fix them up. For example, old pictures frames that we paint and distress to give them a new look.”
What makes your products/services stick out from other providers in your area? “We try to make many of our items unique so that that each time you shop with us you find something custom or new.”
What was your inspiration to start your own business? Why did you specifically choose to do what you do? “Zoë & Hadlee are the names of my two beautiful girls who were my inspiration for the business. They are so fun and full of life- and I wanted that to reflect in our business. It all started really as just a hobby, but grew to more pretty quickly. I had been praying for a while to have something that I could do on the side and things just kind of fell into place.”
What was our number one, greatest challenge to getting started? “The greatest challenge for me was just getting started and getting all the equipment I needed. But God is so good and He provided it all. When people got wind of what I wanted to do all the sudden I had people giving me the tools and materials I needed to get started or selling what they had for little to nothing. Before I knew it I had all the equipment needed to get my feet off the ground.”
What gave you the courage to take the leap and start this shop? “The encouragement and support of my family and my faith is truly what gave me the courage to get started. ”
Why is it important for people to support local business? “When you support a local business you are supporting a dream. It is so important to support each other and help other small businesses! ”
What do you think is a misconception people have when it comes to shopping local vs. shopping corporate? “I think people tend to go more corporate just because of convenience, but in my opinion you tend to find better quality and experiences when you shop small business.”
If you could accomplish one major goal in 2018, what would it be? “My goal would be to have business steady enough that I could stay home more and have Zoë & Hadlee as my main business instead of my secondary business. ”
What is your top piece of advice for someone with a dream of owning a local business? “My top piece of advice would be not to give up. Building a business has its up and downs, but if you love it and you work hard at it you will see the fruit of your labors. Just have the faith!”
Here are a few samples of the precious items that you can purchase from Zoë & Hadlee! I hope you enjoy. The coffee mugs are my favorite- and a great holiday gift.