A memory- Wow. I can’t believe this journey started 4 years ago. This is my VERY first set up / booth. I’d just started my business and a scared first time vendor at the USCCA concealed carry expo in my home town.
I remember thinking what am I going to do if my clothes come! My samples had to be shipped overnight, and grateful they made it!😅 I was warmly greeted by the neighboring vendors, given much needed assistance, advice and well wishes. Of course, I also got a lot of interesting looks as to why a “Women’s Boutique” 👗👚was at this trade show for self defense. Well, for me, that was exactly the point! It was my purpose.
I was a gun newbie and SO frustrated in trying to dress around my firearm and concealed carry. I couldn’t believe the words that came out of my mouth – I really had nothing to wear! I knew with the amount of frustration I was experiencing, I couldn’t be alone in this silent struggle to dress fashionably and be armed.
So, being called a “Women’s Boutique” was the bomb… along with the sales! That was the best feeling to be able to help other women to live this lifestyle; confidently, and well, be armed and incognito!
What about that “Behind the scenes” Part? Honestly, a lot of cussing and tears.
Then I found organizations like the SBA (Small Business Association) and some coaches.
It’s been a long journey working full time and starting a clothing line by yourself on a side hustle. I had no idea what was a head of me… if I had, I’d been too afraid to start!
There’s so many facets to creating a garment – who knew?! You just go to the Mall or boutique and search to you find something you like. But, what if you can create it? Can you say how do I start and oh, it’s overwhelming.
Learning how to source fabrics and where, finding industry experts like a pattern maker, learning the industry vocabulary like having tech packs, and ultimately the key to getting clothing made is finding and working with a manufacturer (in the USA). And then, finding a factory willing to work with a new designer/company, my small quantities and I believe the type of clothing I was designing was a touchy subject for some.
And that’s just for making the clothes – then there’s the marketing conglomerate… designing a website and the web platform and a check out process. Decisions have to be made about the overall look, what colors to pick and why, coming up with a logo and a design, and the legal side such as trademarks, business licenses, tax numbers, and the like.
Then you shout from the roof tops to get the word out. Well, you turn to internet and the social medial world to market yourself and your business. Email marketing and blogging – oh my!
I want to encourage you if you’re thinking of a business. Stop trying to make it perfect and just start walking. I still don’t have it all figured out but if I waited, I wouldn’t have been able to help so many women to have the courage and confidence to carry their firearm so they can protect themselves and save lives. After all, helping others and having them looking great is what’s matters.
Thank you to all my wonderful customers! I love working with you at these shows! Thank you to the industry folks and trainers, I’ve meet over these past few years. Thank you for your support, encouragement, and accepting a new concept to dressing around a firearm.
No matter what the industry is, there are a lot of players, but there’s only one you and you have a unique gift and voice. It’s baby steps – Just keep walking! You’ll walk into success.