Saturday, 21 May 2016

My First Two Years of Business

As you can expect (or maybe not?!) The first two years of owning my business I worked upwards of 57 hours a week, 7 days a week. My first day off was 4 months after opening my store. PHEW!
What some may think, is that owning your own business allows you to have employees work for you any day you want! While that may come in the future, it certainly doesn't happen in the first year, and for me it is only starting to happen now into my third year.
My husband is very handy and does most of the work around my store. He helps make my visions come to life!
First of all finding a passionate employee that you can trust is seriously the hardest part of owning a business, even harder when you are only looking for someone to work 5 hours a week. When you start a new business, you can expect to be in the store 90-100% of the open hours, you usually haven't built a huge clientele yet so the funds coming in pay for your merchandise restock, rent, utilities etc. You are lucky if you are able to hire an employee to work more then 5 hours a week. I would rather that money stay in my business or be in my own pockets!
57 hours, 7 days a week really eats at you though and sometimes you need to do whats best for your body and sanity, for me I really needed to start taking 1 day off a week.
On went the search for an employee! Most people that applied for the job wanted full time or 15+ hours which was not doable for me.
Side note: Did you know an employer add on monster jobs costs $500+?! That was totally off my scale of happening at that moment.

I decided to ask friends and family if they knew anyone looking to work 1 day a week. I managed to have a friend who knew someone and she worked out perfectly. She was mature, hard working, good with customers and only wanted to work Sundays! YESss!

One of the first bras I took home with me, Marlies Dekkers! I still have it, wear it, LOVE IT!
Building a bookshelf in the background for my office, my husband doesn't do all of the handy work ;)

Then came the "BEST" part of hiring, TRAINING!

This was my first time training an employee in my store and the only thing she knew about lingerie was that she wore it and could never find a size to fit her! There was no hand book to follow, just my personal expertise. But being the owner you really take pride in your store and nothing gets missed. You want that employee to represent your store the way you do and treat your customers with the utmost respect and gratitude. You will never find anyone as passionate about your business as you are, but are damn lucky if you find someone who really cares about you and your business. ( I am proud to say I now have a fantastic team. It has taken me 3 years to build it, but my staff are AMAZING, fantastic... seriously amazing! )
For the first summer I took Sundays off from June - September. Then I closed Sundays through September-February so I no longer had an employee until the following summer (my second summer) when I hired two new employees and now took 1-2 days off a week. YAHOO!
Winter Hours: 50 hours, 6 days a week (just myself working the first 2 winters). A little break!
The first couple years I really pushed myself hard so I could kept putting the extra money back into my business instead of paying anyone else. I didn't spend much on advertising, I mainly used social media as my advertising tool which was (and still is!) big for us. We use the free events that go on in our downtown as a huge leverage, they are always super busy. The sound of music festival closes down our street and there are concerts going on directly in front of our store. So needless to say, we get a lot of foot traffic! We always have good window displays to draw attention, and also get involved in community fashion shows.

*Some advice to anyone who is a new business or planning on opening a business, understand that there are slow days, even for accomplished retail stores. Use those days wisely and update your social media and online presence. Its a free tool that every small business should take advantage of.

XOXO Brenna Finucan
Happily ever after, one of our bridal social media posts

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