Full Name: Wendy Bedrosian
Company/Business: Chic Boutique
Year Founded: 2007
Tell us about your business: Chic Boutique is all about high quality and unique handmade items for kids (and adults, too!). We try to keep growing kids in mind with the designs we carry, because these days, girls become “tweeners” at about the age of 8! Most web sites with handmade children’s clothing and accessories are geared mostly toward girls and we try to be sure we have plenty for the boys in the house, too, with Big-kid themes like sports and surfing.
What inspired you to start your business? Hands down, my kids are my inspiration. And, they and their friends tell me what they like and don’t, so I have a large panel of critics at the ready! My youngest son is the one who enjoys getting new designs more than anyone and loved his Halloween shirts! But, the business combined my love of crafts and sewing, which I learned as a child, and my children, who are my world! That’s all the inspiration I need!
What has been your biggest challenge in your business and how have you dealt with it? The biggest challenge was getting the website up and running. The first web designer I hired was dishonest and left the project unfinished. I was not sure if I’d find someone else to pick up where she left off or if I’d have to start over. Luckily, I did not have to start over, but jumpstarting it after that was challenging and frustrating. Secondly, now that the webite is up, getting traffic to the site is the biggest challenge. Word of mouth advertising has been easy, because I exhibit at shows and make sure many of my products go to friends as birthday gifts, etc. But, we’re still trying to find ways to drive traffic to the site and be sure that it appears in web searches without paying for it.
Share one business goal you for your business: My goal is to increase the web site traffic over the next year so that the web site revenue outpaces craft show revenue.
What would you say contributes to your success? The quality of my product and the prices. I have tried very hard to keep prices reasonable, even though the pieces I make are very time consuming (a tee shirt or jacket could take 2 hours to complete). But, I don’t want people to pass on the product because it cost $5 too much.
What is your favorite tool or resource you use for your business? The Internet! It is where I find great digitizers who make the Digital files I used to stitch out designs and other sources for my products. I spend a lot of time on the Internet. Facebook has been a wonderful way to announce new designs and products to customers, too.
What advice would you like to offer other women/moms who are thinking about starting a business? Design your business around a core product first and let it grow from there. You can’t offer the moon and the stars when you open your doors or web site. Do one or two things and do them well and build from there. In our case, the denim jackets were our core product and we offered a few other things. And, we grew from there.