It’s a scary thing to take a risk and go into business for yourself, but nothing could be more rewarding than following your dreams and getting to do what you are truly passionate about– and make a living at it to boot! I’ve decided to start a monthly series profiling some of these incredible entrepreneurs to find out what made them finally take that leap of faith and “go for it,” what they’ve learned along the way, and what are their hopes for the future. I think we can all find inspiration in their stories.
For the inaugural edition, I’m interviewing Aubrey Cash, founder and owner of Ladyfish Boutique, which has the mission to help women “dress as unique as they feel.” Aubrey and I worked together at my first job in Houston years ago, but didn’t keep in touch outside of social media. However, a few months ago I began to notice her posting photos showing the process of launching Ladyfish and I instantly fell in love with her style and clothes. As soon as the site went live I made a purchase!
Aubrey was gracious enough to share some insight into what it takes to start your own business on the side as well as balancing work (both outside the home and with her company) and motherhood. It’s great advice from a really smart and stylish lady!
Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us Aubrey! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business. When did you start?
I’ve always wanted to own my own boutique ever since I was a little girl! Well, college and life happened so dreams got put on the back burner, but it was always on my mind! So one day I claimed my name and a year later I stopped procrastinating, out of fear that it wouldn’t work out, and bought some inventory! Ever since then I have felt like a huge brick has been lifted off of my shoulders; finally, dream accomplished (online, not a storefront…yet…but accomplished). With a baby, a full time career, and a marriage, I think a lot of people didn’t think I’d ever really go for it (who’s got time for that?!), but I did! Crazy where a little dream chasin’ will get you! I have big plans for this dream of mine, and other goals are in the works too 😉
What was (or is) you career before you started your own company?
Right out of college I was hired to do sales for an oil and gas company. I am VERY fortunate to have this job and still have it! It was nothing I ever asprired to do by any means, but I enjoy it and I love the people I work for. Even though I feel overwhelmed at times, knowing how blessed I am to have my career and my business makes me feel so much better. I have been asked numerous times how I fit it all in and I don’t really have an answer; I just make it work because I WANT to make it work! My lunch breaks and my evenings (after dinner has been made, time has been spent with my family, and the baby is asleep) are full of LFB duties; I love it!
What made you decide to go into business for yourself?
My family is full of business owners; it’s all I’ve known growing up and I always knew I wanted to OWN something and be my own boss. I saw the stress, learned from it, and now that I own a business, I try to avoid the triggers that can cause the stress. I don’t ever want to dislike what I’m doing because I feel stressed out. If that ever happens, I would seriously take a step back and see what I’m doing wrong. A little stress is good though (I think), it means I’m busy and that means I must be doing something right =) Besides all of that, I knew that I would never be satisfied if I didn’t fulfill this dream of mine! THAT one thing is what pushed me to start my business.
What steps did you take to make it happen? Was it easier or harder than you expected?
It was actually easier than I expected. I only say this because I got a lot of help from my dad on all of the state stuff (taxes, claiming my name, etc.) The “state stuff” gives me anxiety (lol). After I got all of that out of the way, the fun began! Buying inventory, coming up with a general “look” for my webpage/pictures etc. That stuff is all fun to me and I see it as art; every online boutique out there has a theme/look that I admire very much! The owners of these boutiques have done some amazing work! Even though the journey to starting my business might have been hard at times, I knew the end result would be just as I wanted, and that just made it all “easy” to me.
Any obstacles you’ve had to overcome? Any “big breaks” or surprising support from family, friends, strangers that you’ve experienced?
Well, being a mom, having a full time career, and having a marriage that I make sure to give plenty attention to, could be considered “obstacles” that could have hindered me from starting my boutique, but I didn’t allow it to. I mentally have set time for everything, all the while putting my family first! There have been days where my husband complains that I “don’t stop” and just wants me to “sit on the couch and watch tv with him”, and you know what?, I listen to that, I stop what I’m doing, and sit my butt on the couch with my husband! The work will always be there! If I just ignored my husband and child and continued to work doing what I wanted to do, then they would only demand more attention from me and I would never get anything done and they would be unhappy, therefore creating an “obstacle” for myself. This is the best way I know how to do this, and it’s working!
As far as “big breaks” go, there have been TONS! My family is AMAZING! My mother selflessly watches my son daily, what a help! I can go about my day knowing my son is safe and happy with his GiGi, and THAT is HUGE! My dad has helped me with all the “state stuff” (as mentioned before) and THAT is HUGE too; I don’t do well with anxiety lol. Besides all of that, my family is so supportive! I constantly am getting compliments and told that I’m doing a good job; that goes for miles!!! AND on top of all of that, I get emails, texts, and comments from strangers or old friends telling me how much they admire that I went for a dream, they love what I sell, they love my online site, etc. and that is SO touching! I have even receieved emails and texts from customers saying that items I am selling have made them feel pretty again and that they never would have normally purchased what they did, but because of ways I set it up, they took a chance! Those kind of responses have brought tears to my eyes; this is the only reason why I’m doing this! To make women look as gorgeous as they feel no matter their age or size! Those are what I consider to be my big breaks that help me and push me!
What are your short-term and long-term goals?
Short term = to make women feel gorgeous and just to send out an overall good vibe from my store!
Long term= I would love to have a storefront and then possibly franchise. Definitely!
What advice do you have for other moms (and dads) who are thinking about starting their own business?
Do it! BUT do NOT allow it to take over time that could be spent with your family. Yes, we all have to make some sacrifices to do what we want and know will benefit our family, but when it’s take ALL of your time from your kids/marriage then is it worth it? If its truely a dream and an aspiration of yours then do it, otherwise you will ALWAYS say “what if”. But follow dreams with a little caution when kiddos are involved.
What great perspective! I’ve watched Ladyfish’s following grow tremendously over the past few months, and it’s been very exciting and inspiring. Aubrey definitely has it together– and I love how she makes a point of keeping family her number one priority, while still giving her business the time and attention it needs. Honestly, I don’t know how she does it! I see a very successful future ahead for Aubrey and Ladyfish!
Check back next month for another profile of a business owner “making it happen!”
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