Episode 25: Elyse Marie Welcher of Parliament the Boutique
Today I'm speaking with Elyse Marie Welcher owner of Parliament the Boutique and Littlewings designs both based in Grand Rapids, MI. I was super excited (and flattered) when Elyse reached out to me to be part of the podcast because she's pretty badass. Our conversation didn't disappoint (like they ever do). Elyse offered up a ton of advice and wisdom surrounding running a brick and mortar and on being a working maker. I know you're going to love this episode.
We talk about:
- Using past job experiences to your benefit when starting your business.
- How to know that a particular project needs to come to an end AND how to be prepared for the finality of ending a project.
- How to structure your business in a way that allows you to grow other businesses or projects.
- Working with your spouse and best friend and making the business a collective effort.
- Harnessing the talents of people in your life to learn what you don't know.
- How to grow your product business if you don't want to go to trade shows.
- Trying, tweaking and thinking outside the box when it comes to your social, advertising and marketing.
- Getting really and truly dialed in to your dream customers.
- Establishing archetypes of your customers to build the right kinds of marketing for your business (or multiple businesses).
There were lots of "aha" moments in this episode, but the biggest standout to me came at the very end of our chat. When I asked Elyse to offer a piece of advice to other brick and mortar business owners she responded that we all need to give our fellow shop owners the room to say no to collaborations that don't work for their business. I think it resonated with me so heavily because I've been trying to juggle a lot of requests for summer events lately and while I want to be open to these connections, sometime they just don't make sense.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't approach others with ideas for collabs nor should we be saying no to every opportunity, but we need to give good thought to what collaborations actually make sense for BOTH parties involved. When you're looking to work with a business, think about what you're bringing to them in terms of exposure, financial gain or customer retention. And when you're approached, take the time to flesh out what it will bring to your business. Don't do it just to be nice (my biggest hurdle!!!). Ultimately when we give space to others, we create space for ourselves and our own businesses. I needed to hear this! As always, thanks for listening. I'm always grateful.
Find more from Elyse and her colleagues here:
Parliament the Boutique
Harbinger Leather Designs
Academy of Handmade Artists and Supporters
This week I had a coffee date with one the founders of Brass Clothing, Jay Adams. We had connected a while ago and reconnected this week over iced coffees. I realized just how important it is to make the time to connect with women that we admire and feel comfortable getting vulnerable with. It's also such a rush to offer advice yourself-at least for me-it gives me a boost of confidence when I'm able to brainstorm with someone about their business. Learning and sharing are what keep me engaged not only with others but with my businesses. Later, as I reflected on my day, I realized just how important it is for me to make time for these types of meetings and connections as a way to keep me focused and inspired. If you're feeling stretched thin or unmoored, shoot an email off to a business friend. It might be just the thing you need to find that second wind. Now who wants to have coffee?