Episode 42: Amanda Mitchell of Place and Gather
Today I'm speaking with Amanda Mitchell owner of the Charlestown, Massachusetts boutique, Place and Gather. Amanda is a real trooper because as you'll hear in the episode, my computer died taking with it a bunch of audio that I'd recorded before my maternity leave. Not a great experience but Amanda was incredibly gracious about the whole thing. This isn't surprising though because being a brick and mortar business owner means we've got to roll with the punches, amaright? Still, I'm hugely grateful that Amanda was willing to spend another hour talking to me about her space.
Amanda bootstrapped her brick and mortar, and she offers us tangible tips for saving money and making it through the startup process with less worry about the financials. She also shares the one thing that slowed her down during her early process, (hint: it has to do with financial planning) and how she overcame it. We chat a ton about reaching out to others, both to our colleagues and to our customers, and why just talking to people can level up our businesses in ways we can't imagine. She reminds us that we have control over our customer interactions in an authentic way and because of this one-on-one, we can provide services to people that big companies just can't. Amanda also explains why the "business model canvas" style plan ended up working better for her than a traditional business plan, mainly because this style is designed to allow you to evolve and adjust it quickly. As Amanda says, it feels more like a living document than a school paper. This is a value-packed episode and I'm grateful for Amanda's take. Enjoy the show.
We talk about:
- Making the jump from a secure position as a teacher to a riskier job working for herself.
- Why you need to spend time planning and budgeting before you start your brick and mortar.
- Identifying a need in a particular area and assessing whether or not it will translate into a profitable shop.
- Knowing neighborhood demographics when opening a space (who has the money to spend!?).
- Collecting mentors by just asking for help and tips for going about that "ask."
- Getting over our fraudy feelings around business so that we can become experts in our markets.
- Why you can't take it personally when people say no (just find the next person that's going to say yes).
- Getting what you want without being pushy.
- Ways to start early to ensure that you'll ready when space opens up.
- Why it's stupid to be afraid that someone is going to steal your idea.