Bobbie Eskdale owns and operates Bold & Brassy Boutique, an online fashion boutique that totes itself as offering \”today\’s trends with a touch of twang!\” Eskdale\’s energy and positive is infectious, and she manages to run a successful business while also being a wife, and mother to two. WHR sat down with Eskdale to discover the ins and outs of running a boutique, and the lessons she has learned along the way.
1. What made you want to start your own boutique?
I wish I could tell you all that it\’s been an idea that I\’ve had since I was a little girl. Really, the idea didn\’t show up until I was looking for my answer in my adult life. My inspiration came while driving home from my 9-5, in a rusted out ford pick up truck after a bad day at work. I was blasting Miranda Lambert on the radio. I remember saying out loud \’this isn\’t what I am meant to do\’ – I wasn\’t meant to work someone else\’s dream for the entirety of this short time here. Almost as soon as I said those words out loud the Pink Pistol [Miranda Lambert\’s Boutique] popped into my head. Immediately I got goosebumps, it was the thought that showed up that was my answer.
That was over 5 years ago now. I sat on that idea that maybe I could open my very own \”Pink Pistol\” and manifest my own, unique dream. Over the course of quite a few years, the vision and the plan changed to take my business online, to really align myself with timing and the trend of online shopping. The combination of longing for a life that is bigger than my wildest dreams for my family and the desire of wanting more in my closet than hand-me-down clothes (and passing that along to my customers) and the courage bring my vision to life is the dream that has now manifested into Bold & Brassy!
2. How did starting your own boutique all come together?
The whole coming together thing really can be summed up in one tiny saying. It was a hot mess! There really isn\’t one, single glamorous behind the scenes thing. The process didn\’t flow easily to me, haha! I officially launched Bold & Brassy online boutique on November 19, 2015. I chose this date because it is both my husband and I\’s birthday and he\’s also a huge driving force behind this dream. I really want to be his sugar mama and just take care of him, the way he has taken care of me. He works as a power line man, out in the cold. When I let him in on my vision and expressed that he was a huge part of it and one of the reasons WHY, he was totally on board. So it was in 2014 I really spent the whole year planning, researching, researching some more..basically devoting the entirety of the year to the vision and my plan.
Two years later, I don\’t have it all figured out. I imagine the moment I do have it all figured out, the business will fail. I always strive to be green and growing, not ripe & rotting. I honestly can say to bring something together, it\’s not about the \”one thing\”. It\’s about seemingly insignificant things, compounded over time that gives you results. My business is still coming together, one foot in front of the other. Day by day. The vision is what keeps growing and moving forward even though the way to get there sometimes changes.
3. What was the biggest lesson you’ve learned in opening a boutique?
The biggest lesson I\’ve learned through opening my business is it\’s not about what you do it\’s about who you become. I\’ve also learned a lot about people because the funny thing about \”lessons\” is they often show up in the form of people. One of the things I heard most about this industry before diving in was that it was tough. That it\’s \”cut throat\”. I chose to ignore that stigmatism because behind every business is a person. A person with a WHY. A person with purpose and a person with a story. The moment I allow ego to separate myself from that truth, a lesson shows up. It can show up in the form of my \”competition\” writing a not so friendly message or social media post to me, to people offering their opinion on what I should do better etc. These are all, for the most part, pretty humbling experiences and allow me to connect back with my truth. It\’s not about selling clothes, it\’s about becoming the best version of who you can be and how you can serve others through the lessons you\’ve learned.
As I continue to learn and grow and see things for what they are, the reward just keeps getting better and better. For every person out there that may have a negative nancy thing to say, there are 10 more that are rooting for you. People that love you, that support you and want to bring light and joy to what you are doing. I receive that through increased sales, people attending my pop up events, people posting great reviews, being invited to participate in events, a private message that says something really sweet etc. We are all just people doing the best we can with what we are given. The only competition we have is with ourselves so keeping connected with women who are fun, joyful and positive through fashion is seriously the best and surrounding yourself with people who elevate you and have strengths you can learn from is key!
4. What makes Bold and Brassy different than the other boutiques?
We are all selling a bunch of clothes and accessories, so we are more or less the same. The uniqueness, authenticity & character comes from the person behind the business. There are so many amazing women in this industry that totally rock and I\’m not about to put myself on a pedestal and come across like I\’m doing something better. I\’m certainly not. I strive to just be myself, keep my blinders on and do me. I find if I remain authentic, nurture the seeds I\’ve planted and be quick to change what isn\’t working for me and my business it will continue to flourish. I don\’t have time to compare my business to other businesses. I haven\’t walked a mile in their shoes, nor have they mine so I just keep moving forward and taking action to the ideas planted in my mind. I have partnered with some pretty amazing women to have brought that vision to life so I\’m going to keep doing that. My photographer is outstanding and that part totally elevates my business. My media wizard helps bring my ideas to life through her design expertise etc. I am going to just keep aligning myself with people who have skills to pay the bills! HA!
5. How do you balance being a mom and wife, with also being a boss babe business owner?
First things first, I\’m a realist. LOL Sorry, I\’m getting a little gangster. That tends to come out in me when my little mob is hanging around. I don\’t think balance exists. It doesn\’t for me anyways so please if you know of someone who REALLY does it all, send her my way, take all my money because I\’ll pay for that advice. I cry a lot. There\’s a ton of coffee and wine being drank on the regular. I don\’t sit around and watch shows because there\’s always something that I could be doing that will set me up for a more productive afternoon, week etc. My husband makes me make lists, ha! Even if I have 17 different lists.
I also received some amazing advice from a mentor and she says, do one thing every single day that will move your business forward. So instead of feeling like a failure because I didn\’t complete the 17 different lists, I can feel accomplished because I at least did one thing that day for my business. My kids are my priority but sometimes I have to choose my business over my family and friends. It\’s taken me a long time and a ton of tears to learn that that is ok. I\’m a still a great mom and wife. They know they are my why, they know why I do what I do. My kids are learning so much through my grit and commitment to my business. If my kids one day look at me and say \”Mom, because you did it and you showed me what it takes, I know I can do it too.\” it will all be worth it. My kids are 5 & 3 years old and although this time in life with them being so young can be super hard, It\’s a choice I made. I constantly have to remind myself that one day they are going to be bigger and this stage is temporary. I don\’t want to be wishing it away. If I need uninterrupted, focused time I ask for help. That\’s something I never used to do because of my independent nature and stubborn pride but it\’s helped me so much. I\’ve accepted I can\’t do it all and that\’s a-ok!
6. When you’re buying clothes for the boutique, where do you draw your inspiration from? How do you know what will “work” and what won’t?
One thing I\’m pretty good at is visualization. That has come in VERY handy with styling outfits and looks for my website. For the most part, my inspiration comes from my friends. They are the Bold & Brassy tribe. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason and when my friends and family offer up their opinions on what they think will look good, or what they\’d like to see in my online store..I listen. In the beginning, I was drawing inspiration from what I THOUGHT people would want to see. Looking for validation outside of you never works, so clearly the stuff that I purchased that wasn\’t totally me, or something I wouldn\’t wear because it\’s what I thought people would want, did sell. Now, I only buy pieces I personally would wear or my friends whose opinions I really value would wear. Basically, what works is when I\’m authentically loving up on a piece! Looking within for that validation instead of looking at my peers in this industry and what they are selling.
7. What advice would you give someone who wanted to go down a similar path of business ownership?
If I was going to offer up some advice (which I\’m totally not qualified to do hah!) it would be this; You must have grit. You must be tenacious. You have to be willing to do what other people aren\’t in order to fulfill your goals and dreams. I\’ve had people ask me for every little step along the way looking for me to give the easy answer. Looking for the \”HOW\”. It\’s not about the how. It\’s about the willingness, eagerness and the unique WHY that needs to come from within in order to make it happen.
You need to have an attitude of gratitude. Business fluctuates and when it does you need to be grateful for all the ups and downs because what is the other option!? You need to be open to creative solutions and possibilities in an effort to keep your business moving forward. This is where you need to honour your authenticity and your unique special touch that only you have.
There is also no room for ego in a successful business. I would suggest not allowing yourself to get sidetracked by someone who isn\’t even on your tracks! Lastly, commit to who you will become along the way and you will achieve greatness and whatever you do. Just have fun!