Conquering Chaos

Ep 1: Bailey's Blossoms - One Mompreneurs Journey to Building a 7-Figure Business

April 02, 2019 Season 1 Episode 1
Conquering Chaos
Ep 1: Bailey's Blossoms - One Mompreneurs Journey to Building a 7-Figure Business
Chapters
Conquering Chaos
Ep 1: Bailey's Blossoms - One Mompreneurs Journey to Building a 7-Figure Business
Apr 02, 2019 Season 1 Episode 1
Erin E Hooley
The power to grow is often tied to our ability to adapt and change and it is this very process that has the potential to mold us into or God given potential!
Show Notes Transcript

Mompreneurship is hard! In this episode, Erin shares the history behind building of a 7-figure socially driven e-commerce childrens clothing line. The power to grow is often tied to our ability to adapt and change and it is this very process that has the potential to mold us into or God given potential!



Speaker 1:
0:01
Welcome to the conquering chaos podcast. I'm your host, Aaron [inaudible], president and founder of multimillion dollar ecommerce children's clothing line, Bailey's blossoms. So it turns out I'm pretty good at business, but what really lights my soul on fire is providing other entrepreneurs and mompreneurs with the tools they need to truly succeed. So if you have a business or have one on your heart, you're in good company, pull up a chair or drop in some ear buds and let's conquer some chaos today.
Speaker 2:
0:29
The one question I get asked more than any other is how did you get from there to here? It's such an incredibly loaded question because there couldn't possibly be one simple answer to growing a seven figure business. So I'm going to try to attempt to answer it in a way that doesn't completely overwhelm the tar out of you or make it so you don't ever want to hear my voice again. In Fair warning. Within the story of the evolution of Bailey's blossoms lies about a hundred different topics that will create even more questions. So try not to completely freak out because I promise we're going to go for every single topic and dive deeper into all of this amazing content in the coming episodes of the conquering chaos podcast. I'm going to take it back to the very beginning to help you understand why this is such a complex story to begin with.
Speaker 2:
1:15
Bailey's Boston's started when my husband finished up Grad school and took a job with Mercedes Benz financial services in Michigan, leaving myself and our then three children in Arizona to finish up the preschool year and painfully attempt to sell our home in the middle of the 2008 recession. Now I have to preface this by saying that at that time our kids were ages two and a half, one and a newborn, so it was a crazy six months. I taught preschool out of our garage, which we converted into the cutest little classroom and prior to that I had been a nanny and had always wanted to do something on the side that would enable me to stay home and be with my babies. I've always been somewhat of a busy body and love to have something to do. I don't know if it's my energy level or my right brain tendencies or what, but I had this intensely overactive imagination, which doesn't make me the prime candidate for sing at home alone, especially at night, in order to keep my mind occupied and myself from getting really restless and ridiculous.
Speaker 2:
2:12
I did what I normally do and picked up a new hobby. Maybe you can relate. I love to be challenged by new things and I love to push myself. I've always loved and been driven by the possibility of accomplishing something new and different. Fear has never really been a part of my process. I'm what you might call a trigger puller and in essence, choose to not overanalyze the consequences of what potential failure could mean as far as embarrassment or whatever happens, which seems to be the hangup that so many people use to keep them from really just stepping into their potential. So our daughter Bailey is our oldest child and she was blessed with her father's hair. This means that she's got two beautiful calvic smack Dab in the front of her forehead and another three in the back, which makes her look like Albert Einstein's child.
Speaker 2:
2:58
I've never been gifted or patient enough to learn the art of hair, so she always looked disheveled and without a mother who loved her. So one of my students always was pristinely made up and she came into class with these cute little hair flowers in her hair. I remember looking at one one day thinking, it's so cute. I can totally make that. Next thing I know I find myself at hobby lobby with all the 40% off coupons I could find and stocked up on flower heads and ribbon and alligator clips. The works now before you imagine that, I walked out of there with two reasonably sized bags where the craft supplies like any normal human being, let me just tell you that I was that crazy woman that you hated who went to the store with a binder full of coupons and walked out with a cart full of groceries that the store paid me a dollar and 16 cents to take home.
Speaker 2:
3:47
I say it's a gift. My husband on the other hand, might disagree. So here I am, I get home and I'm excitingly telling him about all this stuff that we're now the proud owners of and like any reasonable human being, he questions my sandy and asks if I can take about three quarters of it. Back at that moment, I realized the only way to keep it an offset my costs was to sell a few of these creations I was blending to make. So I started ripping these stupid little flower heads apart so I could take a hot glue gun and put them back together again. Literally, I started looking at all the places that sold similar items and was in shock at the prices they would sell for guys. If you have multiple kids, you know, I couldn't afford to have my kids look cute and I hated that.
Speaker 2:
4:30
So I'm looking around thinking, oh my gosh, I can totally make these and sell them so much cheaper than what everyone's getting them for. And it seemed like a pretty obvious next step. So I launched this little hair flower company, which a proud mama named Bailey's blossoms. I took the plunge and began dissecting things and googling my way through how to create and craft and do all these things that I hadn't done before. And six days after my hobby lobby trip, I launched Bailey's blossoms.com which sold a few pieces in the first week, but really only to family and friends who love me. So at the time Etsy was the it place to be. So I threw all my items there and got a few more sales. I tend to get bored really quickly when there's a lack of upward movement and motion and started to analyze where my break even point was.
Speaker 2:
5:15
I was looking at all these little hair accessories that I was making and selling for $3 to $5 at most and realized very quickly that my dollar per hour earnings didn't match up to what I thought my time was worth. People would have to buy a boatload of hair accessories, but after making about a hundred pieces, I was already checked out and ready to move on. So I started thinking of other ways I could grow this concept and how people might bundle items together to increase the average order cost. What could I offer that would complement the items that I already had? That's when I started making Tutus. This was back in 2009 when the fluffier you could get the better. So I started purchasing tool by the role. Then quickly realized that I could lower my costs and then my sell price if I purchased by the bolts.
Speaker 2:
5:57
So next thing I know our houses now overrun by flower heads and bolts of tool, literally everywhere. Now the one concept I really want to drive home here is the fact that I'm constantly learning and developing and growing and with that comes constant pivoting and changing and adapting to the needs and trends that presented themselves in the marketplace. If I had waited to have all the answers before I started and had a five year plan mapped out, I never would have taken the plunge. At this time I was making first birthday inspired to two sets complete with a skirt and matching hair accessory and it filled me for a time until I realized that every customer had to be a new customer, understanding that every child only has one first birthday, I realized I was constantly spinning my wheels faster and faster trying to gain momentum.
Speaker 2:
6:47
I'll never retaining my customer base since I was honed in on one day out of the lifespan of any given child. Maybe if I was lucky I could get someone to come back for a second birthday, but that's a pretty crummy retention rate. When one of my customers requested a themed birthday Tutu for an Alice in wonderland theme party, it's sparked a new idea. It was late summer when I started getting accessories to compliment the Tutus and turn them into butterflies and ladybugs and witches and all sorts of creative characters for the upcoming holiday of Halloween. The response was incredible. For three months. I had more business than I knew what to do with and at the end of those three months I was so burned out, but it took just as much time, if not longer to recuperate and even want to do it again.
Speaker 2:
7:31
At that point I realized the potential that was in front of me and shut down my preschool to focus on Bailey's blossoms full time. I started attending craft fairs and vendor shows and reached out to local brick and mortar stores to see if they wanted to sell all my accessories and other items on consignment. By the time Halloween of 2010 came around, I was swamped and literally drowning in orders. I remember having the Etsy App on my phone and hearing the Cha Ching, Cha Ching, and being so incredibly conflicted between the need for finances to pay off the mounds of debt that we had accrued from my husband's schooling and the need for sleep and emotional sanity. I called my mother in tears asking if I could buy a plane ticket for her to fly out to Michigan so that she could help me with my kids because it was that out of control.
Speaker 2:
8:17
We had just had our fourth child and I was trying to balance mothering all of these little children, none of which went to school yet and this business that was booming and I didn't even really understand what that looked like. I enlisted a bunch of young women from the local youth group of the church. We attend to come and help and I would line everybody up in this big row across the main floor of our rental home and teach everyone how to tie a two two my mom was seriously my saving grace. She would help me with the house and with the kids and watch me work my butt off to get 15 orders out on the best of days just to turn around and that 25 more had come in during the day. I burst into tears the day that she told me I needed to put my shop in vacation mode and shut it off.
Speaker 2:
9:04
I wish I could explain how painful it was for me to do that. I realize now that I was probably borderline obsessive. Needless to say, we survived that season, but I'll never forget when. Shortly after I was driving to the grocery store and got a call from my husband saying that he had been offered a job that would move our family to Brazil. I remember being overwhelmed with such a feeling of relief and in that same day made the announcement and shut down the sites. We had roughly 25,000 followers on Facebook at the time and I told him that we would be living abroad for the next two to three years and to stay tuned because when we got back Bailey's Boston's would be bigger and better than ever before. At the time, I had no idea what that meant. During our two years in Brazil, I had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some really fantastic entrepreneurs.
Speaker 2:
9:51
That became some of our dearest friends. I tried so hard to be okay with no longer being an entrepreneur. For the first time in my married life, I was given the opportunity and the financial means to stay home. I tried so hard, but my mind constantly defaulted to dreaming of what more I could do and what more I could create. When we returned to the states in 2013 with child number five and toe, I was shocked to see that 22,000 people out of the original 25,000 had stuck around for our return. I was so fired up and ready to make due on my promise from two years prior. I remember telling my husband Brandon, that I wanted to relaunch Bailey's blossoms and he looked at me with these cautiously stressed out eyes, understanding what that had looked like. When we had left. I told them I had bigger and better plans and this time I would be the supplier of the materials and create youtube training videos to show people how to make things themselves.
Speaker 2:
10:48
I give them a lot of credit because the poor man has put up with a lot from me. Over the years. He asked me how much it would take, meaning money to which I replied all of it. His face turned completely white in Brazil. We had the opportunity to pay off the remainder of his school debt and built up a little nest egg, which provided us the opportunity to put a down payment on a home in Texas. We had $35,000 left over and I spent every last cent for the first time. I sourced materials and supplies from overseas and stocked up the shelves in our garage with tool and flowers and rhinestones and ribbon. When Halloween came around that first year, I was more than ready. We had butterfly wings in which hats and pirate hats and superhero masks and capes and rocked the heck out of that first season.
Speaker 2:
11:35
To be honest, I remember telling my husband, honey, this is going to be totally fine. Give me a year and I will have all of that money put back where it belongs within three months. I may do on that promise as you can probably guess by now. It didn't take long for me to get bored again. I didn't want to be busy three months out of the year. I wanted to be busy 12 months out of the year. With that in mind, we launched our first romper. I'd like to say that the rest is history, but there's still so much more to it than that. In the year following, we began morphing into a full fledged clothing line. In 2014 we brought home the youngest of our children, which concluded our healthy brood of sixth. We converted a single car garage into an office space with a small play area for the kids, so the young mothers we hired to come and help with our customer service and order fulfillment needs would be able to work and parent at the same time.
Speaker 2:
12:30
It grew into a six day a week operation and to this day I am still shocked that our neighbors didn't petition to have us kicked out as we at times had eight or more cars parked out front of our home, seemingly at all times. By the end of 2015 we were one of the largest and most well known shops on the Etsy platform for children selling over $600,000 in 2015 alone. At that point, I didn't think life could get any better. Brandon and I began discussing the probability of him leaving his corporate job with Mercedes so we could be entrepreneurs together. As with most big decisions, we took it to the Lord. We prayed that if this was something that we needed to do, that he would show us the way we concluded that starting in January of 2016 we would budget as if Brandon's income was no longer in existence to see if we could afford to do without it.
Speaker 2:
13:23
Not even two weeks later, guys, this is absolutely, it gives me chills every single time. Not even two weeks later we had a falling out with Etsy and they removed us from their platform. At the time, 85% of our sales happened on the Etsy platform. I was devastated and we concluded that that must be the answer to this prayer and that surely we were not supposed to be entrepreneurs and he needed to keep his corporate job for time and all eternity. I walked out to the office to go and talk to my team about what had happened. One of the women that worked for me at the time was eight months pregnant and when I told her that we were no longer on Etsy, she looked at me and she said, Erin, are you telling me that after I have this baby, I'm not going to have a job?
Speaker 2:
14:14
In fact, that was exactly what I had gone out there to tell her, but in that moment I just couldn't, and through divine inspiration alone, I was able to say, no, I'm telling you that if you will be flexible with me, your job description just might change. In that moment she asked, well, now what? What do we do? There's no more orders coming in. There's no more messages coming in. What do we do? And I said, I want you to get on Etsy and start to send a message to every single person who's ever purchased with us because you don't have access to a customer list to just send them all an email and message them individually and say thank you so much for your support. We just wanted to give you a heads up that Bailey's blossoms can now exclusively be found at Bailey's blossoms.com with that, I went back into the house to work in my office and they got to work.
Speaker 2:
15:11
I would be lying if I said that I wasn't terrified in that moment considering and doing all the math and calculations about what I could and couldn't afford, taking an 85% cut and who I'd have to lay off and what that would look like and how devastating that would be for their families and all of the things, all of the things and then I Scott on to the Etsy platform as well and I started looking at all the responses that were coming in and the people in the feedback and the congratulations. What a big step for you. This is so exciting. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful news. Thank you so much. I'll go check out the website now and I thought, oh my goodness, I've been looking at this completely wrong. Yes, yes, we can do this and yes, this is a good thing and yes we can, we can rise above this no matter how unexpected this turn of events was.
Speaker 2:
16:03
I took the opportunity to dive into things that were on my to do list that had sat there for way, way too long. Things like making sure that our website was mobile ready and optimized, making sure that the, the flow for our customers was smooth and seamless. All of these things, and not even two days later we looked at our sales and they had quadrupled what they had ever been on any given day prior to making this change and this announcement and I was completely flabbergasted. My team members didn't even know what to think. I couldn't even tell them the answer as to what was going on until I went to social media and I started to pay attention to the trends and to what our customers were saying. Suddenly what I noticed was all of a sudden this influx of people that we're tagging Bailey's blossoms in their photos, where prior when people said, hey, where did you get that adorable Romper, that adorable outfit?
Speaker 2:
17:01
It would be, oh, isn't this so cute? Hashtag Etsy now all of a sudden it became Hashtag Bailey's blossoms. In that moment I realize the power of brand recognition and that we had spent so much time putting effort and driving traffic to somebody else's property, to somebody else's site, to somebody else's business, and my mind expanded so quickly to what the potential was in front of us. That year. We grew 233% 233% by actually claiming our brand by claiming the recognition and the attention that was ours to take. It was an incredible learning experience in that rapid growth. We quickly realized that we couldn't fit any more in the space that we had allotted, even though we had actually even added an additional two car garage. So we were working out of two, two car garages, so four car garage worth of storage space, and then a single car garage for our office.
Speaker 2:
18:07
I remember with the realization where we thought this is no longer big enough for us, even though when we had built that additional garage, I thought, oh five years easy, we'll be in here for five years. So then we found a warehouse rental that we could use out in Decatur, Texas and it was 6,000 square feet, 5,000 square foot of warehouse and a thousand square feet of office. And when I walked into that building with my husband, I thought, Oh surely we will be in here for five years. We will definitely be in here for five years. And we did the long and tedious process of moving everything out of our house, which was an incredible blessing. And it was such an alleviation of stress that I didn't even realize I, well, that's not true. I did realize that I was stressed out having it at the house, but that's a story for another day.
Speaker 2:
18:54
Right now we are building a new 25,000 square foot warehouse as we've grown out of our current space. Once again, I am not putting a five year timeframe on at this time as I certainly know better. The power to grow is often tied to our ability to adapt and change and the very process of adapting and changing is what has the potential to mold us into our God given potential. On April 3rd of 2017 Brandon left Mercedes-benz financial services and officially joined me fulltime working hand in hand as entrepreneur, as husband and wife and yes, we're still married creating this massive beast together on April 11th, 2017 as if we haven't had enough pivots and changes already. Something changed. Again, I was invited to speak for the first time at a conference. It was a women's leadership summit put on by Mercedes Benz financial services and they invited me to come in and speak as one of the disruptors as they called it on this panel of women.
Speaker 2:
19:58
I remember being absolutely petrified and so incredibly excited at the exact same time and having that opportunity standing up on that stage, speaking into these women and I suddenly realized why all of these things through this history and this evolution of Bailey's blossoms had happened and it was for a greater calling and purpose, which is to feed and fuel and put all of this knowledge and this wisdom and this experience and this insight into so many people who need to see and understand the potential that is there is to step into you guys. This is the essence. This is the genesis of why this podcast was started conquering chaos because that is exactly the root of what my life is. We are a chaotic hot mess. Six children at this time. Now we have three businesses marching a fourth one. The craziness that is involved in our lives is absolutely insane. I've had multiple people tell me, neighbors included, that we need to have a reality TV show that shows the behind the scenes of our madness that I'm not sure if that is a compliment or if I should be absolutely terrified by what people see from the outside looking in. But either way, I wouldn't change my life or any step within it that has caused me to step up
Speaker 1:
21:24
back into learn for anything in the world. Thank you for taking the time to connect with me here on the conquering chaos podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, will you please take a moment to leave a review? It's the fuel to my fire and lets me know that my efforts to enact change and broaden your perspective of what's possible matter. Thank you so much for your support. If you want more content like this, don't forget to subscribe and connect with me on social media at Aaron equally or at Aaron equally. Dot Com. Have a fantastic day. Get out there and conquer some chaos.
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