Woven by Grace: Shop Talk: Brave Ones Apparel Co.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Shop Talk: Brave Ones Apparel Co.

Shop Talk is a new series I hope you'll enjoy. I've always been told there is power in sound advice, and that has never steered me wrong in life. Learning from others not only helps you grow, but also encourages those who share their life experiences with you. It takes courage on both ends. I will be honest, I cried when doing this interview. I stumbled upon Brave Ones Apparel Co through my second social media home - Instagram. The bold prints and seriously unique take on style captured me something serious! After contacting the owner, she was more than willing to talk about her shop and being a small business owner. In the near future I will be having the privilege to do a review on an item of theirs! Please check them out, go follow their creative journey on Instagram, and be as enamored as I am with the heart behind BOA Co.

Brave Ones Apparel is simply about being Brave. About showcasing who one truly is through expression of wardrobe. For many years our kids would come home telling us that they were picked on because of their hair, the way they spoke, or simply because of what they were wearing. They just didn't feel cool enough or confident enough. We needed to fix that. We think we've accomplished that. We aren't saying that we have single-handedly stopped bullying. We are just giving our kids and many others that extra boost in confidence to stand up for themselves and say, "Well this is me! I don't care what you say!" Plus they look pretty damn cool in the process, if you ask me. ha ha!

Q: Who is the BOA Team:

A: Our team is mainly made up of two people. My Husband & I. I run the business & sewing side. I search for new talent to introduce to our line and new artist. I find pretty amazing people who are so eager to jump on board with us and get their art seen and known. In return they have actually helped us attract more people and I am truly grateful for that. My husband is the book keeper and my supporter. He helps me decide WHAT we spend our money on and when or things we may need to cut out. I have an idea overload at times. I want to make everything and do everything and sometimes it's not that practical. He helps me weed out the potential business sinkers and keep us afloat. If it were up to me, I'd have fabric on all corners of this house and we'd be swimming in it! ha ha! I swear! We have been searching for brand ambassadors & photographers who we consider our team members. They help us out a lot. We are humbly amazed by their love and support. 

Q: What type of items do you currently sell?

A: The items we sell range from 100% Organic Apparel, Nursery Decor, Home Decor, Baby Essential Items for both Mom and Dad. I have found a few places this week over in the UK that have amazing wears! I never knew people could have such an amazing outlook on clothing for kids. Oddly enough, our clothing line fit right on in. We love textures and designs. We wanted our product to be one of a kind, unique and just crazy enough that people wanted to buy it for the originality. We love simplicity and we love creative spunk. I believe our brand is a mixture of all things Wonder, Cool, and Simple.

Q: How Did You Begin Your Shop? 

A: Oh Wow, That's a funny yet crazy story! We started our business back in June of 2013. We were called Peu De Nelly's (A Little Of Nelly's) named after our daughter, Penelope. We sold leggings, some top,s and headbands but for some reason, Carmen, it wasn't clicking! I wasn't truly happy with the name or what I was doing. I didn't feel inspired enough to continue with the name or with what we were selling. The positive thing was that we were selling. Just not what I felt was good enough. So, we changed our name to Alexzandor & Penelope; Children of The Tribe. We switched to all natural goods, organic wear, knitted wear, bath and body and things went great! Our business florished and yet, the name wasn't speaking loud enough. I thought, "Seriously? I named my business after my kiddos, how cliche is that!" I wanted something to scream, LOUD! So I sat and pondered about what I felt could get people's attention. November of 2013 we opened an Istagram account and in Decmeber we changed our name to Brave Ones Apparel. We ended up calling our selves BOA Co. We changed our names a total of 3 times within one year and we went from having 40 followers to 1100 within 4 weeks. I later realized that when I first started, I was trying so hard to be like everyone else. What was selling on Etsy or on Facebook, what my friends were selling and I wasn't truly embracing my weird self. Then I told myself, "Now that's enough! You don't get anywhere by trying to be like everyone else, so quite the bull and be you!" I found my niche. I found people just as equally weird right there on Instagram. I made friends with some amazing people along the way, Tom over at Mimobee, Andy at Indie Nook , Makel at Finomenon Kids , Bianca at Little Pop Studio, Roxanna at Naked Lunge , Abbie at Maisie Jayne , (to name a few) and some really amazing bloggers such as you. I fitted in somewhere, I didn't know existed.  

Q: What is your Creative Catalyst? 

A: Our designs are unique. Things we found cool as kids and things we wanted to be. Kids love: Dirt, Sharks, Slugs, Snails, Lizards, Ants... Batman! They find it fascinating, boy or girl. So we figured we would design our clothing line around the unique and funky. We wanted things to be different. Odd enough for people to look at them and think, "WHOA COOL! My son LOVES sharks & he LOVES lizards, I have to buy this for him!" We design things that are not of the norm. That aren't commonly seen on articles of clothing. Especially for kids.

Q: What has been the peak of your small business thus far? 

A: Undoubtedly joining Instagram! I never knew you could create a small business there! The amazing feedback we have been getting and the love! Oh man, the love.. It's astounding. Some people bring tears to my eyes by just being so supportive. We have had over 180 orders since we opened as Brave Ones Apparel {BOA Co.} January 6th 2013. That's not even including the number of items per order! That blows my mind! We have been SWAMPED but the blood, sweat, and tears we pour into our work... they'll see it. They'll feel it when that package arrives. 

Q: Your lowest point in business, and how you made it through.
A: Our lowest point was literally when we initially opened back in June. We barely had any sales and I felt like we weren't good enough. That maybe I didn't have what it takes. I wanted to throw in the towel so many times but my mother helped me. I kind of felt those proud moments from her and it made me want to make her all the more proud of me for not ever giving up. That includes my husband. Every sale, even if it was for the smallest thing, he would say, "WOW! That's so cool! You inspire me." Those words alone kept me motivated.
Q: What is your advice for small business owners? (Top Three) 

A: Wow, You make me feel so accomplised! haha We've still got a long road ahead of us ourselves and it's going to be a fun trip. The advice I would give are all so cliche but alright... 

First and foremost: Please by all means and any circumstance or situation that arise. Don't you put that pen down, Don't you cut off the sewing machine and don't you ever give up. Success is coming, your hard work WILL pay off. Just take a moment to rekindle that dream you have and take a breath. I would be lying if I said things get easier with success, that's a lie. Things will get harder, but much sweeter. You aren't going to get anywhere by giving up on a dream when you're half way there. 

Second: Plan. Plan every move you want to make. Sit down and think about your business name, your business plan, what you wan to sell, what you want to accomplish and who is your audiance. I failed miserably at this, I found my way along the way it was definitely a struggle. 

Last but not least: Budget. Budgeting all your expenses is a must. KEEP track of every item you have sold, whether it is a key chain or a sturdy peace of vintage furniture. Keep track of every cent and every dollar you put into it and received back. People you collaborate with and percentages you give them or they give you. Keep your books balanced and organized. You want to be able to go back to it and understand where your some of your hard earned money went.

Thank you so much for this interview BOA Co. I really hope that you were inspired and down right excited for what is to come for this amazing company! Check out their items and once again see what they're doing on Instagram, I'm just waiting for the new Batman shirt to come out...I'm serious.

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