Today I am interviewing Alyssa Thiel of Parris Chic Boutique. We get to talk all about the slow climb from Etsy seller to full-time empire and Alyssa opens up about how her persistence paid off in making the biggest things happen and what to do when someone tells you “No.”
Alyssa’s journey began in college, when she started her shop and in her one bedroom apartment, she would make orders on demand out of her living room. She is happy to now have her husband working with her full-time, three employees and 10 seamstresses.
“It was really just a hobby for me, I never in a million years thought it would be like it is today” (01:39)
One of the building blocks that led her to start her own business, according to her, is working at her mom’s friend’s shop while in college. She then started to sell the items she was making to friends and family. Another turning point of her business was when she got married, because she started making a lot of items for the home and weddings and was selling them to others. She shares that she originally started the Etsy shop as a way to collect money from family and friends that she sold items to (5:22).
Alyssa also started the shop so that she could be wherever she wanted to be as her husband started working in the military and also for when she wanted to have kids.
When her husband got sent to camp she moved in with her parents and continued to grow her shop. It eventually grew enough that she had to quit school because she was missing out on orders and sales.
After two and a half years of running her shop full-time, her husband then came on-board and it really changed the business for the better. She says he was always intrigued by the business from the very start and introduced the wholesale aspect, which doubled the business.
“I think just the both of us being able to dream about it and live up to those goals and converse about it, talk about it and dream together is when it really took off” (09:03)
She finds her roles in the business have changed as the business has grown. She now spends most of her time and focus on designing new lines and keeping the content fresh, as this is where she finds she is the most creative.
“Sometimes I just felt caught in a creative draught if I was doing those mundane tasks of shipping or even just answering customer service” (13:56)
When Alyssa first started the business, she wanted control over every step and wanted to do it all by herself. This includes even doing the bows on the packages!
“Tasks can easily be taught to someone else on your team so that your time can be focused on what only you can do, which is further the growth of your business and expand it more” (16:29)
She talks about the process for her to get into the Magnolia House and the importance of having goals. Alyssa believes it is extremely important to get “crazy out there” goals for yourself and then ask yourself the steps to get to where you want to go.
Alyssa shares the experience of outgrowing their house and how they found a studio to work out of and she adds that she initially had to be convinced to move the shop out of the house (26:46).
She learned calligraphy, and thought she would do only one collection it, but she fell in love with it and it became a huge part of her business. It took her many hours to learn it by herself and that is why she started teaching it to others.
“I think people were really interested in calligraphy and it’s still is a very popular skill to have” (30:06)
Alyssa’s biggest obstacle has been to find balance as she struggled with creativity. She says she came to a point where she felt like she had to choose the home décor path or the calligraphy path. She’s now better at combining both now that she has a team, but it was definitely prevented her from growing her business in the past.
“Being a small business owner, joy isn’t just finding the joy in what you’re doing and it’s not just so that I’m happy at work; it’s so that my business thrives” (37:40)