March 2019 Feature
meet erin, the woman behind bel boutique & the loocke
Erin Thwaites is the owner of not one, but two amazing boutiques in the heart of Dover. Follow them by clicking the links below! Visit them in person at their addresses :)
@BelBoutique , 28 Loockerman St, Dover, DE 19904
@TheLoocke , 123 Loockerman St, Dover, DE 19904
“First and foremost I am a Momma and wife and my family is my world! I live to enjoy moments with those I love most. I absolutely love what I do for a living while relishing in being home or on adventures with my fam!”
Since the Journey Journals are now available at Bel Boutique, I thought it’d be super rad to get to know the awesome woman behind the 2 boutiques I’ve been fan-girling over for years!
What businesses do you own? What do they sell?
I own Bel Boutique and The Loocke. Bel is a jewelry and gift boutique that offers cute unique items for women, men and children while The Loocke is a fashion focused boutique carrying clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories for ladies.
When were they born? How did you get the idea for them?
I have been dreaming of Bel Boutique and even chose the name when I was about sixteen! I loved the idea of having a cute local boutique on the historic Main Street of my hometown.
Did you always know you wanted to run a business? If so, how? If not, when did you know?
I knew from the time that dream of my own boutique sparked in high school. I had my mind set on running my own business, and can’t imagine life any other way.
What is your favorite part of running a business?
I love that I work for myself. I love that I get to be creative and innovative and do things the best way I have found works without being bound by larger company rules and standards. It is what makes a unique, and something that cannot be replicated in the marketplace.
What made you take the leap?
I had been working and planning on Bel Boutique since high school, and had a well developed business plan and had done a lot of research. I was working a job as a loan processor at a bank, not making much money. I decided I was better off not making much doing something I was passionate about than working a job I didn’t love and not making much money! I had just turned 26 when I opened Bel.
How long did it take you to go full time?
I went all in. I quit my day job, lived in my sisters finished basement and opened the shop full time from the get. I had the advantage of lots of support from my family.
How do you balance being an entrepreneur and your personal life/family?
This is a BIG one. There is AWLAYS more work to do. I could just go nonstop and find more things to better the business. My brain never stops wondering to thoughts about the shops. I value my time with family and friends. I have learned to do my best to cut it off (which any entrepreneur knows you can never truly do, ever), but I do my best. Being a brick and mortar retail store brings a lot of demand for time and overhead. I could absolutely not own two shops successfully without the team of hard working amazing women that work with me. I say with me and not for me because we are a team. They are the reason I can confidently be away from the shops or concentrate on certain aspects of the business because they are simply rockstars. They truly care about our customers and the success of our stores and I am so very fortunate to have them.
What are some of your favorite motivational quotes?
“Create the things you wish existed”
"Do the best unit you know better, then when you know better, do better” -Maya Angelou
If you could tell your pre-entrepreneur self one thing, what would it be?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Figure it out and keep going. Things that got me super stressed in the beginning I have learned were not as big a deal as I made them out to be.
February 2019 Feature
meet tina, she’s pretty weird. & that’s why she’s so rad.
She is a flower child hippie with a rock star edge. She believes in the power of the universe and creating your own magic. :) She is a coffee enthusiast! Tina enjoys long cuddles on her couch with her animal children. She is a believer in the healing power of nature. If being a hype girl was a profession Tina would be a celebrity! She enjoys spending time with herself but seems to bask in making memories with others. Tina has a million ideas at any given time and she loves it!
Tina owns Third Eye Artistry which provides all kinds of awesome services.
Follow her on Instagram here!
Tina does all kinds of rad stuff, so I asked her all about it!
-What does Third Eye Artistry offer?
-On site Hair & Makeup
-How did you learn to do what you do?
-For Reiki I was trained under a Reiki Master. I started seeing her for healing sessions and life coaching which in turn led me to this crazy spiritual awakening process. I knew then I needed to help people that were feeling the way I was! So over the course of 2 years I put in the work, did the courses, got the attunement and now I am a Reiki Master!
-A lot of what I learned for photography was through my Friends and internet! I actually took photography in high school. I have always had a passion for it and it wasn't until last year that I bought a camera, started playing around again and all the feedback was reassurance, that this has a place in my life
-For Hair and Makeup, kind of came back to me just like photography. I dabbled in high school then went to hair school in North Carolina. Something didn't fit and I ended up leaving school early. A few years after I moved back my best friend launched her business for onsite Hair & Makeup , shout out to Pretty Weird Beauty!, and invited me to join her in this endeavor. She helped me build my craft and has cheered me on no matter what this entire time!
-Did you always want to do that? Was there ever a time you thought you’d be doing something else?
Ohhhhh friend. I had no freaking idea what I wanted to do. I have ventured into a lot of different things to see what I was passionate about. I was all over the place but in the best way possible. It didn't feel like it then but looking back now I can think, "Wow, I've tried a lot of things". I thought i'd be working in a salon for a long time and then I realized the salon isn't my vibe at all. I need to be freeeeeeeee. Deep down I knew I would be a healer, even when I was a child I knew. Photography came back to me and so did hair in its own way.
-What are some of your big goals for the future?
Some I can't reveal yet :) , but definitely to grow my brand!
I just rebranded and I am ready to get Third Eye Artistry out there! I want to introduce more people to the power of Reiki Healing and build my skill in photography. I’m hoping to have a home base in Hawaii within a certain time frame. Obviously more income, because adulting and bills and travel and coffee
-If you could tell your pre-entrepreneur self anything, what would it be?
STOP DOUBTING YOURSELF! You are so incredibly worthy of bigger things.
-What are some of your favorite motivational quotes/tips?
"It will never feel like the right time, do it now."
“Failure is success in progress.” <--- this
"The universe has shaken you to awaken you."
“Don’t get angry, get money. Choose yourself, focus on improving your life and get committed to your goals. You are in control here.”
-How do you get and stay motivated?
-Remember where I started
-Watching Victor Oddo on YouTube
-Visualize my goals and the feeling of achieving them
-I think how there are people living and doing the things I consider goals, its been done before and it can be done again with me.
-Meditation! It’s important to stay balanced or nothing will get done. You must have a daily practice to reap the benefits.
-I am part of an online academy for goal setting and spiritual awakening.
-Who are your best supporters? How important is having a support network to your success?
My husband! He tries to keep me grounded but also knows I'm a free spirit and tend to jump around a bit. He's always there and always believing in my power to do great things <3 My parents of course. Always reminding me how proud they are!
My best friends play a huge roll. Vivian is all the way in Texas and still calls at the perfect time to cheer me on. Cait brings all the hype whether its its Pretty Weird related or not! Samantha keeps me so inspired, roots for me, and teaches me so much. Kelley lets me tell her all my weirdo things and we totally vibe then build each other up. I HAVE INCREDIBLE FRIENDS & FAMILY.
SUPPORT MEANS SO MUCH to me. I know some people like to think they can do it all on their own but the truth is, just bouncing ideas around with an outsiders perspective is huge for your brand and business. You need an opinion other than your own because at the end of the day you're serving others. Some days are really hard and having that support system there to remind you how far you've come is such an uplifting and motivating moment.
January 2019 Feature
meet the ‘chicka’ behind chicka artistica
Meghan Santana is a gal entrepreneur, cat lover, and coffee addict. She loves being her own boss, and is always super motivated. The word “impossible” isn’t in her vocabulary. Meghan is the owner of two incredible businesses;
Chicka Artistica Photography: A photography business that provides exceptional portraits, headshots, and wedding photos.
Chicka & Co. : An online clothing boutique that offers unique pieces for women. She also offers one-on-one coaching sessions, and motivational content.
& more to come later this year from the entire Chicka Artistica LLC!
I sat down with Meghan and asked her about her journey as a boss lady and she had some great tips and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs!
-What made you want to be an entrepreneur?
I’ve always known I was going to be one, I just didn’t know with what. In high school, I needed money, so I started doing photography and was like, “Wow, this is rad!”. I still needed a “real” job with more steady money, so I went to work at Chick-Fil-A and hated it.
-At what point did you consider quitting your 9-5? Did you have a plan for that?
So in 2017 I pressured myself to cut off my ‘safety bridges’ (regular money from my full time job). Without that, I would have definitely talked myself out of it. So, I told my 9-5 that I wanted to be part time. That was the first step. That way I could get used to not having that money as a safety net. It forced me to work harder on my businesses. Then, at around Christmas time I told them I wanted to take a month-long break. Thankfully, it’s my dad’s business so they allowed me to make a big schedule change like that. But after that I never went back. I realized during that month that all my bills were still being paid (by my business!), so why go back? The only plan I really had was financially, I saved up enough before I left my full time job just in case of emergencies.
-What are your two best tips for new entrepreneurs?
1) If you don’t know where your money is coming in, or going out you are going to fail. Your finances are the most important thing, and you need to keep tabs!!
2) You can’t do it alone. All of the most successful entrepreneurs have a team of people working with them behind the scenes, even if it’s just your family or significant others (which are often the most helpful and hardworking!).
-Did you think you’d be where you are now? Success-wise?
I didn’t know I’d be where I am until 2016. In 2016 I had a plan, and I stuck to it. But back in high school I would have been like, “Clothes? What?” the same goes for weddings. I had no idea until I tried them out that I would love them so much!
-What gets you inspired the most?
I would say that I do the opposite of comparing. Well, in the traditional sense. I’ll see someone absolutely killing it, and instead of feeling bad about myself I’ll use it as motivation to step my game up. You should never be satisfied with where you are as an entrepreneur.
-How do you stay motivated in your ruts/doubtful stages?
I make sure to have healthy relationships with fellow boss babes- girls who get where I’m coming from and are going to be honest. I don’t need people who will sugar coat things, but people who will support what I’m doing and help me through those tough stages. Also, I need JESUS. I always need help from God.
-If you could say one thing to your pre full-time entrepreneur self, what would it be?
Just do it! Stop waiting! I’m always telling everyone else this, but I needed to say it to myself. I would also remind myself that I would rather fail at something I love than to be successful at something I hate.
-What’s your favorite boss book right now? Of all time?
Right now I would have to say “The Happiness Hack” by Ellen Petry Leanse. Of all time, I would say “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis.