Have you noticed that every boutique has something unique to offer? Today we are featuring our CKC Boutique of the Month for February! This month it is none other than Hannah Mangan from Lamb and Ivy Couture. Hannah has been in business for one year and she is definitely off to a great start. We asked Hannah a few questions about her boutique and I'm sure you'll enjoy her responses as much as I do:
How did you get into sewing and what got you to open your own boutique?
My grandmother taught me to sew when I was a little girl. I was basically raised at her feet while she quilted.
After I had my daughter I was so bored with the kinds of clothing I found in store and baffled at the prices they were charging for such cheap craftsmanship. From that point I brought out my handy sewing machine and started brushing up my skills making my daughter leggings and simple dresses and skirts. I started getting a lot of compliments and had a few friends ask me to make their daughters some things. Slowly it started getting out and I created Lamb & Ivy Couture in September of 2012 and was solely a "word of mouth" business. I then branched out to creating a Facebook page and then later opened my Etsy shop. It's been a wonderful adventure and I cannot believe I am my own boss!!!!
Being a mom and a boutique owner is hard. How do you find the time to fulfill orders, create new pieces, and just run a business in general?
Rest is for the weary!! Totally kidding! It's tough. I have a system that I stick to like it was given to me on a stone tablet. Kind of like Lamb & Ivy Couture's commandments! First of all this year my oldest started kindergarten so that has been huge for me. My youngest started preschool two days a week to give me time to sit and go at sewing non stop, with no interruptions (this is key!) for a about six hours. Here is my system: Mondays I cut out all my orders for the week. This has really been proven to help me keep everything super organized and on time. Tuesdays I decide what parts of patterns need the same color threading and I try to do all of the rolled hems on my serger on all the different pieces (that way I am not dealing with removing the second needle and stitch finger all the time). Wednesdays I really spend most of the day loving on my princess and while she naps I try to knock out a few orders. Thursday is spent finishing up any remaining orders and Friday is packaging and post office day. I have my handy dandy iPhone set to ring if I get any sale on Etsy, any message on Etsy, and Facebook notifications. This helps a lot with not worrying if I am missing someone's questions.
Run us though your typical work-at-home day.
I always start my day off around 5am (no I am not up sewing at 5am...I am pretty sure my family would hide my sewing machine if this was the case.) I workout early in the morning to get my blood flowing to my brain so I can focus on all the projects that are jam packed into my day. After I feed the kids breakfast it is off to school. Once I arrive back home I start right away with bringing all my sewing beauties out. I am not as lucky as some. My sewing "room" is our kitchen table but it works for now. ("for now" being emphasized because hopefully my husband is reading this, haha) I try to lay everything out that I will need for the orders. I pre cut all my orders and place all the materials in paper protectors with the customers name and ship date. I work on orders until around 2:40 pm and it is off to pick the kiddos up from school. Once they are home from school, all things Lamb and Ivy Couture is put on the back burner. It's homework time and then playtime. Usually about an hour after being home my kids are just exhausted so the younger one lays down for a nap for about 45 minutes and the older one watches Disney Junior or a movie. During this time I am busy cleaning up my messes from my previous work while they were in school. Remember how I said my "sewing room" was our kitchen table...yeah well guess what? I have to put everything up to get ready for dinner and then bring everything back out after dinner.
How many items do you have currently listed in your shop that you used a Create kids Couture pattern to create?
Where do you find inspiration?
I am a born and raised southern girl so I love anything that looks like it belongs in the country! I believe simple is best. Don't get me wrong, very detailed dresses with beading and glam are amazing! I just love, love, love the basic styling for my shop. I want every child to be beautiful and handsome in my clothing not because of all the frills but because their inner beauty just shines!
What is your favorite piece that you have ever created for your boutique?
My favorite piece I have made so far is the Suzie's Twirly Halter Top Pattern. It is the most precious shirt I have ever seen or made! You can do so much with this look. Dress it up with some ruffles pants or keep it nice and simple with a pair of leggings. I just love how simple and basic it is but looks so amazingly cute!
If you could go back to when you first started your business and tell yourself about the most important thing you've learned as a business owner thus far, what would it be?
I would tell myself to stay on budget!!! I was so excited when I started Lamb and Ivy and I just wanted to dive in head first (and I kind of did). I bought tons of fabric, tools and gadgets. Looking back now I get a little tickled because some of the stuff I purchased I haven't even opened. Now I know that things come with time and just because I think I need something doesn't mean I do. I spent a lot of our own personal money going on these shopping sprees (which I have paid our bank account back every dime which I am extremely proud of) I found that separating the business funds from my personal funds has been a huge battle that I have finally gotten ahold of.
Thank you, Hannah!
It sounds like Hannah has figured out a great system for herself and I even took some notes for my own routine at home! I enjoy reading about other boutiques and why they choose to do what they do. Don't forget to go show Hannah some love on her Lamb and Ivy Couture page on Etsy. She has some really cute accessories and baby boy items in her shop too.
Let's Create! ~ Kristen