This is the philosophy behind Betsy Boo’s Boutique, an online clothing store based out of Fairfax, Iowa. For founder Betsy Harrison, starting her own business gave her the flexibility to spend more time with her family.
Start with a side business
When she was in high school and college, Betsy worked in clothing boutiques and eventually got a job opening new retail locations around the country. But the hours were long and included weekend work, which prevented her from spending as much time as she wanted with her family.
So Betsy decided to get out of the clothing business to start a career in real estate, which gave her more flexible hours. “I had a pretty successful career in real estate for 12 years,” she says. “Then I happened upon clothing boutiques popping up on Facebook. I thought, ‘Wow, I could do this. This is fun.’”
Like a lot of entrepreneurs, Betsy didn’t dive head first into her new business. Instead, it was more of a hobby that she enjoyed while continuing to work in real estate. “It was going into our slow months, so I thought I had time to do this,” she remembers.
She started with $200 and extra room in her basement. At first, she just sold clothes to friends. But as the business grew, Betsy knew it was time to evolve her hobby into a full-time gig. Today, the boutique is a multimillion dollar ecommerce brand that ships nationwide.
Get empowered by those around you
When looking for inspiration and support, Betsy turns to her family.
“My mom died when she was 51,” Betsy says. “She was a great role model and example of being a businesswoman, yet also being very into our family. Family came first for her, and I live by the same standards she set forth.”
Betsy’s husband and children helped her as the business took off. Her kids pitched in at the warehouse, and her husband and sister are constant sources of support. Today, Betsy Boo’s Boutique has employees of its own, most of whom are moms.
“Betsy Boo’s Boutique is very family-oriented,” Betsy says. “I feel like my employees are my family too, and their families are my family, too. So when one of my employees’ daughters has a three o’clock basketball game, I want her to go and be at that game.”
Work hard and stay passionate
Betsy’s secret to success isn’t much of a mystery. “I’ve worked hard in everything I do in life,” she says. “Especially with Betsy Boo’s.” To stay motivated during tough times, Betsy talks about how important it is to be passionate about what you do. “You have to have a passion,” she says. “If you don’t have that passion, it’s going to be a huge challenge.”
Betsy acknowledges there are always bumps in the road. But they don’t have to stop you.
“I would say to any woman business owner: Be confident. Never give up. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Keep trying.”