blank Your Name: Michelle Miller

Business Name: Beau Monde Vintage & Gretel’s Boutique, a clothing and accessory boutique for women

Type of Business: Clothing & Accessories

Business Location: Lakewood, Ohio, United States

Website www.etsy.com/shop/BeauMondeVintage
Twitter @BeauMondeVintag
Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/EtsycomshopBeauMondeVintage
Tumblr www.beaumondevintage.tumblr.com/
Pinterest pinterest.com/beaumondevintag/

Reason for starting
I started my first business for personal health reasons. I needed a way to make money, but on my own schedule. I couldn’t work when my health acted up & I also take care of my mother who is a 3x survivor of Lymphoma. So I needed a plan. I wanted to do something I enjoyed. I wanted a job I enjoyed, that’s very important to me. I love vintage & shopping so I decided to start an online business selling vintage clothing & other vintage items. I started with pieces from my own collection & went from there.

How do you define success?
I define success differently than most people. I found success the day I learned to believe in myself. The day I knew,”I can do this. I can make money doing what I love.” That is what success means to me.

Biggest Success
I have yet to reach my biggest success yet. I did open my second online store this past year, Gretel’s Boutique, which is also vintage. I decided it was the best way to go because of the amount of inventory I had accumulated, and it just seemed the right time to open a second shop.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My top challenge in the online retail business is probably marketing, getting your name out there. There are a lot of social networks available that I use, I have paid for Facebook ads, which have helped. I am looking into all sorts of marketing right now, magazine ads, and such. However, you have to look at the cost at all of this, it does not come cheap.I have teams on Etsy, where I work. I have Facebook pages for both of my shops, a twitter account, Pinterest,& the list goes on. You have to be creative in marketing your shop. Think outside the box, be different, stand out. There are millions of vintage shops out there. What makes you different? That’s what you have to point out to people.

Who is your most important role model?
A role model to me is someone who doesn’t give up, who goes out there & follows there dream of whatever it may be. Whatever your dream is, don’t ever give up. Whether it is to be a doctor, to work in a clothing store, to own a restaurant. There are no wrong dreams. You can do anything if you put your mind to it & work hard. The results will come in time.

Editor’s Note: The Story Exchange is celebrating its 10th anniversary by launching the annual Women In Science Incentive Prize. Apply now for a chance to receive $5,000 in funding for your climate-related research or startup. Deadline: July 31. 

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Success is seeing the change I can help people make in their lives.

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