Have you ever met someone on the interwebs and immediately said to yourself This is one of my people? That is exactly how I feel about Janine of Little Rabbit Wears. I immediately loved her style when someone posted a link to her squeal-worthy vintage-inspired girls boutique on Facebook (she had me at vintage). And then I emailed her to see if she wanted to work together and she was so honest and real and excited, I just wanted to hug her through the computer.
I’m incredibly excited to let her share with you guys how she turned her love of shopping into a paycheck—I’m pretty sure it will get some wheels turning in more than a few heads…
My favorite easy reads of all time are the Shopaholic series of books by Sophie Kinsella. I could totally identify with the (somewhat) bumbling, yet stylish main character who loved to spend. Before kids, buying myself treats at the mall was a great pick-me-up. Now that I’m a mama of two, browsing online from the comfort of my bed in my bathrobe while scooping up sale items for my son and daughter has become my new way of relaxing. I love it. I always have. Furthermore, I freaking love a bargain. Seeing closets jammed full of interesting and fun pieces, dresser tops with adorable accessories, and a sweetly organized sock drawer makes me smile. What can I say?
Having a daughter has brought my shopping obsession to a whole new level of insanity. Mainly because EVERYTHING ALWAYS FITS. When women want a surefire, feel-good shopping trip, we head for the shoe store. Shoes will never let us down, when sometimes our thighs will. The ease of ordering a size 6-12 months for Adèle fulfilled my need to have packages waiting on my doorstep (smiling to greet me, I swear) and the sizes never failed to disappoint. In June of 2014, I was planning her Alice in ONEderland birthday party and I simply could not find a dress to accommodate my vision. I wasn’t willing to pay an arm and a leg on Etsy, but Macy’s just wasn’t cutting it… neither was Marshalls, nor babyGap, nor Janie and Jack, nor Gymboree… you get the picture.
So, I started my search and Googled every combination of “blue dress” possible when I came across forums featuring sellers of children’s clothing and blogs advising start-up businesses. I already had a small Etsy shop for my handcrafted Deco Era-inspired hats and headbands, so I had a small taste of retail (and I liked it).
What if I could get Adèle’s dress for free? What if I started sourcing stand out pieces in bulk, kept a size 18 months for us, and sold the rest? What if I could just shop and shop and shop… and get paid to do it?
Holding my breath, I placed my first orders through various sellers which totaled around $400. The idea that customers may embrace my taste in little girls wares and pay for my personal choices honestly made me want to pee myself with excitement. If I could make this work, and turn into a paycheck what had become a costly hobby according to my credit card statement—like whoa—that would be awesome.
I researched the heck out of social media marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to be sure that every penny I put towards advertising would pay off. I bought a fancy camera and decked my daughter out in my purchases, bribing her with fruit snacks. I spent the summer uploading photos, writing item descriptions, branding myself and creating a buyers niche (for Little Rabbit Wears it’s little girl’s vintage). And it happened… I got messages through my Facebook page, buyer requests, actual PAYPAL MONEY… People were buying my stuff!
Summer dresses turned into Christmas frocks and in November 2014 I made $4000 after launching my own website through Shopify.
(Please insert here a somewhat surly, although devoted, husband whose wife now spends hours attached to her phone and laptop after the kids are in bed, or while they are watching cartoons, or while they are busying themselves period.)
Finding the balance to work with what started off as a hobby and truly turned into a marketable business on top of my regular full-time job as a French teacher has been challenging to say the least.
A choice I made was to make less money, but have more time with family. I recently hired an awesome assistant to help me with packaging orders, shipping, inventory and marketing. Little Rabbit Wears is still small enough where, if I spent all Saturday working, I could run the shop by myself. But, I have two other small investments as well (and one still poops her pants). It’s definitely worth a cut of the profits to keep my main man happy, optimize snuggle time with the littles, and have a couple of minutes to bathe myself and stuff.
A year in, I still love shopping for Little Rabbit Wears. My own style has somewhat taken a nosedive, but I think that also comes with motherhood. My daughter, though, is certainly one adorably adorned, happy little bunny. I call that a success.
Pssst! Voting is open for our #MyStylishLittle contest! Head on over to my FB page and vote for your favorites. The one with the most likes by 7 pm on 3/8 will win a $25 gift certificate to Little Rabbit Wears!