Business Owner Interview
For a long time, I’d thought of starting a series where I publish small business owner interviews & bride interviews who use Essem Creatives products for their branding & design needs, to inspire and provide valuable insight from their lives.
Today, I’m thrilled to announce that we have our first business owner interview here!
Today, we’re chatting with Jacqueline Andrews Bridgford for our Business Owner Interview series, who runs the super successful Pretti Please by Jacqueline & also has her own boutique Silver & Gold Boutique.
1. Please tell us a little about yourself & your business!
I’m a 24-year-old Southern Californian with a passion for all things fashion related! I currently blog at Pretti Please Blog and own a women’s clothing and accessories boutique called Silver & Gold Boutique.
Back in 2013, I began my fashion journey with the creation of my blog, Pretti Please. My fashion, beauty, and lifestyle blog began as a way to creatively express myself while also documenting my exciting times as a college student. So far, Pretti Please has followed me on my journey through my educational experiences, exciting internships, and into the fashion industry.
Since I am no longer a student, I now use Pretti Please as a way to creatively express myself, share new products that I love, and talk a bit about my travels and life events. I recently posted about the launch of Silver & Gold Boutique. I launched Silver & Gold Boutique’s online store back in November of 2016 and have been in love with my life as an entrepreneur ever since. When I’m not managing my boutique or creating content for my blog, I enjoy traveling the world, learning something new, and spending time with my family.
2. How did you get started on this business?
My blog – When I started my blog, I wrote a few posts and then didn’t share the link for quite some time. I was nervous about what people would say, if they’d think it was silly, or if it was “perfect enough.” It wasn’t until I took an elective course at the University of Southern California called Creativity Workshop that I finally took the perceived pressure off of myself and shared the link to my blog. My Creativity Workshop professor encouraged me to continue blogging after the course ended, which made me extremely happy!
My boutique – Starting a boutique has been on my mind since I was in the 7th grade, so I have spent much of my life working towards being a small business owner! While attending college at the University of Southern California, I majored in Communication and minored in Consumer Behavior. After completing my undergraduate studies at the University of Southern California, I went on to major in Merchandise Product Development in a Professional Designation program at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles. I also spent a summer in New York studying fashion design at Parsons as part of their Summer Intensive Studies program. My diverse educational background helped me get started on my business since I was able to pair my love for fashion with my natural interest for business and entrepreneurship!
3. How long has it been since you’ve been doing this?
I’ve been sharing blog posts on Pretti Please since the end of 2013 and plan to continue into the future. While I just launched Silver & Gold Boutique back in November of 2016, I’ve always been running one business in some form. I have experimented with various entrepreneurial ventures throughout my life, from lemonade stands as a little girl to starting up my own shops online. For example, I ran a successful Etsy shop (formerly called Bowtique by Jacqueline) from my apartment back when I was in college. I got a taste of what it was like to sell items online and learned how to take product shots, create great product listings, and provide the best customer service possible. I also then hosted a few pop-ups for Bowtique by Jacqueline in collaboration with some of the social clubs on USC’s campus, so that which was really fun and a great learning experience!
4. Tell us a little about a typical day in your life?
As a small business owner, no day is typical! I manage everything from the social media content creation to working with other small businesses to organize pop-up shopping events. I love the variability of my position as a boutique owner – I get to prioritize the things that are important to me and have learned very quickly to juggle many different tasks at once.
My favorite tasks, luckily, are the most “typical” ones. These include photographing items for Silver & Gold Boutique’s website + social media accounts, forecasting the upcoming season’s emerging trends, discovering new vendors, and networking with other women who have a passion for entrepreneurship.
5. What was the hardest part of it all?
I would say the hardest part of it all has been finding my “team.” I’ve worked really hard to build a solid list of people that I can go to for inspiration, advice, and expertise. These people have a positive energy around them and it makes me want to try harder, do better, and encourage others to succeed. Finding the right people to work with is hard, but definitely worth it!
6. How do you use Essem Creatives product(s) in your business? Tell us about your experience with them!
I have been using (and loving) the Essem Creatives stock photos recently! The stock photo + social media templates from Essem Creatives have proven to be SO helpful in creating a cohesive branding strategy, specifically for my blog. My blog’s look was recently given a major upgrade, so I needed high quality + beautiful photos to match the new template. Purchasing the stock photos and the easy-to-use templates included in the Marble Floral Stock Photos package from Essem Creatives was a no-brainer for me! My blog instantly looks more professional and feminine. The potential for this package feels never-ending since it can be used in so many different ways! I am even using it for Silver & Gold Boutique’s pop-up event invitations and email newsletters now!
7. What are your top 5 tools you use for your business?
- Adobe Photoshop – Photoshop is essential in creating Silver & Gold Boutique’s website content as well as other pertinent images used for event invites, email newsletters, and giveaways. I also use it to make images on my blog (such as the really pretty image that I made using the Marble Floral Package under my blog’s Advertising + Publicity page!).
- DropBox – DropBox is so helpful when I need to get large files from my computer to my cell phone! The DropBox app is a must for any students or business owners; especially since computers crash and things (like your laptop or external hard drive!) have the potential to go missing. DropBox puts everything in one private yet sharable location and makes accessing photos from an device quick and easy.
- Shopify – My boutiqe’s e-commerce is made possible by Shopify. Shopify makes e-commerce simple – from a brand new small business to an enormous business such as Kylie Cosmetics.
- Instagram App – This may seem like an obvious one, but I absolutely love using Instagram to promote new products for my shop, new blog posts for my blog, and host giveaways! It is the simplest and easiest way to reach my blog followers as well as my customers.
- ColorStory App – The ColorStory app is so amazing and I don’t know how I ever lived without it. In a world of millions of aesthetically pleasing Instagram feeds, it is hard to standout and create your own vibe. I use ColorStory to give more personality to my blog + boutique images before posting them to social media and I think that it really helps them standout!
8. What are your tips & advice for someone looking to start their own business?
Find your network of support! Connect with other entrepreneurial minds, find your mentors, and put yourself out there. The other (and perhaps more experienced) individuals in your industry are much more willing to help you succeed that you may think!
9. Please share your social profiles so we can look you up!!
my blog’s Instagram: @prettiplease
my boutique’s Instagram: @silverandgoldboutique
my boutique’s website: http://www.silverandgoldboutique.com
my blog’s website: http://www.prettipleaseblog.com
Thank you Jacqueline for opening up so much in this interview & sharing your tips & insights from your own journey.
To our readers, we hope you enjoyed this! Stay tuned as we will be bringing you more in this Business Owner Interview series! Also, if you haven’t already, sign up here to receive access to our free design templates & watercolor clipart section!