Can I tell you something, a secret? Ok, so…I’ve never given anyone my FULL potato soup recipe. Like, I get asked for it and I leave out an ingredient. I know! It’s shameful but hear me out.
When we first got married I decided to become a super wife. I was going to learn all the homemaking things and master them. I was going to be the wife that had the best recipes. I was going to be the one that got out EVERY stain. Never would a lost sock ever get by me and dang it, my house was going to SPARKLE!
Well…y’all, I made it as far as mastering potato soup, LOL. I quickly realized that ‘perfect homemaker’ life was not for me. I’m still super envious of the men and women that can get out stains, sew a button, patch a fence, and kill a chicken in time for dinner. It just wasn’t in me. BUT…soup, I can do potato soup.
So, I’m going to share with you the recipe both as I originally wrote it and as what it’s become over the last 10 years—because this wife can’t peel a potato without dropping it in the trash 10 times AND THAT’S OK! Are you ready? It’s real good, promise!
Top Secret Potato Soup
Ingredients you’ll need:
4 cups of chicken broth (I use the low-sodium one)
4 1/2 cups sliced, peeled potatoes
1/4 cup yellow onion
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
4 pieces of cooked bacon
3 sliced green onions
1 8 oz package of cream cheese (I use the low-fat one)
1 16 oz bag bag of shredded Colby jack cheese
**THAT is the original ingredient list and it’s glorious. I currently use frozen hashbrowns, pre-chopped onion from Walmart, pre-chopped green onion, and microwave bacon. Now, if you’re trying to impress someone maybe go with the original, but if it’s a weeknight meal for the fam, use the quick way! I’ve never used frozen onions, but I hear good things, so you could likely use those too.**
Now the hard part: put everything in a crockpot except the cream cheese and shredded cheese. Use a crockpot liner—no one told me about this until like 2 years ago and gosh, are they life-changing!
Set your crockpot on low for 2 hours, sometimes longer, you definitely want your potatoes soft.
Chop up your cream cheese into cubes and add it in. Toss in the whole bag of shredded cheese and stir it all up.
After 20 minutes or so, give it a good stir to make sure everything is melted into creamy goodness. That’s it!
So there’s my super easy, delicious, no-missing-ingredients, crockpot potato soup. TRY IT! Let me know if you love it. We host Christmas and this is my Christmas Eve meal each. I hope you’re having a fabulous week! Stay safe!
Anyone else love a good deal? I mean, don’t get me wrong, some things are definitely worth the SPLURGE, but when you CAN find the look for less, why not? I know that I got a little thrill every time I found a dupe for this post. A surge of adrenaline for every find…what has my life come to? COVID times—we have to find pleasure in the simple things these days, lol. So here we go: a list of adorable must-have clothes, sunglasses, bags, and more at a fraction of the cost!
As with ANYTHING LuLaRoe, hit me up girl! If you see me wearing it, see it on Instagram, Pinterest, anywhere, just send me a picture and I will do my best to find it for you. Any outfit, any item—I am here for you!
You know I had to slip some Gucci in here! I was looking for my ‘dupe’ bag that Mike got for me as a joke and I ended up LOVING, but unfortunately it’s out of stock. I saw this green mini bag and died, I need it! Here’s the story: my Gucci purse lost a pearl while we were moving into our house. I called Saks and they said they’d give me a full refund. I was sitting there staring at a bill for our countertops that was the EXACT same amount as that bag, so…I did the responsible thing and said goodbye to my Gucci and paid for the countertops. Mike, being a gem, bought me a fake to make up for it—but you guys, I LOVE IT! Boujee on a budget, lol.
So this was a little different, what’d you think? Did you like this kind of blog? Are you more boujee or budget? I’d say I’m a little bit of both. 😉 Like I said, if any of the clothes catch your eye, send me a message! And tag me in your boujee dupes with #thePearlPages.
I was just sitting here thinking about this amazing boutique business that I own and how much it has changed over the almost FOUR YEARS I’ve been running it. Gosh, I can’t believe it’s been 4 years already! My LuLaRoe anniversary is coming up soon and I’m still so thankful I took a tremendous leap of faith and started this business.
I get so many messages, DMs, and questions about how I started, what I ACTUALLY do, and how the heck I’m able to travel and spend so much time with my family. So let’s talk about my gig, my boutique, my passion, my friends, my main income, my beautiful business that brings me joy—shall we??
Let’s back up four years ago. Iley was in kindergarten and Ada Pearl was about to be one. Mike’s store (Express) closed down so I was killing myself at the salon with INSANE 12-13 hour days. Mike was full-time Dad-ing, part-time at the coffee shop, and seeking opportunities. We were living in a rental and while we weren’t ‘hurting,’ I was paddling hard to keep us afloat while maintaining our main family goal: that one of us is always home for the kids.
So then there it was: LuLaRoe. Had I sold clothes before? Yes. Had I run a business? Yes. Did I understand what it fully entailed? No. Did I have the $6,000 to start this business?? HELL NO! (By the way—it now costs $499.) BUT I just could not shake the idea. Something just told me that this could be a way to both support ourselves and spend more time together as a family. After a month of deliberating, we borrowed $6,500 from one of our clients—yes, you read that right! We opened a business account, got a credit card, and went to work. I can’t believe we did it, $6,500 is A LOT of money. How did I have that much confidence? Or was it mere stupidity?? Whatever it was, I knew I was ready for a change, so I jumped.
Now before you have a panic attack, I paid back this client (with interest) and doubled my inventory (which was a goal at the time) all within 6 months. Yeah—how I did that is also mind-boggling to me. I did all of this while learning how to ship packages to customers, how to take pictures that showed off the clothes, how to throw parties that people enjoyed, how to work on social media by being ourselves, running a salon at full speed, and loving my babies and husband.
Before I knew it, I was growing a team, making lifelong friends, crushing goals, traveling all over the place, and taking part in the most mind-blowing conferences and meetings. I mean, the things that I’ve experienced because of LuLaRoe—it’s insane. My life has changed so much!! Slowly but surely, I was able to slow down at the salon and transition into the full-time LuLaRoe life. This meant doing hair on my terms: no more late nights, no more loong days, and most importantly, NO MORE MISSING MY KID’S EVENTS!!! I want to be able to cheer them on and see their smiles in person as much as possible—I haven’t missed a single school play or assembly since saying YES to LuLaRoe. For this, I’m forever so grateful.
And I can’t talk about my business without talking about the amazing, supportive group of women I get to call my customers. While I type this I want to cry just thinking about how much I love them and all they’ve done for me and my family. I mean, my business started because of a leap of faith but without them, none of it would have worked. None of it would have happened. None of it would have been as magical if it weren’t for my great, great customers. I love them so much! And now I have tears streaming down my face thinking of all the moments, all the events I have dressed them for. All the families! All the family pictures, job interviews, maternity pictures, funerals—all the big days. And all the big goals and all the times they showed up for me. Seeing them live their lives on social media wearing clothes from us. OK, now that my fingers are soaked from wiping my face…let’s see if I can finish this post.
As I mentioned, LuLaRoe has changed in so many ways over the past 4 years. First of all, it’s no longer $6,000, it’s $499 to start this journey—yeah, it’s bananas. You no longer need to have a giant space in your home to contain the mountain of LuLaRoe you carry. You can carry a small amount and still have a big business since we all work together to sell each other’s inventory. If you’re part of our Facebook community, you know I post my friends’ inventory all the time. It’s great because I can find the specific items my customers need while keeping my overhead low.
Having to become a pro photographer and wardrobe stylist? No longer necessary. LuLaRoe just announced they will be providing high-quality digital images for us boutique owners to use! What?? I know, this is HUGE! This new consistency will not only free up our time, it will better serve our customers. Now, of course, knowing how to take a flat lay for outfit pics is a great skill. But now you don’t have to think about if the colors will be accurate or the print will be clear—all we have to do is add the size we have in stock. My customers will flip over this. They’ve seen some great and not-so-great photos over the years and I can tell you that it makes a difference.
When I started we didn’t have our own websites. Heck, we barely had a point-of-sale system. Now, we have AMAZING personalized websites that have so many features I haven’t started to master half of them. Our point-of-sale system links with the shipping system, making that process a million times simpler. And they keep improving! I mean, it’s night and day from where we started with LuLaRoe.
I’m just so happy I did this. I’m so happy that I did it! I don’t know what on earth possessed me or if I would have the courage to do that today, but damn am I grateful I did it. I am so happy in both my businesses. I love the pace my salon is at. I love the time LuLaRoe allows me with my family. I love the relationships I have built with both. And I can’t wait to see where all of this takes us in the future.
So all of this to say—if there is some crazy big dream in your heart, GO FOR IT!!! Life is short. I didn’t know if it was possible for one of us to always be home for the kids without sacrificing, and now we don’t have to think twice about putting family first. I don’t know, maybe for someone reading this, LuLaRoe will help you live your crazy dream. Send me a message, DM me, text me, call me…I’m here to answer ALL of your questions. Stay safe, be kind, and dream big!
Hello! How are you? I hope you’re having a great day. We’ve been going full steam ahead over here with virtual school for our 10-year-old Iley, taking one day at a time and trying to make the most of it. Iley is absolutely LOVING virtual school. She thrives on anything with rules—and virtual school has A LOT of rules, lol. Iley’s all about the added responsibility and enjoys getting all of her tasks done with time to spare.
I know that even though she’s doing well, this adjustment has still been hard on her. I’ve been trying to add excitement where I can. The girls’ birthdays are also coming up and I’ve been thinking a lot about what to get this year. Seeing that Iley’s a virtual student, a virtual dancer, and doesn’t leave the house a whole bunch, I thought long and hard to come up with this list of gift ideas for virtual pre-teens. Whether you’re virtual learning this year or not, check out these fun, fashionable, Iley-approved outfits and accessories.
When your classmates only see you from the shoulders up, you need to decorate where you can!
Earrings were my very first thought. Iley is super allergic to metals so she doesn’t have her ears pierced anymore. We will play around with clip-ons though! I found these dangles on Amazon—there are a ton to choose from. The quality is less than exciting BUT she was super stoked anyway. I mean, she’s 11—I’m sure the donut earrings will last as long as she likes them, ya know??
Headbands are so in right now and Iley wears one every day anyway. Here are the headbands we love and swear by! So to jazz it up and make it exciting we got her these fancy headbands. So far, they are comfortable and super cute! The knot isn’t big and obnoxious. I can’t speak on durability or long-term wear, but first impression? They get a big thumbs up.
We buy velvet scrunchies in bulk from Amazon ALL THE TIME! But I felt like she needed some variety. We ordered these fancy scrunchies and I will say we did NOT get the ones pictured, but they’re cute nonetheless.
We’ve gone through several pairs of headphones since school started. Ear pods hurt Iley’s ears for the amount of time she needed to wear them so we looked for other options. She borrowed some from my gamer brother and finally landed on these over-the-ear gaming headphones. They do have a wire though, so we also picked up this wireless pair. We literally JUST got them, so far so good with both headphones—I’ll keep you updated if there’s a clear winner!
For back to school, we stocked up on cute matching lounge sets. Most of them came from Shein. We got everything on clearance and got 17 sets for under $200! I was pretty stoked about this and even more stoked when everything fit and was of decent quality. I did NOT have as much luck in the women’s or home sections but for kids, it’s a yes!! Also, a lot of the outfits on this site will make you raise an eyebrow…just keep scrolling.
What’s more exciting than back-to-school shoes? Well, a lot of things when you don’t leave your home, lol. So how about some fun house shoes instead?? Here are some fun and exciting virtual school shoes:
I hope this list has given you some ideas for the virtual girls in your life (or you, I mean some of this stuff is pretty cute 😉 ). Stay safe, be kind to one another and we’ll chat soon!
Ahhh, fall. Is there anything better than sweaters, baked goods, and warm drinks? GIVE ME ALL THE COZY THINGS!!! But mostly, I’m excited because we’re entering the season of some seriously good FOOD. If you like to eat as much as I do, you won’t want to miss this easy, scrumptious treat: Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Snacks!
Are they healthy? Debatable. I mean, it doesn’t have marshmallows in it. Then there’s the peanut butter, which depending on what your definition of healthy is, is healthy! And the sweetness isn’t from sugar, it’s from maple syrup—which after some Googling, I discovered has several health benefits. We’re talking antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, minerals, skin benefits and some have even suggested it can help with cancer. WHAT? I had no idea. No more shame in the maple syrup game ;). You could even sub out the egg and make it vegan, or use gluten-free oats for someone who’s allergic.
So here’s my fave “healthy-ish” fall recipe—it’s delicious warm from the oven, cold as an afternoon snack and they even freeze well!
Healthy-ish Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Snacks
Makes 9 servings. 25-minute cook time.
Ingredients you’ll need:
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup milk (almond is my fave)
1 big egg
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9×9 baking dish.
In a bowl, whisk together the oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl mash the bananas and mix in the peanut butter. Mix well, until they become one. Stir in the vanilla, maple syrup, and egg. When it’s fully mixed add the milk.
Add the oat mixture into the mashed banana mixture and stir well. It’s going to be very wet, don’t freak out. Dump in your greased pan and bake for 25 minutes—VOILA!
NOTE:You’ll know its done when the edges are brown and the center is a bit springy.
These delicious treats are good in your fridge for one week. Cut and wrap pieces individually for freezer storage.
**I came up with these nutrition facts based on the ingredients I personally used and my own math skills—I wouldn’t give yourself an insulin shot based on these counts, but for dieting, I bet it’s close enough (lol).**
I hope you love these healthy-ish snacks as much as we do. If you make them, share a pic and tag #thepearlpages so I can see—happy baking!
Anyone else taking on new projects around the house recently? Since we’re at home so much these days, I’ve been staring down this humdrum bookshelf. This dang thing has made me unhappy since the day I painted it yellow—it wasn’t right, it wasn’t enough, it wasn’t ‘me.’ Finally, I said ENOUGH and decided to change it up last week with a fresh coat of magenta paint. Boy did that send me down a rabbit hole of thoughts (you know me, lol).
Now I’m no painting pro, but I do love being able to change things up around the house with a new paint color. And when I’m painting, I’m in the zone. It’s almost like meditation. So as I’m painting a wild design on the back wall of this bookshelf, my thoughts started running through what I’ve learned and how I’m supported by the people in my life.
My husband, bless him, does his very best to keep his perfectionist mouth closed and focus on other things. Just to ease him, I did tape off the edges and even penciled out my design in advance. Then I thought of my father-in-law and how he’d be standing there about to have a coronary, watching my every move, wanting to tell me a better way to do it. He’d be eagerly waiting to touch up everything I missed and just dying to get his hands on my paintbrush to make sure it was washed appropriately.
My dad would just be shaking his head saying, “It’s your house.” My uncle would also be unsure of my design choices but happy that 1. I was using a good paintbrush and 2. that the design made me HAPPY. He’d take me to Lowes if I needed more supplies and would admire my work when I was done.
As I kept painting I chuckled, thinking about all the different methods of support and assistance the people in my life would offer. Mostly, I smiled at the fact that even with all of those different opinions and personalities, NO ONE would object, no one would argue, and while this brightly patterned magenta bookshelf is in nobody’s taste but my own, they would each support me and my choices in their way.
Now back to reality—my daughters are directly under my feet coloring as I paint. I said out loud, “Man, don’t you hate it when you make a tiny mistake, and when you try to fix it, it just gets bigger and bigger?” And my 10-year-old Iley goes, “Yeah, but that’s usually my favorite part. You just have to keep going and going. Sometimes you even stop and go, ‘Gosh, I ruined it,’ but you just keep going. In the end, it always looks great.” I stood there in awe like, “whoa kid, did you just call it or what?” After thinking about support and ‘teaching moments’ and one happens just like that!
How many times in life have you felt you’ve really made a mess of something? How many times has ‘one little thing’ turned into a big mess of a thing that you thought you would never survive, fix, get over or come out on the other side?? And then in the end—hours, days, years, decades later, you look back and marvel at every little step that got you to the end. We never understand why we are struggling or what it’s all for. BUT it’s all a part of the big picture—if we just KEEP GOING we can look back and see how all those little mistakes could quite possibly turn into the best part.
Funny how a little home improvement turned into some SELF improvement! This bookshelf doesn’t exactly ‘make sense.’ I don’t have magenta anywhere else in my house. It doesn’t ‘go’ with any mood board or ‘color story’ but it makes me happy. So today I’m here to remind you that there are no rules. Do what makes you happy. Do what makes you feel good. Do what makes you feel something. It’s your life, your home, your body. Do you and don’t worry about anyone else.
I feel so blessed to feel supported by so many people who remind me of just that. And if you don’t have a support system in your life, join our Facebook community. We’re all about supporting our fellow sisters as you DO YOU! Stay safe and be kind.
I don’t know about you, but COVID life has me feeling less than glamorous. There are no upcoming trips to prep for, no big conferences to shop for, no real reason to get fabulous other than for your own sanity. I’m so grateful my family and I have stayed healthy through all of this but on the other hand…I miss doing all the stuff!
So since we don’t have anything big on the horizon yet, why not upgrade our beauty and skincare at home NOW? These beauty products do double duty—they’re awesome for travel, but also perfect for making your everyday routine a little more special. These aren’t the “flawless for an instant” type of products, nope, these actually improve your skin, hair, and LIFE. And when that day comes and we do get to gather and travel again, you’ll feel so pampered everyone will think you’ve spent all of quarantine at the spa. Dive into some self-care and ENJOY!
Rose Face Mist
I have been loving this rose spray by Grace & Stella. Moisturize, hydrate, balance, prime your face, set your makeup—this spray does all the things. Which is perfect when you’re traveling or if you’re just looking to streamline the number of products you’re using. Plus it smells great and just feels nice! This spray also works well with a….
These jade rollers pair with your fave skincare to reduce tension, fine lines, and that puffiness you get from insomnia or stress. I’m not 100% sure these things do as much as everyone says, but jade rolling does feel really nice and it’s a great way to start the day. Keep it in the freezer and you’ll really be feeling like you’re relaxing on vacation.
I’m a big fan of these eye masks from Grace & Stella. I take eye masks any time I travel because I never sleep and my face blows up like a balloon. These really do help with dark circles and puffiness and again they FEEL GOOD. This pack comes with 12 pairs of eye masks so you’ll have plenty for home and when you take a trip.
Body & Foot Scrub
I don’t know about your household but we’re big on foot health around here (with all of the diabetes running about in our family). Not to mention, I really miss pedicures :(. I would get a pedicure before every trip and well…my toes really miss it. BUT thanks to this salt scrub from Brooklyn Botany, my feet are as healthy as if I just left the spa. More than that, I really just love the way this feels—and right now, I’m appreciating every relaxing experience I can!
Ok, have you tried dry brushing yet? It’s a great way to exfoliate and keep your skin healthy and clean feeling. This body brush fits my hand and has held up well so far. You guys know I love sunless tanning and dry brushing is perfect prep for that. But what I really love is that it’s non-toxic and doesn’t require any additional products—easy to throw in your bag if you’re traveling. I’m about anything that will keep my skin radiant and younger-looking, so I’m sold on dry brushing.
If you don’t already know, a silk pillowcase is AMAZING for your hair. It eases frizz and reduces breakage, and is extra great for curly girls. It also does wonders for your skin so you wake up looking more hydrated and refreshed. Not to mention, it just makes you feel like a pampered celebrity. You know JLo has to have one when she travels and I don’t mind feeling like JLo at the end of the day.
Flat Iron Mat & Case
These next two are just little gadgets that make primping easier. This silicone mat is great for home, keeping your iron secure on the counter so it doesn’t slide off and burn your foot (or child). But when you’re traveling this thing is a must! Is there anything worse than having to pack a hot iron? I’m always stressed I’ll melt something. Just pop your iron in the case and you’re good to go. It’s perfect for all your other heat tools for dance trips too!
Makeup Brush Cleaner
This is a godsend when it comes to dance trips—a waterless makeup brush cleaner! So many different eyeshadows and contours being used for that smokey eye and barely any time for cleaning in between. This helps avoid the dreaded moment where you grab the WRONG dirty brush for that final stroke across the lid 😦 (has anyone else experienced this?!). I LOVE THIS THING!
And there you have it—8 beauty products that are a lifesaver whether you’re home or away! Have you tried any of these before? Is it love? Do you have something that’s making you feel glamorous during this un-glamorous time? Do tell!! I hope you’re safe. I hope you’re having a fabulous day. Be kind to each other and let’s keep chatting over on IG!
How are you? No really, how ARE you? I hope you’re having a fantastic day. You know what makes me feel better sometimes? A good hair day. So I’m passing on a good hair day to you with this blog. You guys have been loving the hair tutorials and asking for more—here’s how to do an easy, heatless, everyday updo.
This easy hairstyle is perfect for looking put together fast. You know, like when you forgot about that important Zoom meeting or you said yes to last-minute plans and there’s no time to wash your hair. Maybe you’re looking for a heatless updo to protect your hair. Or you’ve got an event and can’t get to the salon—I got you.
And I KNOW braiding stresses some of you out so guess what?? No super braiding abilities needed. The best part? You don’t need ANY fancy tools or expensive products for this hairstyle and it works great with dirty hair, clean hair, short hair, long hair…any hair. So watch the video, read the post, and give it a try for yourself!
To start, brush your hair and get all of the tangles out.
Find your part.
Take a big section of hair from the front and divide it into two sections. I like to take fat sections for a chunky twist.
Twist both sections separately, but both twisting TOWARDS your face.
Then, cross the front section AWAY from your face and over the back piece.
Add hair to the new back piece and twist the whole thing towards your face.
Add hair to the new front piece and twist the whole thing towards your face.
Cross the front section away from your face and over the back piece.
When you get down to your hairline, secure your hair with a tie. Make a traditional “gym bun” bun, like a half-pulled-through ponytail. Wrap the ends around the hair tie and tuck in, just like my messy bun tutorial.
To finish, pull on your twists a little—don’t be shy, get in there and mess ‘em up! Using your bobby pins, secure any loose hairs, get it into the shape you want, and hide your hair tie. Give yourself a quick spritz of hair spray and you’re good to go!
So how easy is that? Under 10 minutes to a super cute updo that’s sure to snazz up any dirty hair day. 😉 Got questions? Leave them in the comments or DM me on Instagram. Try it out? Tag me with #thePearlPages. Thank you so much for reading! Stay safe & be kind.
So in case you haven’t heard, my 10-year-old Iley started her very own business! I’m so proud of her. It’s called By Iley and she hand-makes the most beautiful earrings. I’ve been asked so many questions about how she got started, how she makes them, how it all happened…so here it is!
As you know, we’ve taken this pandemic very seriously. For Iley that meant no school, no dance, no movie nights with her uncle, and no staying at her Nanny’s. She’s had some social distance visits (she has a super sweet friend that’s a rule-follower, praise Jesus!) but that’s been about it.
Our Iley LOVES art. So to keep her occupied we started getting her every kind of art supply you can imagine. She cruised through markers, pencils, pastels, and paints pretty quickly. Next, I bought her clay and everything you would need to start creating—cutters, adhesives, a press, a variety of clay colors, all the things. She and little sister Ada (4) got so excited!
One day while playing around with the clay, Iley made a pair of earrings—and they were CUTE. She just kept making them and they got cuter and cuter. So we started thinking about what we’d need to launch By Iley. My friend Stacie helped with the logo and we overlayed it onto some of Iley’s drawings. I sent that over to a local printing company (Willis & Associates, I do their hair) to be made into earring cards. We officially had marketing materials, and boom—a business was born!
Now we sit down as a family every Sunday and spend the day creating. Iley lays out the colors, tells us a few plans and we vote on which designs to create for that week’s launch. Currently, she is into making custom colors. Ada is also awesome at making colors! Her little hands, I don’t understand it, but somehow they’re perfect for squeezing and mixing clay. Ada makes the cutest sculptures and is convinced she’ll have a sculpture business someday too.
We’ve got a whole process down. Iley starts by making the slabs of clay. Mike and I help her decide how to cut the shapes so get the most out of each slab. Then she makes rainbows out of the leftover colors. The rainbows have been a huge hit! We bake the cut-out shapes. Once baked, Mike and I sand them, which is so time-consuming, so Iley is now learning and practicing how to sand too. Finally, Mike and I polish and assemble the earrings. And to make sure they’re worthy of everyone’s purchase, we do a quality control check.
Iley restocks her Etsy shop every Friday at noon CST. Mike takes the pictures (you might remember them from my Take Awesome Product Photos blog), I create the listings. This is another task Iley will be taking on now that she’s learned how it works and what type of info customers want. Iley and I work together on her social media posts, strictly because my 10-year-old doesn’t need to be on social media. Iley and Ada pack the shipments together, Iley sends shipping notifications, and Mike labels the packages. It truly is a family affair!
The biggest initial supporters of Iley’s business have been my fellow retailers. You know those amazing women I told you about last week, my sisters?? Some of them I haven’t even met—and here they are showing up for my daughter and supporting her. Speaking of support, for each pair of earrings sold, Iley donates $1 to a cause of her choice. Last month she chose America’s Kids Belong, a non-profit supporting those who age out of the foster care system. This month she chose Solace House of The Ozarks, a local end of life home. One of my customers is a volunteer there and when she talks about it her face gets all warm and fuzzy—we knew this was the kind of place we wanted to support.
I love that she’s seeing from an early age all the steps and effort that goes into running a business. She’s already made comments about how hard it is! As she continues and learns more, this business will be a great thing for her. We talk about how much everything costs, what overhead means, what margins are, and the importance of customer service, which has been the biggest lesson at this point. Her hand starts to hurt while she writes her Thank You notes, lol. I had to explain to her: these earrings could cost someone 2 hours’ worth of work. That’s 2 whole hours that someone worked so they could have these earrings. They could buy earrings ANYWHERE and they are choosing to shop with you—how amazing and wonderful is that? The very least you can do is send them a proper ‘Thank you!’ Now that she’s somewhat aware of what 2 hours of work looks like, I think she gets it…she doesn’t complain about her hand nearly as much. And also, how amazing is it she has so many Thank Yous to write that her hand hurts!
If you’ve already followed her business on Instagram, checked out her Etsy shop, or made a purchase, I hope this post helps you know just how much we appreciate it and how much love goes into Iley’s designs! Have your kids ever started their own businesses? Did you have one as a kid? Tell me all about it in the comments! Oh, and if you grab a pair of earrings, be sure to tag us!!
What’s it like to work in social retail? Hmmmmm…it’s only the best EVER! You might be wondering, “What is social retail??” There are a lot of definitions out there—most having to do with what it once was and less about what it’s turned into. In my book, social retail is sharing products you love on social media, keeping it real, and engaging with people personally. And for me and my family, it’s been life-changing! I love my social retail boutique for a million and one reasons, but the main reason, the key ingredient, is the PEOPLE.
I run a family business on every level. My family runs my LuLaRoe boutique. From unloading boxes, hanging inventory, going live, taking pictures, folding up orders, packing, and shipping. Everyone in the house has a job. My girls are usually on unboxing duty, although Ada (4) loves to hop on our live streams and chat with her “friends.” And after seeing what we do, the girls have even started up their own businesses: Iley started selling her handmade earrings on Etsy to rave reviews and Ada resells honey products from a local vendor (catch one of her live sales on our Facebook page).
Running a LuLaRoe boutique also means I run my business with a band of sisters. We all work together. We help each other find the pieces our customers want (and the ones they don’t know they want yet 😉 ). We support each other. We do fundraisers together, literally changing lives. We even sell for each other. Yup—when one of us is down, others will actually step in to help run our business. We’re not coworkers, we’re not a team, we are SISTERS. We care about each other more than the bottom line and for that, I am SO GRATEFUL. I’ve made my very best friends in this business.
My customers? They’re my family. Having a group on social media and being able to chat with and get to know my customers is a giant blessing. I love trading stories with my customers. My group of customers is the first to know everything that happens in our life. When my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes we literally told our parents and then gave the play-by-play to our shopping community, not on our personal pages. Our group is literally our family. I can’t even explain how amazing it’s been to create a community with these women. Especially now, when people can’t get out, can’t socialize, can’t shop—we can do all of those things virtually. Now more than ever it’s been really special to have this close-knit community to connect with.
I consider LuLaRoe family too. I’m not a “top dog” in the company and I still have the founder’s personal number in my phone. I get messages and texts from the LLR Home Office just to ask how I am. They’re rooting for me on the good days and the bad days. They know my kids’ names. I couldn’t be more fortunate. The clothes are amazing and allow to me serve ALL women. The added bonus of feeling like family? Priceless.
I’ve been in this amazing circle of FAMILY from every angle for almost 4 years now and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I love the clothes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten compliments on an outfit and heard, “That’s LuLaRoe? Really??” Yes really, this stuff is CUTE!! I love that I can make outfits for any woman. Any size, any style, any occupation: I have something for you. I love the inclusivity.
I love that I can work from anywhere that has wifi. I love that I can provide women a safe space to share stories and make new friends. Seeing my customers become friends outside of the Facebook group is MAGIC. I love seeing them comment on each other’s posts and getting to know one another. I love that I can fundraise for any cause, knowing I can make an impact. And guess what—LuLaRoe also matches my donations. YES! So if I raise $100, LuLaRoe will also cut a check for $100. AMAZING.
Did I mention I get to travel ALL OVER?! I’ve been to so many places with LuLaRoe I can’t even list them. It feels so weird not having been on an airplane in 7 months! The LLR Home Office is in California so I go there a few times a year. I’ve been to Wyoming, New York, Phoenix, Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas. I got to meet Rachel Hollis! I’ve heard Randy Zuckerberg, Lisa Nichols, Brendon Burchard, and so many other leaders and CEOS…it’s NUTS! LuLaRoe sent Mike and me on a seriously LIFE-CHANGING journey in Wyoming. It wasn’t even business-related, it was more like therapy. It was about identity and life, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and we got to apply lessons to working with horses. I can’t explain it properly but just know it was awesome. All of these crazy, amazing life experiences are because of Lularoe.
So why am I writing this? First of all, because I get sooo many questions about social retail that I figured I’d answer here in case someone’s too shy to ask. And mostly because I want everyone to enjoy the same awesomeness we do! If you haven’t already, join our Facebook group and see what I’m talking about. You know I love chatting with you, so please please please don’t be afraid to ask me ANYTHING about the clothes, the company, being a boutique owner…anything! I hope this answered a lot of your questions about social retail. Stay safe and be kind to one another.