Hey everyone :)
I started my business back in 2013 when I was a freshman in high school. When I graduated & enrolled in a University, I decided to take a little break. I used that time to get situated in my new city, Charlotte, decide what I wanted to study, and quite honestly I didn't have the space for my business set up in my very, very tiny dorm room (that I also had to share with a roommate). I truly missed working so much and finally made the decision to start accepting orders again the summer of 2018. I started an Etsy account to kick off a new era of Coastal Prep Shop!
My first three months of college after reopening were spent in a hotel room. The student living apartment complex that I had signed a lease at wasn't finished building and they put all of us up in hotels until we were able to move in (which was literally mid-November). Orders were in full swing so I set up shop on my hotel desk and used the dressers and basically all of my floor space to store materials, finished product, machinery, shipping materials, etc. I'll be honest and admit it was a complete mess, but I made it work and my business grew so much during that time!
Greek Letter Shirts
Because I am actually crazy, I decided that it was a good time to start making greek letter shirts (while still living out of the hotel room...). I had always wanted to create greek letter shirts for myself and to possibly sell in the future, so why not now LOL?! This decision expanded my business in the best way possible and I don't regret it for one second.
When I was finally able to move in to my apartment, I purchased my first desk and set it up in my closet. I live in student living so the bedrooms are extremely tiny. It is one of those sit & stand desks, which is perfect for me and how I work. I started to feel like a real business woman when I purchased this desk :)
First Pop Up Shop
I applied to be a vendor at the Girl Tribe Pop-Up Shop. Girl Tribe is a local women-owned business that puts on multiple pop-up shop events around the surrounding areas of North Carolina for other women-owned businesses! As I had never participated in one before, I had to design and build my own booth (which I have absolutely no experience with). After multiple trips to hardware stores, Target & IKEA my booth finally came together! The pop-up weekend was nothing like I had ever experienced before - seriously SUCH a fun time! I met many inspiring women business owners, chatted with lots of customers, and did a lot of shopping for myself (whoops!)
Broken Sewing Machine
The day before Christmas Eve, my sewing machine died. This machine was previously my moms and had been in the family for at least 20+ years. Thankfully, I had already finished all my Christmas orders when this happened. I knew this time was coming so I had been planning to purchase an embroidery/sewing combination machine to further expand my business in the future. The machine that I currently use now is the Bernina 560 Sewing/Embroidery machine. It is absolutely perfect for me because it can sew AND embroider. Having two different machines wasn't going to work with my current space issue in my apartment. It also came with handy little bags to carry back and forth since I go back and forth between my house in Raleigh and my apartment in Charlotte a lot!
This was way overdue and I am so happy with how it turned out. I made it myself on Adobe and incorporated some of my favorite colors - purple, pink, and metallic gold. I think it is a very good representation of who I am and what my business is!
Legal NC Business
Coastal Prep Shop is officially a legal business in North Carolina! This is a little bit of a boring thing, but such a huge step in my small business.
More Pop Up Shops
Throughout my spring semester in college, I participated in various Girl Tribe pop-up shops throughout Charlotte. I have met so many other incredible women business owners and amazing customers! I love decorating my booth and coming up with fun new product ideas to debut for the first time at these events!
1000 Etsy Sales
I hadn't even been on Etsy for a year before I hit 1000 sales! This is a huge accomplishment and I am so proud of myself!
I wouldn't change anything about this past year. I have grown so much and learned so much! I have some really fun stuff coming up and I am so excited to share it with you all! Thank you guys for supporting me and allowing me to live my dream!
xoxo, Haley <3