Sweet Taste of Freedom: Brookeside Betty's

 Brookside Betty's

Twitter: BrooksideBetty
Instagram: brooksidebetty

When did your business launch? 

May 28th, 2014, so we're still relatively new in town.

What is your business about?  

Dresses, dresses and more dresses. Beautiful retro inspired fashion for all women.

What is it that you do/sell? 
Brookside Betty's is a retro inspired dress shop. Our goal is to provide an intimate boutique atmosphere where all women can find dresses they love. To that we offer dresses in sizes XS-3X, and occasionally 4x, whenever possible. Our price point is between $55-$165, so we do work hard to find beautiful dresses that are affordable. We also have accessories such as purses, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, stockings and more.

What gave your the inspiration or motivation for your business? 

Where to begin? I've wanted to do this for years. I was a history teacher for 8 years, and have always loved the elegance and femininity found in 40s and 50s fashion. I also wanted a dress shop in my neighborhood. I'm not a petite flower, so I wanted to open a dress shop that had a lot to offer both slim and curvy girls. 

Do you do this full time/part time? 

This is a full time gig. I took a leap, and left teaching. I am so glad I made the change.

How has your life changed since starting your business? 

Compared to teaching, I actually have more free time. More importantly I meet so many great people on a daily basis. I love my regulars.

What is the biggest obstacle you have encountered? 
Finances. We opened the last weekend of May, and have been steadily growing, but I still have concerns that we were underfunded, and that it's not growing as fast as it could. With the holidays coming I'd like to bring in significantly more inventory, but I have to use a little restraint, because we are new, the shop is relatively small, and having worked retail in the past I know January and February are slow. It's a tricky balance.

What is something you thought was going to be hard, but turned out to be simple, in regards to your business? 
Opening the store itself seemed like a huge task. We got in the space the end of April and opened May 28th. I was still working full time, and the bulk of the work was being done by myself and my husband. There was inventory to be ordered, steamed and displayed, a store to be painted, fixtures to build, choosing a pos system and so much more. I finished grading finals the week before the shop opened, but everything fell into place. It seemed like almost an impossible task, but friends and strangers stepped in and helped at just the right times.

What has been your biggest success to date? 

Seeing people out and about wearing Brookside Betty's dresses.

Do you have any big plans/ideas/launches planned for 2015? 
We are looking to bring cosmetics to Brookside Betty's. Right now we are looking into Besame and Bomber Betty.

What would you like to share with COAST readers about your company/business? 

I'd just like to invite them to shop our store.

Lastly, what is the advice you would give to someone looking to start a company or business similar to yours?

Do it. You can spend your whole life waiting for the perfect time, but if you have the drive, you can make it happen now. A close friend once referred to me as a force, half teasing becauI will work hard, problem solve, and do whatever it takes to achieve my goals. I think when you are building a business from the bottom up you have to have that kind of drive.

Top 10 things I miss about my childhood.

  1. Summer Break, Winter Break, Spring Break.  Really a break of any kind.   I think that there is something to be said about only getting a tiny slice of time off from work when you are an adult.  I have been working since I was 16 years old, and really have only taken one true vacation.  I am not sure why our country has such an uptight view on vacation, or time off.  I mean even when I am not clocked in to my "day" job, I am working on my other 10 jobs.  I don't ever really stop working.  Now, I realize that because of my work ethic, I am achieving goals that I set, but I really miss just being able to have zero plans, waking up with the sunlight, and just hours of total freedom ahead of me.
  2. Playing Games. No, not relationship games.  I used to spend so much time with my siblings, or friends playing games.  Actual games.  Scrabble, Life, Candy Land, etc.  I really miss just bugging my brother to play the game of life with me.  I haven't played an actual board game, or really a card game, in too long to remember, and to me, that is sad.  I spend too much time with my phone in my hand.  I really need to put it away.
  3. Growing up without electronic everything.  Since I was born on the cusp of really needing/wanting the internet for daily use, my family didn't have a lot of electronics.  I was born in 1982, and I don't think we had a nintendo until I was around 12 or 13.  It wasn't even mine, it was my brothers.  I didn't get a computer until I was in college, and I only got it because at that point, I needed it for papers and such.  I was on Facebook when you had to have a "school email address" to get on it, and really no one in the midwest was that interesting.  I am glad that I got to make mistakes in my childhood, that are not forever documented on the internet.  It does make me sad, in a few instances, that I don't have as much to pull from, in terms of memories.  I mean, our cameras still used film, and no one's cell phone had a camera.  If you were even lucky enough to have a cell phone.
  4. Playing sports.  I was always involved in some sort of athletic activity, for as long as I can remember.  I played volleyball, basketball, softball, track, cheerleading, and gymnastics for many years.  Once I got into high school, I had to narrow my scope, so I just did cheerleading, gymnastics and softball.  My senior year I injured my knee really badly, and pretty much had to give up sports for awhile.  I have stayed active as an adult.  I played roller derby for 5 years, until my knees blew apart and I just couldn't do it anymore.  Now I take pole fitness classes, so my taste for athleticism is a little different, but I just miss playing a sport.  I miss having 4 hours to just practice, or run, or just be.
  5. Riding my bike.  My brother and I would ride our bikes for hours. HOURS.  I think when you are young, you just don't realize the amount of energy you are expending, but just love the moment.  My family lived out in the country, so we would just ride our bikes everywhere and never thought anything about it.  I don't even own a bike now.
  6. Hanging out with my cousins.  I have a lot of cousins, on both sides of my family.  I was so lucky to have good relationships with them, and spent many a weekend being the best of friends.  As adults, that live far apart, it is hard to see them as much as I would like.  I am glad I can keep track of them on social media, but its not the same.
  7. Not Driving.  This one is probably silly to you all, but I hate driving.  I mean, hate it.  I hate it so much, that when I think about being 16 and just not being able to wait to drive, it makes me roll my eyes, and laugh.  In fact a lot about being 16 is wishing you were older.  Wishing you were 18 and graduating.  Wishing you were 21 and drinking (legally).  I wasted so much time wishing I were older.  But really, 
  8. Talking on the phone.  Ok, with this one, I mean talking on the phone to your girlfriends late at night, or talking to the boy you are crushing on.  Take away all of the emoji's and all of the mixed messages that texting send.  Its just you, the other person, and what you and they say is exactly what you mean.  I miss hearing someone on the other end of the phone.  I am an avid text-er and I am horrible about actually answering my phone when people call me.  I hate that I have evolved into this.  I was really good about calling my mom once a week, and just talking to her.  Perhaps I need to call her.....
  9. Small things that were big accomplishments.  Do you remember learning how to read? Or the day you learned to tie your shoes?  I mean, in the grand scheme of things tying your shoes is not the biggest day of your life, but when you are 4 or 5, that is a BIG thing.  Don't get me wrong, I am still learning things each day, but nothing as exciting as learning those very small things that make my life so much easier today.  Or perhaps I am just not taking as much stock in the things I learn as an adult.  I mean yes, I know how to solve for "x", I know how to read biblical hebrew, etc.  I just think it is amazing to see a child do something for the first time, and relish in the achievement.
  10. Getting something in the mail.  It is rare that I get something in the mail that is not a bill.  Do you remember the excitement of actually getting something, addressed to you, in the mail?  It is the best feeling in the world.  I miss that.

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