Today's Miss Independent is Rachel Mercier, owner of Mercier Beaucoup!
Rachel's story is pretty interesting, and I love that she pursued her dreams to do what she does now! She runs the most adorable stationery store, and it even features some cute jewelry! She sells cards from one of my favorite places too, Rifle Paper Co. Rachel's store also offers monthly subscriptions for the true stationery fanatics who just love to collect it or have stationery on hand.
Rachel was also just in Costa Rica for her honeymoon!
Check out this cute video she posted on her blog:
1. What made you decide to start your own business?
I worked in the field of city planning and small business development for seven years, and always toyed with the idea of breaking free from the pack and indulging both my creative and analytical sides! I started a blog over a year ago just as a personal experiment to explore some of my passions such as floral design, stationery, wedding details, and lifestyle products. The blog grew, and I started exploring ways to make it into a full time business. The Stationery Shop was born!
Working with and watching other small businesses gave me some valuable tools (mainly confidence) that I could have my own business. The timing was right for me personally and professionally, so it felt like now or never and I chose now! The biggest factor that helped me commit was my fiance Andy. He was incredibly supportive and encouraging, and without him cheering me on I would have never been able to make the leap and enduring the initial roller coaster of being a new small business owner.
2. What was your biggest risk or fear about starting a business?
Honestly, failing was never a fear in my mind. I would say my biggest fear was what people would think. I spent a lot of time and energy to become what I considered a real professional - going to a demanding graduate program and then working my way up the ranks along a more traditional career path. In a way, I was afraid that I was throwing away a lot of hard work to switch gears. In reality, that experience and the discipline I learned from my past work and educational experiences have served me very well.
There were definitely a lot of puzzling facial expressions from colleagues when I told them what I was leaving my job to do. Haha.
3. How did you know what you wanted to do?
I have always loved stationery and have been a hoarder of paper goods from a young age. I would buy gorgeous cards at stores with people and holidays in mind, but when push came to shove, could never release the cards from my grasp. But I didn't always knew that I wanted to be in the stationery business. It wasn't until I started my blog, that I got deeply into the craft, technique, color, and design elements and developed a real appreciations and knowledge of the industry.
4. What support system do you have for your business to help you stay motivated?
I definitely have a lot of support from family and friends, especially at my home base (Andy and our dog Frida). Everyone has been incredibly positive and encouraging, and are always willing to lend a helping hand if I need the extra boost! I owe a lot of my start-up to both friends and family. For example, my friend Betsy Blazar did all of my branding and identity. And my friend Tory Williams is a professional photographer and photographed my entire inventory. I could not have gotten up and running so quickly without these talented ladies!
I have found fun collaborations with friends and family too. For example, my sister Kelsey is a chef and made sea salted caramels for a holiday promotion and my friend Brita designs jewelry so we offered gorgeous necklaces for Valentine's. It's been great to work on collaborations and fun to work with new product.
5. What is your biggest challenge about running your own business?
The biggest challenge (but also the most fun) is doing everything for the first time. It can be both incredibly frustrating, but also rewarding! Another major challenge is maintaining regular work hours. I rarely shut off my computer after 5PM - there is a temptation and compulsion to work around the clock which is not always a good thing!
6. What is the best advice you have for someone wanting to start a business?
Be flexible and be open to new opportunities. A few people told me this when I was starting up, and I didn't exactly know what that would mean, but now I do! The business will shift, ideas will change, you will get bored, you will meet new people or see new product that influences you so staying nimble and being open to exploring new options is SO important and makes the experience way more fun too!
So much fun right? A HUGE thanks to Rachel for participating amongst all her life events (a wedding AND a birthday!)
(PS) Be sure to stop by her blog and wish her Happy Birthday
(it was yesterday)!