You know those girls that you notice in a crowded room? The ones who command attention with their style or smile or laugh or grace. The first time I saw Randee we were both vendors at an event called Her Best Fucking Brunch. I had followed her previously on Instagram but never had the pleasure of meeting her. When I saw her at the event, she was definitely one of those girls who gets your attention. First of all, her business, Avabelle Boutique, is an online store and mobile boutique that is jam-packed with adorable, girly, and sophisticated clothing items and accessories. Second, Randee is beautiful and not just because she is traditionally beautiful and put together, but because her smile literally makes you immediately feel like she could be your friend.
After the event, I was so happy to see that Randee joined the women's mentorship group that I had already been a member of. We were grouped together into a smaller group within the group and I immediately felt a connection with her and some of the other ladies. I feel so very lucky that I have gotten to know her better and to be able to see and be inspired by her work ethic.
Randee is an inspiration to so many female entrepreneurs in Michigan and beyond. She is also a great girl with an fun story of making it to where she is today. Read more about Randee's journey below...
Your Business / Service Name(s)
What is Your Website? Insta Handle? (Or However Else We Can Find You!)
www.shopavabelle.com @shopavabelle on IG and FB, we also have a FB VIP group "Avabelle Boutique - VIP"
Why Did You Decide To Start Your Business?
I've always had a love for fashion and have always wanted to be a buyer and own a store. I love talking about fashion, putting outfits together, and sharing them with women.
Do You Have a Blog, Podcast, or Youtube Channel? Tell Us About It!
There is a blog on my site but I'm working on getting better at posting on it more regularly.
What Is The Best Advice You Can Give to A Woman Starting Her Business Venture?
Just start! I remember the scariest part in the beginning was just telling people I had made the decision to go for it. Once I said it, it became real. No one knows what they're doing in the beginning, but start making moves and taking action - you'll figure it all out as you go.
What Is Something Most People Don't Know About You?
I played piano & violin growing up. I also took french class from age 7 through the end of college & did a study abroad in Paris. I took every type of dance class possible and I still love to dance!
What Does Your Typical Day Look Like?
Each day is different but I'll do my best here:
7-8am before checking my phone I have my coffee while writing out my gratitudes, I do a bit of journaling, and decide how I want my day to feel (thanks to Cat for teaching me this new routine as part of her BE camp - highly recommend).
8am I check social notifications, emails, and reply to those, then I post on social and try to add a few things to stories.
9am depending on the day sometimes I work out at this time after picking up the house a bit. Or if it's a photoshoot day I'm getting ready at this time. Or if it's an order packing day I pull all orders, print packing slips, and shipping labels.
12pm lunch, followed by photos, or packing orders depends on the day.
2pm vendor calls, searching for new inventory to order, or a trip to the post office. 3pm unpack new inventory, hang it, weigh it, name it, add it to inventory and write a product description, print labels for tags, and tag the items (this is actually a process that usually takes a few days to complete).
4pm steam new items so they're photo ready
5pm finish tagging or pulling orders, anything that hasn't gotten done yet.
7pm put the house back together so it feels like a home instead of a warehouse. 8pm take Mia for a walk, post on social again and check notifications, respond to DM's.
9pm I try to be off my phone by this time but it doesn't always happen.
10pm bedtime (or at least that's the goal)
Who Are Some Women That Inspire You? (Globally and Locally)
Cara Alwill - I've read almost all of her books, & I love her podcast - she's been one of my long time favs.
Cat Golden - I need more of what this babe is dishing out! Love her book recommendations, loving all of her realness, and thankful she told me about these LBS_metrodetroit IG live workouts
Amanda Frances - This woman is helping me broaden my mindset around wealth and how we view money. She is helping me level UP!
Amanda Adamcheck - For teaching me all the tips & tricks I never knew I needed to run my biz more efficiently. Also cheering me on to think BIGGER, and order MORE, and eventually I'll go live :)
What Was One Huge Business Flop or Problem That You Had to Endure and How Did You Handle That?
There have been so many small struggles and lessons along the way, luckily nothing major or huge. But at a market in December 2019 the mobile boutique battery died and I couldn't get it started after the market ended. It was our very last market of the season, the propane heaters I got didn't work all day so we'd been freezing for 10 hours - more than ready to go home. I had to wait another 2 hours for the battery to charge on another vendors truck before I could get it started and drive home. All because I forgot to turn the headlights off when we arrived in the morning - oops!
What Accomplishment Are You Most Proud Of?
I'm really proud of myself for starting and never giving up, even when it meant I had to work 90 hour weeks and give up my social life for a few years. I own a home and pay all my bills myself, I had to bust my ass to make this side hustle my full time. But I did it, and it's still a ton of work, but I love it and I wouldn't ever change it.
What Do You Do For Self Care?
Well before quarantine I would go to Orange Theory Fitness 3 times a week. I get giddy excited (most days) on my way there because it is more than such a great workout. It's stress relief for me, and it helps my mood and all the things! It's my ONE hour all to myself where I get to put my phone in a locker, and the only focus is the workout. I don't even really have to think about the workout - the coach tells you what to do. It's sort of a mental break where I'm fully focused on something other than the million things that race through my head the rest of the day.
What Jobs Did You Work Before You Created Your Business? Tell Us Your Journey.
I graduated from Michigan State in 2008 during the recession, my first job was an I.T. Recruiter for a staffing firm. I hated it, but I stayed for a year because that's what they said I should do.
After that I worked for a wholesale fashion showroom out of Chicago - the experience was similar to Devil Wears Prada - I did that for a short 6 months and drove home in tears.
Then I began my career in cosmetics, I went to work in the Cosmetic Department at Nordstrom. I worked for Philosophy (6 months), then Trish McEvoy (1.5 years), and then Bobbi Brown (1.5 years).
After that I took a position in finance setting up retirement accounts for public school employees. During that time I was also side hustling, doing wedding makeup, freelancing for Benefit Cosmetics, Trish McEvoy, and Bobbi Brown, I also worked the beer cart at a local golf course in the summer. It was during this time I decided to start my business - because who doesn't want to add a 7th job to the mix?!
In 2015 I started my biz while working that handful of other jobs. Then in 2016 I quit 5 jobs and took 1 full time job while also running my shop. I worked for IT Cosmetics as an Account Coordinator. I covered southeast Michigan, northwest Ohio, as well as mid and west Michigan. As my business grew, I began working 80-90 hours/week consistently.
In August 2018 after MANY tears, much discussion, internal struggling, and lots and lots of saving, I put in my resignation with IT Cosmetics to go FULL TIME ENTREPRENEUR - whaaaaat!!!
Give Us Five Fun Facts About You!
1. I could live on pizza, nachos, & taco bell.
2. Red wine is my fav - specifically a really great cabernet.
3. I LOVE music. I can get down to Sinatra, or Lil Wayne - depends on my mood.
4. I'm named after my dad & everyone thinks I look just like him - his name was Randy (with a y).
5. My mom & my dog Mia are my best friends - I'm obsessed with both of them!
What Sign Are You? Are You Into Astrology?
I'm an Aries, but not far from Pisces so I usually read both.
Do You Know Your Enneagram? If So, What Is It?
I am a 3, but also ranked very high with a 1. Still trying to learn about these!
What One Word Represents You Most.
What is Your Favorite The Posh Shop Co Product?
Aries Pencil Set - duh! Oh and anything Kris Jenner related!