The Lovely Life
Life, Love and the Pursuit of Plus Sized Fashion
We’ve been saying for a while we wanted to write about different topics and you know what happened… that idea list got pushed aside like everything else in life. Something urgent always seemed to pop up, but today’s the day. Let’s start with an introduction.
Erica and I met in 2010 working with Chelish Moore … yes, the best wedding florist, designer, rental company around! We kept in touch while Erica worked at Hendrick Auto Mall for years and I jumped from one wedding industry job to another. Haha. We caught up again while I was working at Irresistible Portraits and I asked Erica to come on board as our production manager. She already knew everything and there was no teaching involved. She’s one smart cookie even though she plays it off with her comedic skillz! We worked side by side for 2+ years, until we decided we wanted a side gig – Lovely Lines Boutique. Literally a quick talk from one desk to another turned into a business name, logo and LLC within less than 48 hours. LOL! Go big or go home.
For some reason, we thought that women would love our clothes so much they’d just buy online and we could package orders at night and ship the next morning. Here’s the catch… we, like every other plus size woman, do NOT buy online because all brands are sized different. Every woman is shaped different. So our online store quickly moved into Sweetest Beginnings, the cutest gift shop in downtown Concord. This gave us time to figure out what the heck we were doing (because may I remind you? Neither of us have retail experience!) We did a few holiday market events and the fact of needing to be in front of people metaphorically slapped us in the face – hard. We knew we needed to have a storefront. The search began.
We looked high and low for affordable commercial spaces. We loved downtown Mt Pleasant. Concord made sense. Salisbury was fun. Kannapolis was growing. We were growing too, so it made sense. We narrowed down to our sweet little “closet” between the Ava Nails and our Dominican Blow Out friends on Dale Earnhardt. I say closet because that’s what we’ve heard from customers since expanding. But at the time, it was AMAZING! It was OURS! It was just enough.
Little White Willow, the talented Amanda Dancy, brought in her jewelry and a few unique home décor pieces. You could choose between a few plus size clothing pieces, some teleties, a few leather earrings or a couple cute signs. This was our dream come true (at that moment). We made friends with everyone who walked through the door, drank a lot of French Express coffee and grew quickly! We added purses, gift items, bath bombs, candles, etc. We blinked and we were bursting at the seams of our 600 square foot space (which included our storage and potty).
Then the questions start flowing through your brain! Do you open another location? Do you move to a larger location? Do you just stay where you are, move inventory quickly and make it work? We prayed. We asked for advice. We sent an email to our landlord asking about the status of a larger spot just down the sidewalk from us with more visibility. We decided if it’s available and our Small Business Saturday was successful as we anticipated it to be, we’d take the NEXT leap of faith and expand to a 1300 square foot space! You guessed it. I walked into the real estate company’s office on Cyber Monday to write a deposit check. It was the best and scariest moment ever, but I knew I had so many loyal lovelies that would support us every step of the way.
So here we are, mid January 2019, in the former Baucom-Phillips Jewelers space on the corner of the same building, between Ava Nails and Planet Fitness. We have so much more visibility and traffic!
What changed? Nothing. We’re still the same eclectic ladies that love meeting new lovelies. We’ve met amazing women that have become some of our best friends, just simply from opening a store! ß That was HIS plan all along! We have space to host fun events and support our lovelies. We have TWO dressing rooms. (Moving up in the world! LOL). We’ve said from the beginning we’d love to be in downtown Kannapolis when all the new retail/residential areas are complete, but who knows? This may be our forever home! Dale Earnhardt Blvd has been good to us so far. And we’re still living off French Express coffee. (If you haven’t been there, you’re missing out! Try the French Express - iced or hot. Both are amazing!)
What’s next? Only God knows. We’re inspired! We want shoes, more clothes, more items to personalize for you! We want to start a women’s bible study! We have lots of goals we’re inching towards one day at a time, with the help of our lovelies. It’s such an exciting time.
I don’t want to make it out like starting a new business is easy, stress-free, or inexpensive. None of the above! It’s been a long road and we’re still on that road, waiting for the Easy detour (haha – if it exists). But it’s worth it. Proof: Did you see the pictures from our ribbon cutting with the Cabarrus Chamber? There were sooooo many people here to cheer us on and just say, “Good job. Keep it up.” I couldn’t even get words out during the actual cutting because my emotions were at about a 15 on a scale of 0-10. It was amazingly overwhelming!
And a week or two before that, we were nominated for “New Business of the Year” at the Chamber’s annual meeting. What an incredible honor to even be considered or mentioned in the same group as 73 & Main Restaurant in Mount Pleasant. They served over 100K people in their first year AND are the largest employer in Mt Pleasant, NC. Ok, I’ll take it. I’ll be acknowledged in a group among businesses like that (as I walk away with a strut!)
Enough about the store, I really meant to introduce us to you personally. (Shiny object!) We’re both plus size mamas. Erica has three kiddos (Lexia, Sybella, Emerick), three doggies (Koba, Karma and Dale, who was found in our parking lot) and a fat cat named Two Ton “Tilley!” She married a fellow ROTC member from AL Brown who carried her crutches for her in high school – Jeremy. How sweet! If Erica is not working on a warm day, you’ll find her at High Rock Lake. She’s also the photographer of our duo. She takes care of all our lovely models and makes them feel amazing during our photoshoots. And if you ever need something fixed, just bring it to her. I swear the girl will figure it out (whereas I would call my dad. LOL). She impresses me everyday!
As for myself, my pride and joy is my little munchkin, Grayson William. He’s my everything and a mini-me of his “DaDa,” Josh. We love to travel and enjoy live music. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll either see Avett brothers, Widespread Panic or Grayson. Sorry, not sorry.
Now that you know all but our social security numbers, I’ll let you get back to shopping. I get insanely excited when I get to talk about our little dream com(ing) true!
Stay faithful & lovely,