Girl Boss | Dallas Edition
Hi there! I'm Margaret, NEAT's resident Dallas Home Organizer :)
One of my favorite things about being a NEAT Girl is having the opportunity to work and collaborate with all our Girl Bosses across the country! Even though we don’t see each other everyday we are constantly chatting, sharing advice, support, and a lot of laughs along the way.
Living in Dallas, I also have made incredible friends with other female entrepreneurs located in my hometown! A few of the Dallas ladies I love connecting with are Lizzy Chesnut from CITY Boots, as well as Ali Barshop & Meg Jones from To & From Gifts. I am so inspired by how they have followed their passions and built their companies, that I couldn't help but share a few of their tips and advice for becoming a Girl Boss!
Thank you all so much for taking the time to chat with me! First off, can you tell us a little about your companies and where to find you?
CITY Boots :: CITY Boots is a Dallas based lifestyle brand that specializes in high-end, handmade boots in bold colors and original silk scarves. We are online at www.cityboots.com and by appointment at our showroom in Dallas. Also, we love posting and interacting on Instagram! It is such a good way to connect with the customer directly. Our handle is @citybootsofficial.
To & From Gifts :: To & From is a custom gift design service, specializing in corporate and wedding gifting programs. We thoughtfully design and create personalized gift boxes for moments that matter. We work with businesses and event planners, because although they could do it on their own, we understand that their time is best spent catering to their clients. Our goal is to create unique and compelling ways to thank a loyal customer, congratulate a friend or welcome out-of-town guests. You can find us on Instagram, @toandfromgifts or online at www.toandfromgifts.com
Fantastic-- I am such a fan of both of your Instagrams!
One of the things we love at Neat Method is hearing from one another the stories that prompted others to take the leap into starting their own business. It is so inspiring! How did you make the decision to launch a company?
CITY Boots :: CITY Boots was inspired because I could never find timeless, understated, high quality cowboy boots for a reasonable price.
I was a huge collector of cowboy boots from an early age. I even named my dog "boots" at the age of four! So, when I graduated college and started a corporate job, I started to get boot envy. All the men at work were wearing cowboy boots with their suits, but as much as I love a good sundress and cowboy boots...a pencil skirt just doesn't have the same effect. I told myself, "one day I will have a job that I can wear cowboy boots to," which meant I would either work in the cowboy boot industry or own my own company. Now, much sooner than expected, I do both!
To & From Gifts :: The decision to launch To & From Gifts did not happen overnight, but once we started narrowing down our ideas and understanding our strengths (yes, tying the perfect bow is a strength), we started to run with it. We were both recently engaged and searching for a unique and meaningful way to ask our bridesmaids (including each other!) to be part of our weddings. We’re not re-inventing the wheel, but we definitely saw an opportunity within the market and decided to take it!
Doing something on your own can be intimidating, and a little scary! Do you have any advice for women considering starting their own business?
CITY Boots :: A month after starting CITY Boots full-time I had the pleasure of meeting Stuart Weitzman at this store on 5th Ave. in New York City. It was very serendipitous as my mom and I were just shopping in the store. He came in to pick something up, and we struck up a conversation. My mom (in typical mom fashion) told him I was starting a footwear company, and he was extremely excited for me.
He told me about his experience and gave me the advice: "If you build it, they will come." I think about this daily when I worry if people are going to like and more importantly BUY my stuff, and it (usually) holds true. So, even when things get hairy...I keep builiding, and I think there is someting to be said for that.
To & From Gifts :: Doing something on your own is definitely intimidating! We’re lucky to have each other. Our advice is to find a strong partner- someone that will motivate you, challenge you, hold you accountable and even spell check your emails and presentations.
Starting your own business is a huge learning opportunity. Is there anything that really surprised you, or was one of your biggest learnings?
CITY Boots :: The biggest lesson I've learned is you get out what you put in. I've heard that my whole life, but I don't think I fully understood it until owning my own business. It can be really rewarding!!
To & From Gifts :: For us, designing and developing a website was something we were familiar with, but actually creating a small business was a whole other story. It was definitely a learning curve, but something we’re now proud to be able to say that we’ve done. And looking back, it’s not as hard as you would think. Our biggest piece of advice is don’t be afraid to ask for advice!
Obviously, the NEAT Team loves a great organizational tip— what do you do to keep yourself organized while juggling running a company?
CITY Boots :: I am old school. Handwritten lists. There is something about writing it by hand that makes it real.
To & From Gifts :: We are definitely list makers! Every day starts with a to-do list. We use tools like Evernote to access notes and lists that we create on our computers and phones while we're on the go. A lot of To & From lives within Google Drive. With a shared inbox, it's important to have a good system for organizing our communication with clients and vendors.
Lists are definitley an organizational must for the on-the-go entrepreneur! Thank you all so much for sharing your stories and advice! We have loved hearing about your journeys, and cannot wait to see where you take CITY Boots and To & From Gifts!
the NEAT girls