Every day, in every aspect of my life, I strive to be as colorful as possible. I believe if you aren’t making a statement, then you’re blending into the crowd. With Adorabelles, my goal is to fill your closet with fun pieces that you cannot wait to wear. Doesn’t every girl deserve to be her own walking statement?
“Courage, Sacrifice, Determination, toughness, heart, talent, guts.That’s what little girls are made of.”
If I had to describe myself in a few words, it would be “all over the place”… and the people closest to me would agree. I am a wonderful mess of scatter which thankfully trickles over into my fashion sense and allows me to be able to provide pieces for a wide range of women’s styles. It’s incredibly important to us that we fill our stores with things for every type and style of female. Whether you’re that preppy girl who leans towards dressy pastels, that boho chick who wants to layer pretty neutrals, that hipster girl who loves her striped tees and ripped skinnies, that new mom who wants to look cute but still feel comfortable, that teacher who loves fashion but also needs to look appropriate in front of her students, or a fabulous combination of every style depending on how you feel that day, we have you covered (literally and figuratively!)
Before my scattered personality was a personal strength, it was definitely a drawback when figuring out where my life would lead me. As a first generation college student from a small town, I had little guidance when it came to “dreaming big”. I was always very encouraged by my parents to attend college and make something of myself, but exactly what that something would be was always quite unclear. After wasting a few semesters at the University of Kentucky with little to no focus, being wishy washy and failing to make a plan for my life, I took interest in psychology after taking an introductory course as a basic pre-req. Finally finding something that interested me, I secured a part-time position at a state psychiatric hospital while finishing my Bachelor’s degree and graduating with honors.
I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but you can’t do squat with a Bachelor’s in Psychology! I sought higher education at Eastern Kentucky University, attending their Master’s program for School Counseling. Your life can’t exactly fall completely into place until you find someone to spend it with, so I should probably mention that I fell in love with my best friend and got engaged right before my first semester of grad school.
If you know anything whatsoever about weddings, then you probably know that they cost a BAZILLION dollars. Unfortunately, my long lost grandma has yet to show up and let me know I’m the princess of a small country, so I quickly started trying to figure out ways to make a little extra money to pay for our wedding. I came across a page on Facebook that was selling clothing directly from their photos and thought, “how hard can this really be?”
I am a “make it happen”, “I can do anything”, “try and stop me”, “just watch me” kind of gal, so I had developed my business and gotten everything I needed together in less than 2 weeks. In March 2013, I got a tax refund check of around $700 from working at the hospital and purchased my first 2 dress styles. From the very first comment on my very first Facebook post, I knew that I had found something I loved and felt everything change.
For the next couple of months, I hustled so hard to build a brand, a customer base and make my business originally unique. It has always been beyond important to me to do my own thing in my own way. I lived for every Facebook “like”, my heart jumped at every purchase and my soul was filled with joy with every customer photo I saw of them wearing my clothes.
Let’s be honest, did I make any money for my wedding? Barely. I was so obsessed with the business that I fed every profited dime back into it, improving everything I could and ordering every pretty piece I could get my hands on. I felt officially legit when my husband and I turned the second bedroom of our tiny apartment into a “stockroom” where I kept my inventory and packed my packages.
Adorabelles became a full-time job for me in January 2014 when I took the (what was terrifying at the time) leap of quitting my full-time position at the psychiatric hospital and committing to running the business during the day and attending 5-hour classes at night. We launched an actual website, the first “shopadorabelles.com” shortly after and streamlined the ordering process. I hired my very first models, local college girls, and took photos in local parks. I fell in love with photography and everything about it. (I still do all of the website photography to this day because it’s my favorite thing ever!)
With the help of family, I started setting up at flea markets in my hometown and was blown away at the turn out. I couldn’t believe how big the brand had gotten and how many people came there specifically seeking us out. We had most certainly built a following and it was quite incredible.
It was during this time that I started questioning my future and if counseling was actually what I wanted to do. I had created this thing that was successful… and fun… and exhilarating…and didn’t feel like work, like, AT ALL. Could I really just walk away from that and head out into “big girl” world? Ultimately, because I’m writing this right now, the answer was obviously “no”.
The new and wildly nerve-wracking plan was after I graduated in December (because HELLO, I did not rack up all of these student loans to not walk away with another shiny plaque to put on my wall in a random room in my house that I never even go in) was to OPEN A STORE! A million people had asked, a million people had said we should, so of course, why not?! We planned to set up a vendor booth at a local 4-day festival in our hometown and thankfully made enough money to put back to open our very first store.
The first time I drove by her (my baby, I call her “my baby”), she immediately caught my eye and when I saw the “for rent” sign in the window, I actually cried real tears. It was MINT, you all. A mint building was for rent in downtown Richmond and I was going to do whatever it took to make her mine. Starting in December, we worked tirelessly to do a lot with a little. The building wasn’t ideal on the inside, with hideous black, retro-looking tile floors and an unconventional layout, but we made every idea I had come to life in a very short time and with very short funds. The night before our opening, Tyler and I had $68 in our bank account. If the store didn’t take off, we would have been eating dresses for dinner for the months to come.
Adorabelles opened its doors on January 17th, 2015 and the rest is history. After an amazing first year and a half in Richmond, we expanded to Georgetown in June 2016 and are having too much fun running two locations. While the stores are my babies, the website was my first love and always will be. These past two years learning to function brick & mortar locations has not been easy and website has only had limited options. Things are changing in a BIG way and we are going all out to make our new and improved website absolutely amazing!
I must say that I could not have accomplished one single thing if it had not been for YOU. Our customers, supporters, feedback givers, suggestion providers, you are the ones who have made this company the success that it is today. I can’t tell you enough how special of a role you had played in my life and in the existence of Adorabelles.
They say if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. I still don’t feel like I’ve ever “worked” and hope I never do. Even though Adorabelles has come so far in a short amount of time, I’m no where near stopping. Each day, I wake up with new ideas of how to improve this business and grow. By surrounding myself with an amazing team, I’m constantly inspired to do bigger things. I try to display a little bit of myself in every aspect of the business from the clothes to the décor. Even though I will always be “all over the place,” I will always be, in some way, at Adorabelles.