Hey, friends! I'm Brianne Howard, and I am the owner and buyer of Stella Ivy Boutique. I want to personally welcome you and take this opportunity to give you the back-story on my small business! It all started back in 2009, so let's start there. Shall we?
After graduating from Ole Miss in 2009, I began a rewarding career as a third grade teacher in DeSoto County. For a creative outlet and side hustle, I started a small monogramming business. I have always had a desire to be an entrepreneur after being in my grandparent’s store while growing up, so this was the perfect way for me to blend my two dreams together. Thanks for being such an inspiring girl boss, Grandma!
My monogramming business quickly took off, and it got to the point that I couldn’t take on any more clients as it required so much hands-on time. In 2011, this small business began to open my eyes to my customer’s needs for on-trend styles that were affordable, versatile, and great quality. While sitting in an airport on the way back from Disney, I decided that I was ready to expand my business. I sought to offer clothing styles for work, running errands, and even date nights. Soon after planning, I hand-picked my first collection of Summer Styles that I thought my customers would love.
To launch my newest idea, I started out of a spare bedroom in our home. One bedroom quickly turned into me taking over another. Before I knew it, the house was covered in shipping supplies, clothing, racks, UPS boxes, and marketing materials. At this point, we knew we were onto something. I decided to start doing monthly trunk shows to increase brand awareness in our area and test out our market. After receiving so much positive feedback, we made the plunge and opened our first store front in 2013. At this time, Stella was only open Friday Night, Saturday, and Sunday! I continued my full time job as Literacy Coach for our school district that entire year while juggling the up and downs of owning a boutique. Talk about an exhausting, yet amazing year!
In 2014, I was once again ready for more. I resigned from my coaching position in June, and I opened the store full-time in a new location a couple of miles down the road. I was very aware of the financial risks in involved, but I had to try either way. After a successful relocation, we were able to grow again! I doubled our sales floor space in September of 2017. This expansion allowed us to carry double the inventory, and it also allowed us to grow our online business as well. I thank God every day for the extra space, because it has truly helped the business flourish this year.
Throughout this amazing experience of owning and growing my business, my amazing husband of 10 years, Barry Howard, has always been by my side supporting me with whatever crazy idea I have. He is my banker, handyman, therapist, and the list goes on and on. God knew what he was doing when we had us cross paths in 7th grade! We have an adorable Golden Doodle, Huey, who likes to make an appearance at Stella from time to time. Most importantly, we are beyond excited about our biggest news! After many years of trying, we are expecting our first baby in February of 2019. God is good!
Our goal is to give each and every customer an amazing shopping experience. Creating a positive and fun-loving atmosphere for my customers and employees is of the utmost importance to me! No matter your purchase, big or small, I truly appreciate your business. Thank you for supporting me and allowing me to pour into my staff and my community. I am forever grateful for the opportunities that I have been given.
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