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Rising Stars: Meet Sarah Balding

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Balding.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I first had the idea to open my own boutique in September of 2019, after attending an event called a “Boutique Crawl” with a friend of mine. During the event, we shopped at several different boutiques in the area and by the end of our time shopping, I felt inspired and began to ponder the possibility of opening my own boutique. I did some research, applied for a business license and then sat on the idea for a few months because I felt intimidated and unsure of where to start.

After the turn of the year, I realized if I was going to actually go through with starting my own business, I would need to take a leap of faith. So, I started building a website and purchased a plane ticket to go to the Dallas Apparel Market in March of 2020. Then I applied with a local bank for a personal loan so I could purchase inventory and the various items I needed. Right after my loan went through and just before I was supposed to go to Dallas, Covid-19 happened and everything shut down.

I decided to still go through with the start date I had scheduled for my business because I figured there will always be a reason why NOT to start. I purchased what I needed via the internet and began marketing for my opening.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I would have to say, no, it hasn’t been a smooth road. But the bumps along the way are what help mold our character and make us stronger people. One of the first challenges I faced, besides being in the middle of a pandemic, was that I didn’t fit every piece of inventory that I was selling and I couldn’t have anyone model for me because we were all supposed to be sheltering in place.

So, I wound up doing the best I could photographing the items on a really nice mannequin. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked. Another struggle was my lack of knowledge about certain social media channels, like Instagram. Up to that point, I didn’t have an Instagram account because I never felt the need to have one. Navigating IG was easy enough but learning how to use it felt very foreign and was a challenge.

Until I started my business I knew NOTHING about running a business. I’ve learned a ton in the year and a half since launching my website. In fact, I’m still learning new things every day. Some aspects of running my own business have put me out of my comfort zone in a big way. Being a shy introvert like I am has created some internal struggles that I’ve had to push past for the sake of my business because if I don’t do it it won’t get done. For example, having to talk to strangers about business transactions made my palms sweat, but I have to do it or issues don’t get resolved.

My faith in God has actually been the thing that gives me strength and courage to do the things I feel like I can’t do when I feel too afraid or anxious. The circumstances that have forced me to push past the things I’m comfortable with have caused a tremendous amount of growth in me and I. wouldn’t have it any other way.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?

My boutique is different from a lot of other boutiques because I curate my collections based on the fashion that I know works well in my own life. I homeschool three kids, run a household and a business which means I don’t have a lot of time in the morning to try and piece together a stylish outfit.

I like to look put together AND feel comfortable in my clothes. So, I feel like my day-to-day life gives me a different perspective on what other women, like myself, would want/need in their wardrobe.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs, or other resources you think our readers should check out?
To be honest, when I am faced with a problem in my business I turn to prayer and/or reading the bible. I have always found the direction and provision I’ve needed in those two things. I believe one resource that God led me to was The Boutique Hub.

It’s a group that was founded by some women who used to be boutique owners themselves which provides helpful information, resources, and support to other boutique owners. It has been a huge help. They also have a podcast that I listen to from time to time.

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