Female Feature Friday: Whitney of Shop Small Fort Worth
A few months after I moved to Fort Worth I attended the Shop Small Fort Worth Market to do an instagram takeover for my client Burt Ladner. I went in the back to introduce myself to fellow female small business owner Whitney. I told her I’d be doing the insta takeover and her reply was “OMG so nice to meet you! There is so much going on. Have people arrived? I wish I had a xanax…Do you want half of my sandwich?”…and immediately I thought “I. LOVE. HER.”
Two years later she still amazes me on a daily basis. This woman… she is smart and driven and hilarious and so so real and I cannot put into words how much I admire her drive to build her brand and desire to push other females forward. So of course, when I launched this Female Friday Series…she was the first on my list.
Let’s get down to (small) business:
Did you always know that you wanted to be a business owner?
Yes, I knew since I was probably in Elementary School. I wanted to own an Interior Design business and have my own shop where I sold furniture and accessories, and helped to design my clients’ homes.
What was your first real job?
That’s a tough one to answer as I feel like I have worked my entire life! Being raised by a single mom with two kids with not very much money, you learn to find things to do to earn spending money. I was a soccer referee and also, I had friends that owned rent houses that I would clean before new tenants moved in for extra money in junior high. Once I was in high school, I had my first “official” job and managed a small boutique where I also rented a room for my own business to sell artwork and refinished furniture. I also had an amazing opportunity to decorate a few locations of a local mexican food restaurant.
Why is small business so important to you?
I really believe in each individuals’ gifts, talents and passions and I think small businesses give everyone an opportunity to share those.
What motivates you to keep going on the less than awesome days?
Seriously???! Completely blunt answer- having a stack of bills to pay every month! Some months are so much better than others, depending on what world you’re in… whether it’s retail or interior design… there are busy months and there are extremely slow months where it can get scary. The awesome part of what I do is that I get to know a lot of small business owners and realize that I’m not alone in my fears and struggles. What keeps me going are my dreams, my passion, my extremely hard work ethic, and the deep desire to provide more for my children and my family! I also want my children to watch and learn that it takes lots of work, a strong will and a hell of a lot of faith to own a small business and follow your dream!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business?
Don’t just jump right into something! Do all of your market research, create a business plan, set your long-term goals, and really think on how much time everything is going to take. I think people underestimate how much personal time is involved when you run your own small business. And very important... you need to be patient and have an enormous amount of faith.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made and what/how did you learn from it?
Making investments into my businesses that weren’t the right choices at the right time. I’ve learned that there’s uncontrollable circumstances that will affect your business, but you have to roll with the punches. Sometimes you have to rework your business plan and work with what you’ve got!
What has surprised you most about running a small business?
How many moving parts there are to owning and running your own business! From filing taxes, to bookkeeping and accounting, to marketing, to tracking inventory, to shipping orders, to replying to emails… staying on top of everything is something you don’t think about until you’re actually in it. Everything can look really pretty on the outside, especially in today’s world with social media, but until you’re the one going to sleep each night with a huge to-do list running through your head and worrying about how to make it to the next month financially, you don’t realize just how scary it really is.
Now with all of that being said, I absolutely love getting to be creative on a daily basis, getting to create my own products and collaborate with others, and I wouldn’t trade it for an 8-5 at the same desk in the same building doing the same thing every day. Every job has its stress factors, but my creative mind is not wired to function that way and I am extremely grateful to be able to do what I do.
Who have you looked to for advice and mentorship?
Doug PlesKovitch, owner of Wrare Fort Worth
Carolyn Phillips, owner of Alchemy Pops
What does it mean to you to be a woman in small business?
I am extremely grateful to be a woman business owner in a town like Fort Worth that has really stood behind women in the community, respected their dreams and supported their efforts in starting and running their own businesses. With Shop Small Fort Worth, I’ve worked with both men and women, but there’s something amazing and inspiring about how smart and creative and driven these women are to be unique and pursue their passions.
What’s next for Shop Small Fort Worth?
We’re thrilled to be growing and expanding our offerings in a multitude of ways!
We’re so excited to be expanding our community into the building next door to The Collective. There we will have creative offices and studios, space for photography, built-to-suit offices and a storefront space right off the up and coming Montgomery Street.
We’re also excited to have just recently launched our Shop Small Fort Worth Card that will help fund our initiative to educate and mentor small business owners. It is a big goal for us in 2019 to grow that part of our business and to help the dreamers in our community succeed.
We’re also thrilled to announce that we are headed back to Brik Venue, where we held our very first market ever, for our 7th market and 3rd Spring Market, coming up April 12-14. We will be celebrating local small businesses as well as our 3rd birthday at this event. We hope everyone can join us for networking, food, fun and all things local! Tickets aren’t live yet but they are coming soon. You can find more information on ShopSmallFortWorth.com and be sure to sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know about our local pop-up events, classes/workshops, and markets!
LET’S GET THE SKINNY ON FORT WORTH:
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO FORT WORTH?
I got married to a Fort Worth native.
BEST TACO IN FORT WORTH?
It’s a tie between Salsa Limon and Melis Taqueria on Vickery. You can’t go wrong with any of these tacos but I could eat breakfast tacos all day every day which you can get at both of these spots
BEST QUESO IN FORT WORTH?
Fuzzy’s queso is delicious!
FAVORITE MARG IN FORT WORTH?
Hands down Joe T’s! I love mine on the rocks, no salt.
FAVORITE STEAKHOUSE IN FORT WORTH?
FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND A DAY IN FORT WORTH?
I love to be outside. The kids love the Zoo. We have such a great zoo for a small town! On a nice day, there’s nothing better than laughing at the animals with my boys. We also can’t get enough adventures at the Botanical Gardens. If it’s chilly outside, we- of course- head straight to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING A BUSINESS OWNER IN FORT WORTH?
One of the things I love about Fort Worth in general is that it is a big city with a small town mentality. It’s the same for small businesses here; we have a close knit community, where we all try to support each other. The community and our clients/customers are extremely loyal and passionate about supporting us and doing everything they can to help us be successful.
TELL US 3 OF YOUR FAVORITE FORT WORTH SMALL BUSINESSES.
Well, it’s impossible for me to name just three, given the nature of my business! I work with and have become friends with so many local business owners in Fort Worth!