We've had the pleasure to connect with some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs. From natural cosmetics creators to virtual community cultivators — we're always so amazed to hear how they started and what drives their passions. Today we're thrilled to be talking with San Diego local, Noelle Huerta owner of online hippie-chic boutique, Boho Beach Babe. Noelle shares with us her thoughts on being a one-women show, what it takes to work with designers + brands, and her advice for aspiring business owners.
It's safe to say we love all things boho so falling in love with your company wasn't hard but can you tell us more about Boho Beach Babe?
With one big dream and a whole lot of courage, I took the leap to create a space that would connect my love of the beach with my love of fashion. Boho Beach Babe is an online boutique curated with all the best swimwear, jewelry and clothing from around the world. It was created with the free-spirited, sun kissed bohemian goddess in mind and I strive to carry brands that encompass that. It’s been open almost a year (in April) and it's crazy to think back on all that I've done! From styling and shooting multiple lookbooks, to being front row at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim, to being able to dress beautiful women around the world, it has been hands down the best and most rewarding experience of my life thus far!
What's it like to build, run, and maintain an e-commerce site? Do you have any tips for newbie site owners?
A LOT of work! No sleep! Haha! When I first decided I wanted to have an e-commerce site, I had absolutely no experience in it at all....except that I liked to shop on them! I did an insane amount of research and had a lot of help from friends who were website developers and graphic designers that got me up and running. Being a one-woman show, I’ve had to learn it all, and fast. From uploading products, maintaining inventory, creating eye-catching content to market the brand, filing sales tax reports and staying on top of endless amounts of emails, running an e-commerce site is not for the faint of heart. With that being said, it is not impossible and I encourage everyone who wants to create their own e-commerce site (or other business) to follow their dreams and go for it!
If you could give other entrepreneurs a word of advice, what would it be?
My advice for any newbie site owners is to not be afraid to ask questions! It’s amazing how many people in the industry are supportive and eager to help you. Also, stay organized! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of work that goes into running a site, but by staying organized it all seems to come a little bit easier. And lastly, never give up! I would be lying if I didn’t say there were times when I thought I was in way over my head, that I wanted to throw in the towel. Just keep going, work through it. How many rewarding things in life come easy?
How do you get connected with the designers that you work with?
Initially when I first decided to create the boutique I wanted to create a buzz for my brand, so I started an 'insta-blog' where I shared my favorite designers and products. Before I knew it designers, brands and showrooms were reaching out to me. I grew and maintained those relationships and soon was ordering inventory from them for the launch of my site. I also decided to take the plunge and go to Swim Week in Miami last July, attending three different tradeshows that every designer you can think of in the industry was at.
As an online store, how do you get the word our about your company?
I rely mainly on social media because of the vast amount of people you can reach. You can take notice from a girl who maybe lives down the street or from a girl that lives across the world in France or Australia. It’s always a great way to connect one on one with your customers (even if it’s just online), there's just something so easy and fluid to it. Word of mouth is also big! Bloggers, designers, friends, other companies, the more they talk, the better!
We know you were currently juggling a full time job and BBB at the same time. How the heck did you and do you stay on top of everything?
It definitely isn’t easy! There have been a lot of sleepless nights, parties and trips missed with friends and long talks asking my mom what I got myself into. My biggest tool that has helped me in the almost two years of juggling the two have been to-do lists! Without them I don’t think I would be able to get anything done or even remember what I had to get done! But good news, I have officially taken on BBB full time! I decided that if I wanted to take the business to another level I had to take the plunge, ready or not. It has only been two weeks though so I am way more used to the juggling a full time job with my business than the creating my own schedule part. :)
You're kind of killin' it on Instagram, is it your favorite social media network? If so, why?
It absolutely is! I just love how visual it is. It's been a blast creating a space where customers can see in photos the inner workings of the brand, the products to shop and to be able to connect with them first hand! I find also for it to be an amazing support system between myself and the designers and brands that I carry. With one re-post from a designer, or a blogger my following can increase by an insane amount, and then just like that, I have 100+ potential customers to connect with. Or, if I post about a new brand that my current followers did not know about, they will now hopefully become a fan of them. I just love it!
If you could give other entrepreneurs one word of advice, what would it be?
I said it earlier, but as cliche as it sounds, don’t give up and keep believing in yourself. We are all wanting to create amazing opportunities for ourselves but those don’t always come easy. You have to be open to failure, change, support and hard work.
We've talked before about the possibility of you opening a brick & mortar store, any dets you can share with us on future BBB plans?
Ah sooo many future plans, dreams, goals! But at the moment I am currently focusing on growing the brand and driving more sales from the site. E-commerce is a beast and I would like to tackle it before I do other things like the brick and mortar store. That of course doesn’t mean though that it isn’t in my future plans! I am also wanting to expand into designing my own swimwear/clothing brand down the road and have already began to do the research.
photos c/o Noelle Huerta