Business Owner of the Month – Nichole Burke of Autumn Elephant LLC
Each month, we’ll be featuring a different Supplied customer who’s totally killing it in their business. With our incredible community of entrepreneurs and boutique owners, we have an amazing pool to choose from. If you’d be interested in being featured as a future Business Owner of the Month, send an email to [email protected] and tell us a bit about you, your business, your goals, and your success story so far. If we pick you, you’ll be featured on our site and blog! We look forward to hearing from you :)
Some people always dreamed of starting a boutique of their own. Before they ever actually opened for business, they spent countless sleepless nights wondering, planning, and hoping.
But Nichole wasn’t one of those people. Today, she’s the proud owner of Autumn Elephant LLC, a new but thriving shop that sells a little of everything – but she never would have expected that job title even as little as one year ago.
Based in Tucson, Arizona, Nichole started Autumn Elephant LLC in August 2021. She saw the opportunity, thought it might be a good fit for her interests and situation, and seized it. Turns out, she was right – Nichole says she loves running her own boutique even more than she thought she would. And considering her early success, her customers are glad she started when she did, too!
We had the pleasure of interviewing Nichole about her shop, her goals, and her journey so far. She’s learned a lot already and she’s eager to share it – take notes!
Why did you start your boutique?
I started Autumn Elephant LLC for a bunch of reasons! First off, I’ve always loved shopping and sharing deals. Plus, I’m the stay-at-home mother of three children that I homeschool, so the thought of working from home was definitely appealing. And I also have a very outgoing personality – the thought of going live and always meeting new people sounded like a great fit for me!
I think all of those things made it so I was totally prepared when the idea of starting something of my own first came to me. Earlier this summer, I had just bought a few fun things for myself, and a few friends of mine asked if I had any extras they could buy from me. I’m a very in-the-moment person, and I decided right then and there I was going to open my own boutique!
What’s the story behind your boutique’s name?
It’s actually very meaningful to me. First, Autumn comes from my absolute favorite time of the year. It’s beautiful, it’s great weather here in Arizona, it’s when my kids were born… I’ve always loved the fall. Then, I’ve always felt a connection to elephants. I often say they’re my spirit animal – we’re both strong and stubborn! It’s also a subtle nod to my oldest daughter’s name, Ella.
What sort of customers do you serve?
Oh man. Mine is a true variety boutique! I literally sell some of everything. People ask me all the time, “What do you sell?” And it’s easier to just say, “Everything” rather than listing it all. Toys, purses, food… you name it, I probably sell it.
Honestly, I didn’t really have a goal in mind when I started out – I didn’t have just one group of people I wanted to sell to. I really just bought stuff that sounded like fun. And my customers keep coming back for the variety! I mix things up often – I rarely ever rebuy the same things, I purchase small quantities to always keep my inventory fresh!
What’s been your greatest accomplishment so far?
I’d say it’s turning customers into friends. It’s easy to measure your success by numbers or sales, but what’s made this the most worthwhile for me are the relationships with people I’ve made. I’ve connected with so many amazing folks through Facebook Lives as well as in-person local events. I never would have made some of the friends I have without deciding to start this business!
How do your customers typically find you?
There’s a good mix of everything! I find new customers at in-person popup events, on Facebook, through my website, and through my app. Most of my customers have found my shop organically or through positive word of mouth.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your business?
This might sound silly, but… storage space! It’s been by far our biggest challenge. I have 3 kids, a husband, and dogs – finding space in the house for all of my products is not easy. I’ve pretty much taken over our living room with boxes and inventory.
It may not be a long-term solution, but it’s helped motivate me to work towards a bigger goal: building a house, with an attachment to store and sell things from my shop. (It’s motivating in the short-term, too – if I sell something, it doesn’t have to take up space anymore!)
What’s a goal you have for your business?
My husband and I have been dreaming of building a house for a long time now. My goal is to continue to grow my boutique to the point that it can help pay for us to build our house!
What advice would you give to someone else thinking of starting a boutique?
The number one thing I’d say is to be authentic. Be yourself. Do what you love. If you don’t love it, don’t do it – if you don’t want to sell it, don’t sell it. As long as you’re genuine, people will be drawn to you and your shop. And as long as you truly love it and have fun with it, you’ll feel fulfilled enough to do whatever it takes to make your business a success.
Follow Nichole along on her business journey!
Facebook page: www.autumnelephantfb.com
Apple store app: https://apps.apple.com/app/apple-store/id1585417145
Interested in networking with fellow boutique owners like Nichole? Join the Supplied Family Facebook group to get motivated by inspiring entrepreneurs & Supplied customers!