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Kenzie Ashcraft is the owner of Farm Girl Boutique and the Farm Girl Brand. The boutique is a rural boutique and general store carrying everything from women’s apparel to home goods, gift items, baby items, and more. The items sold are all representations of the farm girl way of life and visually showcase Kenzie’s design style. Kenzie also does interior decorating on the side. Her family raises registered Texas longhorns on their ranch, and they also work on a custom hay operation that her father owns.
Kenzie was an AG business major in college but found her true calling when she was still in high school. At 16 years old, Kenzie had a job working at a boutique and completely fell in love with it. She says that she enjoyed the personal connections she would make with customers who would come into the store and being able to section off the shop and set up the displays.
Now 8 years later, she is the proud owner of her own extremely successful boutique and sharing some of her best moments and lessons learned with you!
The Early Stages Of Starting A Boutique
During our conversation, I asked Kenzie what her biggest challenges were when it came to starting her boutique. In today’s world there are so many resources available for free. But even just a few short years ago, things looked completely different.
Kenzie says that it was challenging because she started from scratch. She knew she needed a business license and to go through the legal processes. But other than that she was not sure what all the steps were that needed to be taken. The funny thing is, in today’s world, it seems like most boutique’s will start online and eventually move to a Brick and Mortar option. But with Farm Girl Boutique.. it was the opposite. And though now, Farm Girl is 80% online and 20% in person, Kenzie says she still loves the in person aspect of the business so much.
There was a lot of trials and errors she had to work through and things she wished she could go back and change but at the end of the day those are the things that got her to where she is now.
Kenzie says that back in 2014 when she first got started, it could have been considered the “boutique boom”. You started to see these smaller shops opening up all over the country and online sales escalating like crazy.
The Internet Takes Over The Brick And Mortar World
With online sales boosting, and Instagram starting to become the place to be for people to hangout online, Kenzie said it was a weird line to walk as a business. And even now with the ever changing algorithm and trends such as reels coming into play. Social media seems to be a very noisy place to hangout.
One thing that Kenzie started doing to level up in the online space was bring on brand affiliates. I myself actually am one and I can say that her program is great. Kenzie says she did this because it really does help so much when people share a post or engage with something she puts out and in return she is able to offer rewards to those who have their discount codes used.
The old school way of doing business is where Kenzie’s heart and soul truly lives. She loves that in person interaction and building relationships. Plus the experience for the customer is so much more special.
We can all hope that maybe with the Pandemic ending, the world will want to go back to in person shopping. Being able to walk into a store, try something on or physically hold an item in your hands before purchasing is an experience that the online world can never mimic.
What Helped Farm Girl Take Off The Most
Word of mouth played a huge part in the growth of Farm Girl Boutique and Kenzie says it still does to this day. The power behind social proof and affirmation is so much bigger than anyone ever could imagine. So whenever you are wondering how you can help your friend’s small business grow, just remember that talking about it plays a huge part.
Kenzie also says that staying true to her own style and the things she loves has helped her maintain customers that can truly trust her brand. The western fashion industry always seems to be this forever evolving place. And many boutiques are struggling to keep up. So Kenzie said she stopped trying to. Instead, her focus is on those more timeless pieces of clothing that feel like her everyday style not just what is popular at NFR right now. Consistency has made a huge impact on her business for sure.
Boutique Ownership Quick Tips From Kenzie
- Find a good accountant that can help you with everything taxes related. It can get really messy really fast if you try to do this on your own and don’t know what you are doing.
- Finding a financial advisor if you can fit it in the budget. Kenzie explained how especially in times of COVID, but just as a small business in general, you run a tight budget. Having someone in your corner that can give you advice on what to do with the money you make is really important.
- Don’t be afraid to ask other boutique owners questions, as long as you aren’t being too intrusive. Asking what markets are the best to go to is great, but maybe don’t ask where they got a super specific product, etc. Be willing to be teachable. And prepare for the seasons of being in retail.
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I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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