For those non-Canadians reading this, you may not be familiar with our next guest but after you read this, I sure as hell know you’re going to be obsessed with them. Living on the east coast of Canada in a city that isn’t Toronto makes it pretty difficult to get your name out there (like hello, Canada doesn’t end at Toronto @ every musician ever), let alone start your own e-com/in store fashion boutique and have it be a go-to for all females in in the region. Whether you’re shopping for that special bday dress or want in on the cutest bikini’s for your next girls trip to Cuba, there is only one spot you go to in Halifax and that is Alexa Pope. For years I have been personally strolling through this super chic and insta worthy boutique and spending my student loan money on things I definitely needed (ex: all black champion sweatsuit) not only because the clothes are super cute but this store is like a trademark for Halifax fashion. Every female university student in Nova Scotia has stepped foot inside this place – I can guarantee it and to make things even better, you’re always greeted by one of (or both of) the owners, Marianne & Lauren. They make you feel right at home, and every time you leave (whether you really needed 2 pairs of Quay sunglasses and matching gold hoops to go with them) you always feel good, like you were supporting a kick ass WOMEN run business.
For many of us, owning a physical/e-com fashion boutique sounds like a dream…like, literally a dream aka “I could never do anything like that”, or “they’re so lucky I wish I was them”, you know those thoughts we have in our mind where we think we could never actually have a job were passionate about. So what better way to grab some insight on the owners of this successful business than to bring them on the blog, ask them how they came up with this idea and most importantly, turned this idea into something actionable. Because let’s be real, figuring out the first step to turn an idea into an actual game plan is fucking hard. That’s why I’m here, to be that middle man for you, I’ll give you the insight on the “how/why” and you can go and do. Sounds easy enough…right?
What inspired the name of ‘Alexa Pope’ ?
When we started the business, we wanted to carry two styles on the website so there was something for everyone. We wanted to have a very girly customer who loved to wear fun, feminine dresses and we also wanted to have a sporty customer, who was super into street style pieces and loved a laid-back vibe. We started throwing around ideas of creating these two “girls” or two customers who were our own Fashion Alter-Egos. Alexa was created to be our Street Style Girl – and Pope was created to be our really feminine/girly customer! Combining Alexa and Pope together, you have the girl who is equal parts sneakers and stilettos, which we believe there is a little of each in every woman out there.
When did you realize that being in the fashion industry was something you wanted to make a career out of?
We both really loved different aspects of the Fashion Industry growing up and it spilled over into the degrees we studied in school! From there we both had hoped after graduation we would be able to grow a career in the Fashion Industry. Lauren studied Photography in school, and always had a passion for Fashion/Beauty Photography. Marianne studied Business, and Fashion Management, and always dreamed of being a Buyer.
Entrepreneurship is intimidating af. What changes did you have to make to your mindset to get past all the negative assumptions that come with it?
We got to a point in our minds where the regret to not give it a try was worse then worrying about the negative assumptions that come along with it! When we first starting throwing around the idea to start a business, we were in a job we didn’t love, so we just thought what do we have to lose if we try? Sure it would be a challenge, and may not work, but honestly I think you get to a point where even though Entrepreneurship seems overwhelming, the idea of working a job everyday that you aren’t passionate about seems less daunting then just trying!
If the person reading this feels like they want to get into entrepreneurship but has no clue where to begin, where would you tell them to start?
We would suggest just sitting down and brainstorming ideas! It can be as small as a pen and paper and just throwing around words or thoughts that provoke passion or interest in potentially starting a business. From there we would then suggest researching industry you want to dive into, figure out where you can come in and do something different and find your niche. After you have a good foundation and idea, honesttly our advice is to just start. For us, after we developed our concept, we just dove into it by starting our social media channels, and purchasing our first box of inventory. Sometimes the hardest part is just starting!
How did you know that you were on the right path? And at what point did you realize you HAD to make a change?
To be frank, we continuously question if we are on the right path (haha). I think with entrepreneurship, you honestly are always changing and evolving and really everyday is a learning experience to get to get things right the next time around. Initially, we were only going to be an e-commerce website, but then realized we had a lot demand for in-store, and made a change to open a store! It is important to listen to your customers, and usually your gut will tell you when a change needs to be made!
How do you continue to challenge yourself in regards to personal growth?
We try not to get comfortable. It’s easy to be complacent with how things are going! But we try to reflect back on the multiple side jobs we worked to get where are now, and we try to keep challenging ourselves to take the business to the next level. The best growth comes from being uncomfortable, so it’s important even when you feel things are coming together to keep pushing!
What were the fears you had to face to get you and your brand to where it is now? How did you overcome them?
We often worried what other people would think of our products, ideas, and just generally putting ourselves out there. We got to a point where just decided to go for it. There will always be people who don’t like what you put out there, but it’s so important t focus on what your doing, and overtime we just learned to overcome what people thought. We also fear failing, like most small businesses do, but again the regret of not trying to start something we were passionate about outweighed the idea of failing and just went for it.
Knowing what you know now. What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger post-grad self?
Take your time! Figure out what you like and dislike about jobs you’ve worked, and what aspects of your day to day your passionate about. We often find people get so caught up with wanting to work their dream job by 25 – and then become dissapointed when it doesn’t work out that way. Everyone does things on their own time, and it’s important to take time to try different avenues! You can always start a business in your 30’s/40’s/50’s, there is no rush!
If our readers had to implement ONE thing into their daily lives, for the next 30 days, what would that be? Why?
We would suggest it would be great to implement organization! Anything as small as making a To Do List each day helps start the day off right, or even little things like making your bed in the morning helps you start your day with a clear mind!
Do you have a morning routine? If you do. Spill the deets.
We both don’t really have set morning routine! But we both agree – a large cup of coffee is a big part of our Morning Life!
Must – have beauty product?
This time of year our must have Beauty Product is self-tanner! It’s great to add a little glow in your life during these Winter Months! We both love the brand Loving Tan from Australia!
Where can all readers find YOU on social media?
Our business is @shopalexapope – and our personal handles on Instagram are @mariannethomson & @lauren_wambolt
*all photos are from their personal instagram/yelp*