1. What’s your name?
Lauree A. Goodman
2. Tell us something funny/interesting about yourself.
I consider myself an introvert, but my favorite part of this experience is having the opportunity to meet and talk to so many people.
3. How long have you owned Sweet Pea?
This month marks 1 year & 4 months!
4. How did it all start? What inspired you to set up this business?
Like many beautiful things, Sweet Pea came out of a challenging time in my life. I had just recently decided to leave my full-time position because of how unfulfilled I felt, I had taken a leave of absence from my grad school program to tend to some family issues and I had recently discovered that my gut wasn’t on the same page as my mind in regards to the path I was paving for my future. True story (and I believe this is the first time I’m ever telling it) I had been inspired by my husband to focus on what I wanted out of life and so I was going to being journaling and goal setting. Although these were things I did in my head constantly, I had never been one to actually write it out, so this was my new goal and somewhat of a challenge. I had decided this would be best done while having some ice cream (duh!). I stopped at the closest ice cream shop in a nearby plaza and sat for a good hour focusing on putting my monthly/quarterly/yearly goals on paper. Once I was finished with my task, I noticed a sign that said “space available”, so I walked around the plaza to see the spaces…3 weeks later, I was signing a lease agreement. Although, it came almost suddenly what amazes me as I look back is how everything that came before Sweet Pea was just setting me up to be able to pull this off.
5. How did you decide what to name your shop?
Sweet Pea is the nickname my husband gave me when we started dating, but it’s so much more. Details @http://www.sweetpealove.com/about-us.html
6. What do you love best about your activity/what is the best part of owning a shop?
Hands down the best part of this gig are the people I have met and the amazing relationships I’ve cultivated that I know will endure a lifetime. I don’t have customers, I have family and I pride myself in getting to know all of those who have chosen to support my little dream.
7. What has been the biggest challenge? How have you overcome it?
Just a tad bit about myself: I am an activist at heart. A lover of people, animals, and all thing living and a believer that we are all entitled to basic rights. I believe that if we all just did things with a pure heart, this world would be a much better place. The absolute biggest challenge for me has been the obvious moral and ethical dilemmas you are dealt each day when your business is retail and especially fashion. One of my main goals was to offer products to my community at a reasonable and fair price, but of course, that comes at a price. Where are your items sourced from? What is your markup? I struggle with these things on a daily, but I believe it helps me to stay grounded and reminds me that my goal for this business has always been to serve my community and not to furnish a trust fund for my children. I also make it a point to host as many local small businesses in the shop which is one of my favorite parts of this operation.
8. What is your best achievement in this venture so far?
Last year we were able to give our first scholarship to a student at the local community college. This. Was. Amazing.
9. What surprised you most about the process of setting up a business?
My biggest surprise was truly how quickly and naturally it all came together. Sweet Pea literally took form on its own because I saw a vacant storefront in a plaza I had visited multiple times a month for the last 5 years. The idea of a shop wasn’t completely foreign, but I also thought it would be something I did once I retired. My business plan poured out of me in 24 hours, I pitched the idea to my closest family and friends and somehow just the right amount of financial resources made themselves available. Everything from the aesthetic of the shop to the merchandise all made their way as if I had been planning for months or even years. I suppose the universe just decided I was ready!
10. Do you have any goals/plans for the future of Sweet Pea?
This is another struggle for me as a business owner. My biggest goal is to allow Sweet Pea to grow or sustain naturally. I’ve often received criticism when I’ve shared this because many people believe that this mindset could be an absolute trap in a business sense. Many have warned that if I don’t have a goal or intention to grow, it will become stagnant. Although I completely understand the logic behind that argument, I believe things can grow in many directions and dimensions. Perhaps instead of having multiple locations, Sweet Pea will develop into something I never saw coming but better suits my personal purpose. In short, I am grateful for every day I can call this opportunity a “job”! In 5 years, I’m confident, Sweet Pea will be exactly what it is meant to be.
11. Why should we visit your shop?
So we can chat over a cup of tea! And so you can take a gander at all the locally made products we host.
12. What advice would you give to someone starting a business?
Go for it! Jump! Also, one of the greatest pieces of advice I have ever received from my life coach (a.k.a. my hubby): Don’t worry too much about the details of what you are doing (making jewelry, opening a ship, consulting), people will support you because you are you and you are one of a kind.
13. Any last comments?
Thank you so much for this opportunity for introspection and to share my story!
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