It's a family affair... today my cousin Courtney is joining Livlyhood to share her inspirational journey as an entrepreneur. Something I love about Courtney is that she knows exactly who she is and she never apologizes for it. We recently chatted about how tough it can be to take risks and fit everything you care about into your life.
I loved that she acknowledged that the unexpected path she's taken has led her to her passion, and she wouldn't have it any other way!
Tell us a bit about yourself/your career
I'm a wife and mother to two kids. I love to learn and try new things, daydream, be active, try new restaurants, watch and read romance movies or books, travel, and spend quality time with my family. My career actually started while I was in college when I got hired to work in the lingerie department at Nordstrom. I worked in the lingerie department for almost four years and got a lot of experience working in the lingerie industry, fitting thousands of women, and gaining a lot of experience and knowledge of how bras should fit. I loved my job there because I felt like I was making a small impact in the world. I was helping women to feel more confident and beautiful in their skin and that was contagious.
After I graduated from college with a Public Relations degree, I worked for as a PR and marketing manager for Utah Valley Radiology Associates, a Radiology group in Provo. I worked there for almost two years and due to a new job opportunity for my husband I got a new job as Marketing Specialist with a large medical facility called Tanner Clinic. My main responsibility was to develop and grow their social platforms, maintain community relationships, and be a liaison between the doctors and the marketing department. After working in the medical marketing industry for four years I finally realized that healthcare wasn't my passion, and I didn't love my career path. I had a baby in 2012 and made a big decision to quit my job. I wasn't passionate about what I was doing and I didn't feel appreciated or respected. Therefore, the thought of leaving my baby with someone else to go to a job I didn't love killed me. While I was on maternity leave, I gave my notice and never regretted that decision.
During this time while freelancing for the Six Sister's blog, and I remember being featured on Pinterest by several big blogs and I had over 60K views on bra post in one night. That's when things started to grow and people were asking me to fit them. For a while, I would fit people for free because I loved doing it, but then it came to a point I wondered if I could charge people, so that's when Bra Fittings by Court started.
I would charge people to take them bra shopping. I did this for about 1.5 years and then realized it wasn't scaleable and that I wanted to make more money. I needed to do something different. In the summer of 2016, I decided to head down to Las Vegas to attend a lingerie conference called Curve Expo, where I met several brands and leaving there I decided I wanted to open up my own bra shop. Over the next four months, I wrote a business plan, did a lot of number crunching, research and decided it was going to take $60K just to get started, I would have to take out a huge loan, and didn't want to take the risk. So I decided I would start small by starting my shop in my home called Bosom Friends (.)(.). This was the best decision I could have made. This allowed me to test the market, be able to pick my hours, afford to make a couple mistakes, put all of the money I earned back into my business, and to refine my inventory.
I was projected to do around 7 fittings a month, and I'm now doing 20+ fittings in two days a week. I'm now planning on opening up another day a week for fittings. I have over 350 clients and am continuing to grow my clientele and inventory every week. I now carry six different brands and have 7 different band sizes and 14 cup sizes in every band size. I carry maternity, sports bras, everyday bras, bra sized lingerie and swimwear. My goal is to open a brick and mortar store or a bigger and better online store so I can help the masses.
How does your community of women you surround yourself with support you?
I have so many different women in my life who help and support me in different ways. I feel like you need one person for every aspect of your life. You need an emotional, physical, mental, and supportive friend.
For example, my sister is a great emotional coach, she has a good head on her shoulders and when I'm feeling emotionally unstable, she's great at helping me see the light and help me not feel so cray cray.
I have a close friend in my neighborhood who is a part time nurse and is my go to babysitter for my two kids. Because I do fittings in my home, it's not always great to have them at my house while I'm fitting women. She has a son my son's age and they love to play together. We have this understanding with each other that whenever we need a babysitter we call each other up. I love how I don't feel bad asking her to help me and she doesn't either. Some weeks, I help her out more and some weeks she helps me out more and we never keep track of who's turn is it next. We're both flexible and if we need each other, we just make it work. This has been soooo helpful to me because my sisters and mom work and live far away. She's pretty much my sister from another mother. I also rely on teenagers in my neighborhood for babysitting when I'm really in a crunch.
My mom who always tells me she's proud of me :)
I belong to a couple groups of influencers and entrepreneurs and we can bounce ideas off and be a support to each other while figuring out our businesses. This is helpful too.
My daughter (and son) who tell me weekly I'm beautiful and that she loves me.
My cousin Britt, because she just freaking gets it when it comes to having aspirations outside our traditional roles :)
How did you decide which career path to follow?
I decided I wanted to do something I was good at and that was talking with people, relating with people, and creating relationships with people. That is why I decided to go into PR and ultimately open a bra shop. I'm really good at making people feel comfortable and afterwards we feel like we're best friends.
What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self re: your career aspirations?
I wish I would have stuck to my gut and spoke up when I saw something that wasn't right. I had this happen a couple of times in my career where I saw a colleague being sexual harassed, or felt harassed, and wish I had reported it.
At the time I graduated was 2009 and the job market was rough. The housing market just crashed and people were losing jobs left and right. I was so worried about getting a job, I kind of didn't care what type of industry or job it was. I wish I would have taken my time to find a job I was passionate about. But maybe I had to experience not loving a job to realize what my true passion was; bras.
What's your career-related mantra?
"No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams."