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BIZ CRUSH: blue arrow boutique

I love a good success story.  Learning all the juicy deets about the businesses that have gone before gives me all the feels {& a kick in the ass to keep kicking ass in my own business}.

 

With plenty of podcasts & documentaries under my belt {rather, filtered through my ears & eyes}, it made sense to reach out to the local gems at the disposal of my contact list to hear more about who they are and how they started doing cool things they’re doing.  Hence, the idea for Biz Crush was born. 

 

Here you’ll find out more about the entrepreneurs among us and beyond the local scene. 

 

Kicking off the series is a duo of ladies near and dear to my heart.  I met Aimee and Anndrea a couple years ago shortly after they opened blue arrow boutique.  Our relationship started out with some custom design work and not long after that, they extended an invitation to join their team {I happily accepted}. 

 

They’re doing amazing things in the community to revive my hometown's downtown back to the way it was in its prime.

 

As they approach year 3 of business, this boutique {of mega USA-made proportions} has become nothing short of a landmark & a must-see stop in Superior with a loyal social media following to boot.  Featuring clothing, accessories, gifts & jewelry- they’ve got something for just about everyone. 

 

I asked Aimee & Anndrea to share a little bit about their background + more.  Check out what they had to say:

 

Anndrea (left) & Aimee (right) in front of blue arrow boutique | Photo by On 3 Photography 

 

 

What kind of kid were you growing up?

Aimee: Pretty normal kid. I was a tomboy who enjoyed being outdoors with my neighborhood friends playing from sun-up to sun-down. I was a dreamer back then and very goal oriented.

 

Anndrea: I was a gypsy child that marched to her own drummer. My family moved a lot growing up. Due to my nomadic lifestyle, I was able to re-invent myself every few years. (I had a few crazy style phases.)

 

How did that affect your path towards entrepreneurship?

Aimee: I have continued to be a dreamer. Always thinking about the next idea and how to make it work. One of my childhood friend’s family owned the local hardware store so we always had lemonade stands, sold cookies, etc. I think the idea of being able to make my own money was learned at a very young age. We even tried to sell Popsicle stick crafts at one of my mom’s rummage sales.

 

Anndrea: Moving around allowed me to have experiences that I would not have had living in one place. I had to push myself to meet new people and make friends, adapt to new surroundings, and learn how other cultures and cities worked. That stuff makes you learn who you are and where your place is very quickly. Being true to myself, following my gut, and discovering out what I loved doing, led to entrepreneurship.

 

If your story could fit into a 30 second commercial, how would it go down?

Aimee: It would be divided into three parts. It would start out by showing me growing up in an innocent childhood world (playing Small Town Girl) to a twenty something woman making the most of the decade (playing a 90’s gangster rap song would be appropriate), into a thirty some year old finding herself and learning exactly who I am as a friend, a wife, a mother, and a boss lady (playing the intro to ACDC Thunderstuck).

 

Anndrea: Showing where I’ve lived, how I was always trying to make something to sell, and my crazy outfit choices through the decades. I’m talking stapled felt purses (before owning a sewing machine), to a night crawler stand (yes, I know most kids sell lemon-aid), to hand-cut precious stone jewelry. All while wearing true 80’s fashion, jnco jeans and hand-sewn tie dye numbers, overalls with a million patches, and now today’s blue arrow garb.

​​

 Photo by Mad Chicken Studio

 

 

What ultimately made you decide to do the lovely thing you do?

Aimee: I had been in a corporate setting as a supervisor and was forced to take on my favorite co-workers job along with my current role and they fired her. It was a difficult experience that was a big reason why I decided to leave the corporate world and jump into entrepreneurship.

 

Anndrea: Honestly, it was the encouragement from Aimee. I had the drive and ideas for a boutique, but didn’t have the knowledge of the “how-to” to get started on a storefront.

 

Who’s positively influenced your path the most?

Aimee: My mom. She always encourages me.

 

Anndrea: My family has always supported and encouraged me to follow my own path. They let me believe that I could do anything I put my mind to.

 

It sounds cliché, but who sees their kid wearing jnco jeans, a little boys thrift store T-shirt that has been tie-dyed by yours truly, a hand-made necklace, and all with coordinating eye-shadow and tell them, “Yeah, you’re so good at creating looks and fashion…you should go to school to work with metals and fibers so you can make this look for others” ???

 

My gosh, the support. And, they let me leave the house like that!

 

Favorite part about working for yourself?

Aimee: Making the rules and setting the bar!

 

Anndrea: Seeing ideas or sketches come to life!

 

 Photo by On 3 Photography

 

 

Most challenging thing about working for yourself?

Aimee: It’s always been a struggle to get over feeling guilty when I’m not working. Finding that balance. Although I’m getting much better at this more recently.

 

Anndrea: Always being “on”. There really isn’t a shut off valve to working for yourself.

 

How do you get your creative juices flowing?

Aimee: Best ideas come to me on my runs or in the shower.

 

Anndrea: Traveling- putting yourself in new places and other people’s shoes. Asking questions to myself- What are they doing that is great? What are they wearing that I like? How are they surrounding themselves with beauty? Can I add to this? Is there something I could contribute?

 

If you could be a fly on the wall to anyone’s creative space {dead or alive} who would it be?

Aimee: I think I would I go for one the big dog CEO’s. Any of them would be worth spending time watching.

 

Anndrea: Gosh, I’d love to be so many flies on so many walls! (Van Gogh, Picasso, Charles Tiffany (Tiffany & Co.), Coco Chanel, Iris Apfel, Eddie Vedder…)

 Talk about a failure you’ve learned from.

Aimee: Oh man, after 12 years of of being an entrepreneur I’ve had a few failures. But I always found that mistakes are the best way to learn. I think my best failures result from being impatient. I’ve learned that time keeps flying by and somethings don’t need to be rushed.

 

Anndrea: I really thought I needed to finish college in 4 years. I crammed in too many credits my senior year and focused more on finishing the degree vs. what I was supposed to be doing—learning!

 

That experience has taught me that even if I have an end goal, I don’t have to rush to reach it.  Sometimes riding the wave can be just as important.

 

What’s one of your proudest accomplishments in business?

Aimee: Seeing things go full circle from ideas.

 

Anndrea: In our first year, a customer came in to buy a top she saw online, got engaged later that day in the same top she just purchased, and then came back to blue arrow the next day to tell us! How very rewarding to be part of that big day. Our clothes get to be part of very cool things on very cool ladies!

 

What do you wish you knew when you first started that you know now?

Aimee: I have a tendency to get all my ducks in a row before starting things. I wish I could start things more quickly and not feel like things have to be perfect. And, how quickly time was going to go by.

 

How did you land on the name “blue arrow boutique”?

Anndrea: We both loved the color blue and wanted to incorporate that color into the “feel” for the space and also wanted to use the name to pay homage to the Great Lake we were sitting by! The arrow symbolizes us moving forward in a new direction, together.

 

 Photo by Mad Chicken Studio

 

You’ve cultivated quite a following- how has social media played a part in your business?

Aimee: It was extremely important for businesses to have a social media presence when we first opened the blue arrow boutique. This was our major effort for marketing. It was very effective on getting the word out quickly about who we were. It allowed us to build and create brand awareness. And it became part of our daily routine starting with the OOTD.

 

Anndrea: Social media has been pretty awesome to us. It has allowed us to share who we are and what we do with customers and potential customers. And, we are able to receive feedback on inventory quickly.

 

When we started, we had a goal of doing one post a day, “outfit of the day” to show how to curate an outfit from bab. The response was really positive! So, we thought, let’s share all of this new stuff we receive every day. Then, daily inventory posts became our routine. Again, we heard positive responses like, “I saw this on Instagram. It makes my life easier to see what you have so I can swing here on my way home.”

 

So, yes- social media has played a large part in our business, but without feedback from our customers, it would just be us taking photos of shipments. So, Social (customers) + Media (our posting) is the key point here.

 

What’s next / What are you most excited about?

Aimee: Well, only time will tell on this one but we have a vision for what we want our future to look like and have much more to offer the city of Superior!

 

Anndrea: I still get excited driving to work every day. After almost 3 years, it still feels like the anticipation of Christmas every day. I ask myself, “What will that item look like from our fashion dealer in person?” And then, you get to tear open the box!

 

The “What’s next” question…I feel that question drives both of us so never stop asking that same question to ourselves! We are always cooking something up to align with our vision for the City of Superior!

 

Photo by On 3 Photography 

 

 

Lighting Round! 

 

Time of the day you are most productive:

Aimee: I’m an early bird. I like when things are quiet and still.

 

Anndrea: 9pm-11pm

 

The app you couldn’t live without:

Aimee: Podcasts

 

Anndrea: Pinterest

 

Social media outlet you love most:

Aimee: Instagram

 

Anndrea: Snapchat

 

Favorite Pandora station at the moment:

Aimee: Prince, enough said.

 

Anndrea: I'm a Belieber, but Harry Styles right now. (Eddie Vedder, please don't see this.)

 

Go to piece in your wardrobe:

Aimee: The Cardi

 

Anndrea: Worn-in jeans or a NikiBiki tank.

 

Favorite Netflix binge:

Aimee: I’m a Podcast junkie. I can’t sit still long enough to watch a full episode of anything.

 

Anndrea: Stranger Things

 

Best “hidden gem” in the community:

Aimee: Yoga Instructor Holly Bounting

 

Anndrea: The Spirit Room, although I don't think it is very hidden anymore!

See more from BAB (in person & online):

1404 Tower Avenue, Superior WI

WebsiteFacebookInstagramSnapchat

 

 Photo by On 3 Photography

 

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