Behind the Scenes: Sherri Swanson
Business Name and Location: Goddess Boheme 3207 Prospect Peoria IL 61603
What is your business’ mission?
"A Bohemian Boutique for every size Goddess” providing a safe non-judgmental environment that welcomes absolutely all types of women. We specialize in beauty for all body types. Our designs embrace all religions, all ethnicity, all forms of sexuality, really truly everyone, and strives to give her options that allow true self-expression and authenticity through both outward and appearance and beautiful divine spirit.
Where did the idea for Goddess Boheme come from?
For many years, I could not find clothing that I wanted to wear locally in my size. I also was in need of a creative outlet and a way to use my artistic talents to provide for myself. I combined the two and started creating wearable art and up-cycled clothing in all sizes. I sold them in a local boutique before expanding to my own storefront last year.
What does your typical day look like?
My day starts online answering questions and placing orders, I might hit a thrift store or craft store on my way into the shop. I spend my day at Goddess Boheme, working on projects and merchandising in between customers and visits from friends and family. Through out the evening I check in on Facebook. I chat with customers here and there as needed as you never know when people might want to shop.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I am hoping that it is not short-lived trend, but up cycling trend excites me quite a bit. The idea of taking something no longer wanted and either repurposing or reforming it into a current and beautiful item is both highly creative and earth friendly. I can do something different every day. One day I might be hand sewing a bunch of vintage doilies together to make a top, the next I might be painting a Goddess on a Denim Jacket or hot-gluing silk flowers on fairy wings. Diversity keeps be from burning out and always busy.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The trait that has helped me is my passion for what I do. When something is your passion, you just can't turn it off. I guess you could call it focus. I am never not working mentally. Even on evenings and days off I can't help but plan projects, browse possible suppliers, and chat online with clients. This steady consistency has been beneficial to me.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job that I ever had was an activity director and a nursing home. Although I did enjoy time with some of the residents, I learned that being unauthentic did every one a disservice - most of all myself.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I were to start over again, I would trust my own judgment and not give control over any facet of my business to anyone else. Although his or her intentions might be good, no one knows what’s best for me better than me!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
TURN OFF THE NEWS!! OR any thing else that may give you pause about going for your dreams. We create our own reality through our thoughts, and like it or not, we are naturally influenced by what we hear, just change the channel!!! Don't listen to naysayers, pessimists, the news about the economy, statistics; none of it!!! Whether you think you CAN or you think you Can't: YOU ARE RIGHT!! You may even have to take a break from a few friends or family members if they are negative or unsupportive. (You can send them love from afar.) It takes 100% commitment to have the balls to start a business with little or no venture capital. No room for doubts!!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Facebook has been an amazing vehicle to deliver images and information to lots of people quickly! I sell things right off of Facebook every day, some days lots of things. It has been beyond helpful. I would not exist with out it. I have accumulated 6000 followers in just one year and have a goal to hit 10,000 by summer!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have occasionally made bad purchases for the store, often in an effort to please one particular client. They buy the one they wanted, and the rest sit here and sit here, I have learned to follow my own vision for what works here. To find resources for individual items rather than wholesale packages and to just keep it moving. I have learned to mark them down, give them away and move on to the next better decision
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
People do not always realize that the Artwork in the shop is my own; I earned a Bachelors in fine art and also offer custom art work including alter-ego portraits!
What software and web services do you use?
I use Facebook, e-mails, Big Commerce, and Pinterest.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Creative Mind by Earnest Holmes. This book can introduce ideas that teach you how to take control and responsibility for your own life and prosperity, get out of victim mentality, and basically be happy!
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Buddah Strouse and Julie Vonachen. Budduh Strouse owns Indigo next door to me with her wife Barb. She introduced the mind-blowing idea to me that I could manifest and create my own life by simply believing that I could! Once I declared my intentions to the Universe, amazing things just fell into place that allowed me to be where I am today, I am very grateful, and blessed! Julie Vonachen (Miss Moon) of the Moondancer, who believed in my talent, and taught me the importance of putting love into everything you do. And my parents for biting their lips when I needed them to and for always being a strong foundation and support system.
What do you love most about Central Illinois?
I love central Illinois because my family is here, the Arts Community is growing and evolving, and the metaphysical/holistic community is not only being accepted, but embraced. I find this encouraging and very hopeful for all of our futures.
Behind the Scenes: Sherri Swanson