Each month we feature a woman entrepreneur who personifies what it means to be a Business Betty- she is confident, smart, stylish and successful. Do you know a woman that you consider a Betty? Tell us about her by sending a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suzanne recently traveled to Austin, Texas, and when she discovered a lingerie shop called Teddies for Bettys, there was no question. She had to meet the woman behind this place. I mean, anyone who names their business with the word Betty in it has to be a kindred spirit, right?
We’d like to introduce you to this kindred spirit, owner of Teddies for Bettys and this month’s Featured Betty, Ashley Kelsch.
Teddies for Bettys is an everyday intimates store with a focus on bra fittings. We offer lingerie, loungewear, swim and personal well-being products for women. As an everyday intimates store, we take pride in our appeal to the everyday woman and her many dimensions. Our lingerie selection is mindful that today’s woman is conscious, working and needs comfort at all stages of life, yet also desires to feel fashionable and confident. We seek to empower women by helping them find their inner Betty – that sexiness and edge that exudes confidence throughout the day and into the night – while offering superior customer service.
We LOVE the name of your shop! How did the idea of Teddies For Bettys come about?
🙂 THANK YOU! I came up with the concept in my basement when I was living in Maui HI. After 8 years in real estate and a declining market I wanted to do something that was ‘less stressful’ and more fun. I can’t help but laugh now at the ‘less stressful’…
Starting a retail business would seem risky to many people. What gave you the confidence to take that leap?
One part pure naiveness, one part risk taker. I think it’s safe to say I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into. I only knew that every time a woman walked away happy in a proper fitting bra, I was ecstatic… and wanted to make sure another woman had the same experience.
What challenges do you face as a lingerie shop? How do you turn them around to work in your favor?
The biggest challenge I face owning a lingerie shop is the stigma that comes with it. Unfortunately, the word lingerie in america can often times suggest more than everyday foundations and lends itself to the imagination. I feel like I have to ‘down playing’ my offering depending on the audience.
Many women struggle with securing funding for their startups, do you have any advice based on your own experience?
It’s a struggle that I’m currently in the process of. I can honestly say I have a few things going against me; I’m the founder, it’s lingerie and I always work backwards.
If I had it to do over I would hire an attorney, prepare a solid business plan, ask for more money than you’re thinking, (ABSOLUTELY build in a salary) and know that ‘no’ is not personal.
What is a typical day like for you?
Ideally, I like to get my workout in before anything else. After the kids are off to school, I hit the road running; I start posting to social media, responding to emails, and returning phone calls while making my way towards the shop. If I have appointments, I tend to schedule them before I go into the shop because the reality is, I get very caught up in what I’m doing and am typically late.
Once I’m in the shop, I go over sales from the previous days, place re-orders.
Meet with my online admin to analyze our website, review graphic updates based on new inventory and review content for blogs/descriptions.
Meet with our shop manager to talk about sales goals, our sales associates, foot traffic, overall “Shop Talk”.
Meet with our buyer to go over new purchases and brand analysis.
A lot of time is being spent on the development of our new location; Attorneys. Architects. Bankers. Investors. Realtors. Therapist. Business Coach. Vendors. Etc.
Usually I’m running to my car by the end of the day to pick up my kids from school when I realized I haven’t even thought about the most important question of the day; what’s for dinner?
Do you have habits or rituals to help keep balance in your life?
Working out is a must, but is the first thing to get put on the back burner. As working mothers, we all have the habit of putting ourselves last. With everything going on, I knew I needed there release so I signed up for the New York Marathon, committed to raising money for Every Mother Counts and joined a running team to train with me. FULL ACCOUNTABILITY.
What is your most valuable resource (i.e. people, tools, books)?
Podcasts and People. Now more than ever I need to hear people’s life experiences, both good and bad. It resonates and reminds me, I’m not alone.
Who has been your most influential mentor or role model?
Growing up, I didn’t have any mentors or role models. Which is unfortunate. With that said, after all these years of talking one on one with women in the dressing rooms, I’ve been inspired, moved and motivated in a way that I didn’t know was possible. I’ve watched and listened as women have faced breast cancer, the end of a relationship, the beginning of another, new jobs, pregnancy, starting over in a new city, major life events, and I’ve watched them not only show up but evolve. It’s powerful.
Maybe I’m implying that the female spirit is my greatest influence and role model.
How do you turn around a bad day?
Depends on how bad! It could be crawling in bed with a piece of cake, snuggling up with my kids, or pounding the pavement for 5 miles to Lemonade by Beyonce on repeat.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
Honestly, I’m such an open book that everyone probably knows!
Coffee or Tea? Morning Person or Night Owl? Netflix or YouTube (favorite series?)
Both. Morning. Netflix— currently binging on Stranger Things
How do you want people to connect with you?