I’m so excited to announce our new series, Meet the Boutique. For this series, I will be interviewing a series of boutiques and shops where they will share the ins and outs of their business. First up in this series is Kevan Christine from Made in California.
If you are interested in having your boutique featured next, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
1. What’s the name of your store/shop? Do you have a store location or sell solely online?
The name of my shop is Made in California, which is currently online with plans for a mobile shop in the (nearer) future.
2. How did your store/shop start out? What prompted you to start one?
After 15 years as a professional photographer within the portrait/lifestyle area shooting promotional images, album covers and concerts, I reached my limit of dealing with insane people and incredibly inflated egos (without the talent to match most of the time). I was exhausted and sick from the pace and environment. After working with a holistic specialist to get my health back on track (both physically and emotionally), I gained a lot of knowledge and dove into learning everything I could about living a more natural, simple lifestyle without sacrificing your sanity. So, I started Made in California (named as a nod to my roots) in 2015 after deciding that at thirtysomething, I needed a change of pace that involved more living and less stressing.
Despite this lightbulb moment, I also had a physical need to simplify my life. Battling Chronic Migraines since I was a young child, and having unsuccessfully tried treating them through western medicine for 20+ years, I turned to a more natural lifestyle using holistic practices and clean nutrition to help manage them. As my natural lifestyle grew, I expanded into developing my own aromatherapy products created from organic, hand-grown natural herbs and ingredients. After a lot of testing and encouragement from family and friends (as well as my mother saying “People need this stuff! Open a shop!”), I decided to launch Made in California. With a little “practical magic” on my side, I’m focused on providing a trusted shop and guide that people can turn to for products and information with a humorous twist on living a more natural, simple life.
3. When we start new projects, we always have dreams and ideas of what we think our new venture will be like? Is it exactly how you thought running a boutique would be? Harder than you thought or easier?
In some ways it’s both easier and harder. Easier in the sense that things fell into place as far as what I need to do and how I need to do it as a business owner, but harder in trying to translate my in-person voice and message to online and social media. I am a big believer in connecting with people one on one so trying to do that to a potential audience of millions while still making it feel personal is definitely a learning curve.
4. If you were to start a completely new shop today, what would you do differently when first starting out?
I would have probably hired a designer to handle the branding and website and a product photographer. I would have saved myself a lot of frustration, hours and general head banging against the wall. As a graphic designer and photographer (my fancy shmancy degrees are sitting in a drawer somewhere) I’m great at creating for other people but myself? Not so much. I’m never satisfied with what I do and I probably never will be!
5. As with any business, you want to keep yours fresh and up-to-date. What are some of the ways you try to stand out from the crowd and keep your boutique updated with changing trends and interest?
I do a limited Aromatherapy Relaxation Pillow and Eye Mask scent every month for my Om Sweet Om line and I’m working on other products currently in the development and testing phase. My products are based on the four elements and seasons so I definitely focus on creating and carrying products that are reflective of that and are only available for that individual season (expect pumpkin and chai everything this upcoming Autumn!). I think trends come and ago and prefer to focus on what sticks around and has proven to never go out of style.
6. Describe for us a typical working day for you and your shop?
A typical day for me is different every day. I’m fortunate that I work for myself but it definitely makes it hard to maintain a work/personal separation. I usually am up with the sun (I’m an early to bed early to rise kind of gal) and do a breakfast/downtime hour or so with my furry kiddos and my cup of coffee to get my brain focused and make a list of what I want to accomplish and what I need to get done for the day. Then I start checking off my list. My day can include everything from returning emails and writing upcoming posts for the guide, to packing up orders, replenishing stock, developing new products, shooting new product, planning marketing for the next season, queuing up social media posts, and more. I like to change it up every day so I don’t get into a rut and I take frequent breaks throughout the day to give my brain a breather. I put strict cutoffs on my work day because if I don’t I can easily work 24/7/365 which isn’t healthy (nor is it a life!). So, I usually wrap up by 4pm, head out to my gardens and work out there harvesting herbs and getting them prepped for drying, re-planting, watering and cleaning up or putting in some time on the band saw and sander for some of my home good products while the kiddos run around and get into trouble. After dinner the kiddos and I have playtime and then I’ll usually read or watch some tv before I do my bedtime routine and then it’s lights out. I’m a big believer is 9 hours of sleep a night.
7. As some of you know, I am a social media specialist for e-commerce and brick and mortar retailers, so I always like to know — what your favorite platform to use for your boutique? Why?
I really like Snapchat [editor’s note: Follow Kevan Christine over at Snapchat — @themadeincalife]. The fact that it’s only there for 24 hours makes its fun and gives it the sense of urgency to view posts. Instagram has been great for connecting with brands, blogs, customers and opportunities that I otherwise would most likely never be able to.
8. Last question! Any big time news, recent celebrations or exciting new ventures going on with your shop you’d like to share with us?
My shop website and blog will be debuting a facelift on August 1st so I’m really excited about that! I have some fantastic new products coming this Autumn as well as limited edition Autumn scent Om Sweet Om Aromatherapy Relaxation eye masks, pillow and other products. Autumn is my favorite time of year and I can’t get enough pumpkin, apple cinnamon, chai everything so you’ll definitely be able to shop that! Head over to the website and sign up for sneak peeks, free downloads and more!
Kevan Christine is the owner of Made in California. You can check out her websit here. Follow her and her business over on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Add her on Snapchat: @themadeincalife.
BONUS! Use the coupon code HEYMELISSA at check out to receive one (1) free Om Sweet Om Reclaimed Birch Aromatherapy Oil Air Diffuser with a purchase of $25 or more (before shipping)! Just add one (1) Om Sweet Om Reclaimed Birch Aromatherapy Oil Air Diffuser to your cart. Valid until July 31st, 2016.