Industry Profile: Haley Welsome

Haley Welsome

Owner, Blush Boutique: 

How long has your boutique been in business?
We celebrated our 10 year Anniversary June 2015.

What inspired you to start your boutique?
I had worked in the retail industry since I was 14 years old then graduated college with my degree in Elementary Education and shortly thereafter became a Realtor. I was still trying to discover what I was truly passionate about and after some soul searching, I decided to take my years of experience in retail and open my first store.

What was your major in school and how did it help you in your business? 
I went to Santa Monica College for my Associates Degree and Cal State Dominguez Hills for my Elementary Education Degree.  Graduating from college taught me discipline, follow through, developing and maintaining relationships and overall life skills which have been an integral part of owning my business.

What has been the biggest challenge in establishing your business?
Owning a boutique is so much more than selecting beautiful clothing and product to sell.  For example, so much of buying goes back to math/budgeting/inventory planning and control. 

Have you always had a business like mind or is it something you developed and continue to learn? 
Having a business mind is something that I developed along the way and am still continuing to learn every day.  When we first opened, the buying/budgeting/inventory planning and control was all created off of rough estimates and tweaked along the way.

Describe your boutiques style aesthetic:
I would say our aesthetic is somewhere in between rustic, beachy and minimalistic.

Describe a typical day buying at LA market:  
A typical day starts at 5am, getting showered, out the door, quick bite to eat/juice/coffee in hand, hour long drive, first appointment at 8:30am, last appointment at 5:30pm, dinner, drive home....quickly get to bed for the start of day two (we generally complete our buying trips within three full days of appointments).

What is your favorite season to shop for and how do you get trend forecasting inspiration?
My absolute favorite season to shop for is Fall/Holiday.  It is our strongest season at Blush due to our climate in Alaska.  As an Alaskan girl who loves to layer thermals, sweaters, jackets, scarves, boots, tights with dresses, jewelry, etc, etc..... holiday collections are always inspiring and exciting to bring into the store for all our clients' festive holiday party needs.  

What are ways you have seen growth as a business owner over the years?
We just celebrated our 10th year at Blush and we are made up of our amazing loyal customers in our community. Alaskans are incredibly loyal to local business and we consider ourselves very lucky and extremely grateful. In addition to our customers, I have been blessed with a phenomenal team beside me throughout the years. Without them, I would not be as happy or balanced. Blush is made up of an incredible team that is our family.

How do you set yourself apart from other boutiques and how important was researching your boutique's market/demographic?
We aim to carry a limited quantity in hand selected goods that our customers will love. With shipments arriving weekly we try to keep our look fresh and constantly revolving. Our customers are number one; without them we wouldn't be here.

What advice you would give to someone interested in owning a boutique and buying that you wish someone gave to you?
I was fortunate enough to have an incredible mentor who gave me the confidence and skills to open Blush. She was very forthcoming on what it would take to open and run your own business. My advice would be to understand the time and dedication it takes. Expect to work everyday for at least the first year. It's vital to your business that you are there understanding the day in and day out and most importantly building and maintaining relationships with your clientele. 

What are your never leave the house without essentials?
Water, green juice, cell phone, Terry Baume rose lip balm, and my Hammitt wallet.

Who are your fashion icons? 
Gwyneth Paltrow, Lauren Hutton, Nicole Richie, Gwen Stefani.

Blush is located at 720 D Street in Anchorage, Alaska.