9 to 5: Mallory, Baby Shop Owner

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Hi everyone! My name is Mallory and I was born and raised in New Jersey...still living here. I am 25 years old, married to the love of my life, and am the owner of Seedling, A Baby Shop.  I will be celebrating a year in business on June 18th!  You can learn more about me, my life, and Seedling at my blog, Seedling Life.

Describe a typical day at work.

A typical day at Seedling is usually based around helping my wonderful customers, the best part of my job. I love seeing proud mama's and their babies, and I love helping grandparents, family, and friends choose gifts for the tiny ones in their lives. Other then customer service, you can find me merchandising the shop, updating my windows, searching online for the newest, cutest baby gear, placing orders, cleaning, and book keeping. I also spend a lot of time reading through baby blogs (this is how I found Sometimes Sweet!!) to see what products real moms are using, as well as working on my own blog. 

Did you always want to own a baby shop? How did you get into this field? What kind of schooling or background did it entail?

To own my own store was always a dream of mine. I'm not sure if I ever thought it would be more then that…I mean, how often do dreams become reality? To be honest, the opportunity to open Seedling kind of came out of nowhere; it wasn't something that was years in the making, not something I was sure would ever happen. Things just happened to fall perfectly into place right in front of me, and I decided I was ready to take this on, ready to try and make my dream come true.

My career leading up to Seedling began when I got my first retail job when I was 16 years old, and still in high school. I loved, loved, loved my job- loved the independence it gave me, the great friends I made, and the money was nice too. J  When it came time to decide where I wanted to go to college and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I , like so many other 18 year olds, had no clue what I wanted to do. All that I knew at the time was that I was completely sick of school, and I was anxious to get out into the 'real world,' get a job, start working, start making money, and start traveling.   Although I did decide to go to college, it only lasted about half a semester before I decided that I needed to do what made me happy. So I dropped out of college, got a promotion to a full time manager at Banana Republic, and really believed that I could be happy with a career in retail.

I spent the next eight years fully immersed in the life of retail. I learned the ins-and-outs of great customer service; I studied and learned merchandising; I learned about daily/monthy/yearly sales goals; and I learned how to manage a business. I earned many promotions, worked for a couple different companies, and met tons of great people that taught me so much. Three years ago, I made my last move to a kids and baby company, and completely fell in love with all of the adorable tiny clothing and accessories (I mean, who doesn't love the cuteness of baby clothes?!) It was about this time that I also began to feel completely unfulfilled with my job and really started to brain storm on what other options I had as far as work. I wasn't sure what my next move would be exactly, but I knew that I needed a change…badly.

One of my good friends was in the process of opening a store of her own at that time, and I began to really pick her brain. I was curious how this was possible for her, and thought that just maybe, if it was possible for her, it could be possible for me too. After all, this was my dream! On top of quizzing my friend, I did an insane amount of research online, and also began to think about how I could financially pull off quitting my job and opening up my own business. Just for the hell of it, I went to look at t few locations in the adorable down town area of Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. And I found the perfect location. For rent. Reasonable rent. I went into panic mode, knowing that this opportunity could pass me by at any second, and in my heart, I knew that this was it. I called my husband (my fiancé at the time) and my parents. They agreed that it was a sign, and it was time for me to take a leap of faith, and follow my dream.

A week later, I signed my lease, my husband started the renovations, I started buying merchandise, and on June 18th, 2010, Seedling, A Baby Shop opened its doors for business. Although this past year has been a scary and emotional roller coaster, it has also been the most rewarding year of my life, and I would not change a thing.

Is this what you hope to do for the rest of your life? If so, how do you see yourself growing in this career? If not, what else do you dream of doing? Where do you see yourself in 10 years, career-wise?

It would be easy for me to say right now that I hope I can run a successful business for the rest of my life, or at least until I am ready to retire. But, the reality is that a huge factor of being a business owner is the unknown. You can plan, and plan, and plan, but you cannot control the economy or how often people choose to go out and shop. The inconsistency of this business is something that I struggle with on an almost daily basis. I have a great day, and I am on top of the world, I have a bad day, and I question everything. Staying positive and focusing on my great days is all that I can do.

My ultimate, and maybe farfetched, goal for Seedling would obviously for it to be wildly successful and for it to allow my husband and I along with our future children, be able to travel all over the world while I pay employees to do all of my work. Hey, a girl can dream right ;)

If you could tell your 17-year old self anything about your life today, what would you tell her?  Is there anything you wish you would have known back then? Was there anything you would have done differently as far as your career, setting yourself up for success, etc?

If I could tell my 17 year old self one thing, it would be to not think so much. You do not need to have your entire life figured out at 17, you just need to do what makes you happy and try to stay focused on your future that lies in front of you. I was so concerned with figuring out what I wanted to so, and so unsure of which path to take, that I didn't act on so many things, so many opportunities. I would tell myself that with age, comes clarity….when I look back, my 17 year old head was so all over the place, so cloudy. I would tell myself to not be so insecure, not to try so hard to find love- that when I least expect it, I will meet the love of my life. And I would tell myself, that in time, everything works itself out. Oh, and that the summer after your high school graduation will be the best of your life- you will find yourself and your friends for life-so savor every moment!

As far as my career goes, I really don't think that I would not change a thing except for the fact that I wish I had made it through college; for myself, and to save my parents from the disappointment I know they felt.  Other than that, my path so far has lead me to where  I am today, and I could not ask to be in a better place.