Meet the Merchant: Lily Jane Boutique
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Meet Sarah Jane! She is the owner of Lily Jane Boutique based in Auburn, AL. As a senior at Auburn University she has had to learn how to balance school, life and a booming small business! She is a true example of a hard working entrepreneur and you will love reading about her story below!
How did you come up with your business name?
The “Jane” in Lily Jane comes from generations of “Jane” middle names (hence, Sarah Jane!) It was important to me to bring that tradition into my business. Quite honestly, after trial and error, Lily Jane sounded cute and flows nicely and just stuck.
Tell us about your products/merchandise
Our merchandise is a wide variety of jewelry, bags, clothing and other accessories that are priced as fairly as possible. We are known for our earring wall in our Bodegas at Midtown Auburn location that is full of earrings from top to bottom! Some of our best sellers are our Haute Shore bags, as well as our Pomchies and Kitsch face masks. We also feature some handmade art pieces that come from local Auburn artists. We strive to be a one-stop shop!
Where all do you currently sell?
We currently have a storefront in Midtown Auburn at the Bodegas in addition to our Maker and Merchant space. We also have a website for customers to place online orders. We also accept orders through direct message through our main Instagram account @lilyjaneboutique1, as we understand the importance of having a social media presence as a college-town based business!
What is your favorite part about owning a small business? I think my favorite part about owning a small business has been the connections I’ve made in the community, both on a personal and business level. I never could have imagined how full my heart would feel after owning a small business and meeting so many amazing people who have supported me in so many ways! I hope my small business leaves a lasting impact on the community in a way that the community has made on me as a person and as a business owner.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a small business?
I think the biggest challenge that I’ve faced has been balancing life with my small business. I’m currently a senior at Auburn University, and have owned my business throughout my college career. It’s been hard navigating test weeks with trunk shows, or covering shifts during presentations. I don’t think anyone knows exactly the right way to balance school, life and a small business, but I think I’ve figured out enough to find success through the chaos!
What has been your biggest success? I think my biggest success has been opening our first storefront in Midtown in August of 2020. Before our storefront, it was years of trunk shows in sorority chapter rooms, personalized shopping sessions out of my dorm room or attic and a lot of word of mouth events. I ran my small business from my room, which changed every year as I moved around. I’m super proud of owning a storefront as a senior in college, and I think that has to be my biggest success so far!
What is one thing you wish you knew before starting your small business?
I wish I would’ve known a little bit more about the paperwork and all the behind the scenes requirements of starting a small business, especially with employees! As a college senior, I haven’t had very much experience with tax forms or other employee payment paperwork, so that was definitely a learning experience.
What is the best piece of advice you would give someone aspiring to start their own small business?
Though it sounds cliché, I think I would tell someone to expect the unexpected. If you would’ve told me five years ago I would own a small business with a storefront that I opened during a pandemic, I would’ve told you you were crazy! But now, I cant imagine my life any other way. It’s so important to be ready to roll with the punches as you start your small business in order to be successful! What are your goals for your business moving forward?
I think my biggest goal is to continue to grow. I am so grateful for our success so far because I know it’s only the beginning! With the support of my community, my employees and my parents, I can only hope to go up from here. You can shop Lily Jane online, in their store front located at 1188 Opelika Road Suite E, Auburn Alabama 36830 and in The Maker and Merchant. Be sure to check them out on Instagram and on Facebook.