Archive of ‘Business’ category

Inspired Retreat

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Last year, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Inspired Retreat, a getaway for creative women entrepreneurs to grow, connect and be inspired. It was such an amazing experience that will has forever changed me and Pearly Gates Designs.

I am so excited to be featured on Inspired’s blog for Makers Monday. Check it out by clicking here. Below are just a few photos taken by the amazing friend and photographer, Brandi from Alexis June Weddings.

I was lucky enough to have this gal as my roommate for the weekend! I cannot wait to share with you all the magic she is creating and launching soon!


Business Bombshell: LovelyB

Why did y’all decide to start your own business?

Well… it’s kind of a crazy story! I graduated TCU in 2011 with a Masters of Accounting and an undergrad Business Administration degree. I LOVED accounting (huge nerd, I know). I am a very organized and methodical person who loves math, so it was kind of perfect. After graduation, I married my husband, Andy, and I worked at an accounting firm for a year as a tax accountant. I learned so much while I was there and I loved the people I worked with, but I felt like there was a part of me that was being help back. I didn’t feel like I was using all my gifts. Busy season was also pretty rough. Andy and I didn’t see one another very much, and I could see how this job could negatively affect our marriage and quality of life. So, after my first busy season Andy thought it would be fun if we tried to pursue my jewelry hobby more seriously. After one small trunk show out of our home in Fort Worth, we took the leap of faith and started LovelyB!

How did you decide to leave your day job and take on LovelyB full time?

It was a really hard decision! I definitely did not make it over night! I got counsel from my family and my husband’s family. Andy and I prayed together about what to do – fully knowing that God had everything in his hands. It is funny because I remember the exact moment I felt at peace about quitting. I was at work sitting at my desk (in my awesome cubicle) working on an Excel spreadsheet, and I was color coordinating every cell. I was more focused on making the spreadsheet look appeasing to the eye with colors that complimented one another and with a balanced design than I did about the content. At that point I was like ok… what am I doing here?


What is the best advice you received when starting LovelyB?

It came from Andy and it was to “dream big”! I have learned from Andy the joy of dreaming. Sometimes we dream about living on land somewhere. Sometimes we dream about having a house full of kids. Sometimes we dream of retiring in Hawaii… it goes on and on. When we started LovelyB we dreamed of me having a flexible job that would allow me to stay at home when we had children. Then, we dreamed of starting our own business together. And then, we leaned into the Lord together for guidance and direction.

How did you start making bracelets?

While in high school, I would play around with wire and beads with my best friend. I started making my bracelets as birthday and Christmas gifts, but never took it seriously. While at TCU I ventured into game day earrings and continued to work on my bracelets. My roommate would tell me that I was crazy to not be pursuing this more – I was focused on school, and didn’t really realize what I had!


Where do you pull inspiration for your designs? 

Everywhere! I love playing with color and any kind of bead. I have boxes and boxes of beads that I have collected over the years. From the changing leaves between seasons, to any interior design magazine (Veranda is my favorite!), to the current and future fashion trends, to wrapping paper, to fabric swatches… my eye is always inspired!

What has been your biggest success with LovelyB?

We are currently in two major market showrooms and have sold to hundreds of stores! We also sell to various big chain stores in the US, which is so exciting! We gain most of our business from Dallas, Atlanta, and Vegas markets – we have so much fun with it! Andy always travels with me to Atlanta and Vegas. It is a blast! We love meeting our storeowners, and I enjoy having a good business relationship with them. “Success” is hard to define. We don’t really keep count of stores or pride ourselves on that. Truly the best feeling and when I feel “successful” is seeing a stranger out and about wearing my pieces. It’s the best feeling in the world. I always introduce myself and want to hear their story of how they found LovelyB. I also always give a bracelet off my wrist to my new friend, so be on the look out!

What is it like to work with your husband?

It’s THE BEST! I am the luckiest girl in the world. Andy is one of those people who never has a bad day. Ever. Truly, we just had our 4 year anniversary and everyday when he calls me on his way home from work and I ask him how his day was he always says, “Today was great!” It’s his spirit and outlook on life that makes working with him the absolute best. He still works for his family’s corrugated box business, but he helps me with orders after work and on the weekend. I am pretty impressed with his beading skills! He can proudly say (and I would not argue) that he can make any bracelet in our line from start to finish. All by himself! Ha! But, I am the more creative one, and Andy is more of the business oriented one. We are the perfect duo! I come up with a design, and Andy produces the most efficient method to create the pieces and finds the most sustainable suppliers.


What color combination has been your favorite go-to bracelet stack this summer? 

Definitely all the neutrals! I usually wear all gold jewelry, so the gold neutral bracelets are my all time favorite and my most worn!

In your opinion, what are the three things someone should consider before starting their own business? 

  1. Have faith! Deuteronomy 31:7-8 is a verse I go to frequently. “ Be strong and courageous… do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you!” LovelyB would not be where it is today without Andy and my steadfast faith and trust in the Lord. He is the first person we talk to every morning and the last person we talk to every night!
  1. Be ready to sell yourself! People want a story behind your product or service. It’s always more fun to invest in a product or brand that has an interesting and fun story!
  1. Stay true to your dream! You may be told you are “crazy”, but use that to fuel your determination to gain momentum and grow. My parents were not exactly excited when I told them about my desire to start my own jewelry line. I was so blessed to get a sustainable and reputable job right out of college, and they just couldn’t imagine me risking the loss of that security. I think any loving and caring parent would have that thought or worry in their mind. It was scary and it was a huge risk, but it was so worth it. My parents are totally on board now, and see how much fruit has come from me starting LovelyB!

What projects are you currently excited about? Any big plans for fall? 

We just recently launched our Fall line, Marvel, in July this year! We have had an awesome response! Our blush bracelets have been the customer favorite! I am starting to work on Spring now! It’s crazy how in the current season you are always working on the next season. It never stops, but I enjoy it! Besides the big rush for Christmas, we do have BIG plans for fall! We are having a baby in December! AH! We are so excited and are looking forward to LovelyB + Baby!

Thanks Allison for being this month’s Business Bombshells!  I am so excited to see Andy and your family growing!  Check out her website here: and you definitely want to follow her for the latest trends and new designs on  Instagram .

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Business Bombshells: The Defined Dish

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Why did y’all decide to start your own business?

Madison is a personal trainer and works at a Pilates studio. Her life and job is health and fitness focused while Alex has always loved to cook and entertain. Over the years, we have influenced one another: Alex taught Mada the ropes in cooking, Mada made Alex get off her Mom butt and workout more, so we have become very well rounded in both healthy cooking and fitness. With that being said, a blog was something we talked about doing for a while and once we were in the same city living only 10 minutes from one another, we started The Defined Dish and have loved every minute of it!

What is the best advice you received when starting The Defined Dish?

Choose a target audience and create recipes/workouts that work for their very specific lifestyle! Trying to please everyone is nearly impossible and if we stick to what our target audience wants, we will have a much more satisfied following.


Where do you pull inspiration for your recipes? 

Family recipes that we adjust and make healthier, from dishes that we love at restaurants and recreate in our own kitchen, traveling, following other foodies on instagram, watching The Cooking Channel and Food Network, and of course Pinterest.

What has been your biggest success with The Defined Dish?

Getting feedback from readers telling us how much they love our recipes! What we hear most from people is that they never used to cook and now do all the time thanks to us. That is SO rewarding! Our target audience is beginner cooks that want to cook simple and healthy meals for themselves/their families.

What is it like to work with your sister?

We are best friends and spend an abnormal amount of time with one another, so doing this together has been so much fun! Plus, we love having a couple of glasses of wine together and then talking about fun new recipe ideas!


If we were to look in your fridge or pantry, what ingredients do you always have on hand?

In the fridge- eggs, fresh herbs, garlic, onions, cherry tomatoes, some sort of fresh fruit, spinach.

Pantry- Canned diced tomatoes, quinoa, chicken broth, TONS of spices.

In your opinion, what are the three things someone should consider before starting their own business?

Time, time and time. If you are doing something on the side and have another job, like we are right now, you have to make the time to do what you started. There is no point in us having a Food and Fitness blog if we are only going to post once every week or two weeks! We know that if we want to grow, we have to stay consistent and passionate. Which means putting in some time and effort!


With Memorial Day around the corner, do you have any favorite recipes for whipping up for a weekend at the lake with friends?

One of our favorite, festive dishes for Memorial Day or any day of Summer Grilling is our “Street Corn” recipe. We healthified it by making a Greek Yogurt Cilantro-Lime Aioli sauce (typically you use mayonnaise as the base). Also, to keep it simple yet still serve something outside of the box, try our Chimichurri Steak Kabobs and save the Burgers and Hotdogs for any other day! Lastly, we don’t go a Memorial Day or Fourth of July Weekend without this Arugula, Feta and Watermelon Salad by our favorite chef, Ina Garten. (Recommendation: Make the Chimichurri and the Greek Yogurt Aioli before and keep it in the fridge over night to make your Memorial Day cooking super easy!)


What projects are you currently excited about? Any big goals for 2015?

We are going to do a “Thai Week” soon with all Thai influenced recipes! We love Thai food and have really been learning to cook with Thai ingredients lately and want to share all our fun, healthy recipes. As far as big goals go, we just would love to see our following continue to grow—we’d like to have at least 10k followers on Instagram by the end of the year! Wish us luck!


Thanks Alex and Madison for being this month’s Business Bombshells!  Check out their website here: and you definitely want to follow these girls on Instagram for delicious recipes and great workout tips!

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Business Bombshells: The Fox Society

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Why did y’all decide to start your own business?

We both had full-time desk jobs at great companies, but we weren’t feeling satisfied or highly engaged at the end of the day. Eileen had the idea for the Fox Society and wanted to make it happen, and Audrey jumped at the chance to join her in a creative venture. After several months of working on nights and weekends, we both quit our day jobs and haven’t looked back since!

What is the best advice you received when starting your The Fox Society?

You’ve got to choose a narrow target market instead of trying to create something that everyone wants. Doing so will give your company a clear vision, prevent wasted marketing efforts, and create a better experience for those that the service is truly meant for. We originally wanted the Fox Society to cater to both singles and couples, but narrowing our scope to just couples was the right decision.

Where do you pull inspiration for your dates?

Talking to friends, driving around town, scouring Austin blogs, sites, and newspapers–we’re always on the lookout for new venues for our dates. We’ve both lived in Austin for almost ten years as well, so our favorite hidden gems are now becoming our clients’ favorite date spots.


What has been your biggest success with the Fox Society?

We love celebrating small milestones (like being in business for a year this past September!) and watching our numbers grow, especially through clients recommending us to their friends and family because they’ve had such a great experience.

As the date gurus, how would you describe YOUR perfect date?

The best dates we’ve been on have been completely novel experiences where you can bond over trying something new together. Before the Fox Society, neither of us had been to a drive-in movie, taken a dance lesson, or had a private cooking class, and now those are all fond (and often hilarious) memories.


In your opinion, what are the three things someone should consider before starting their own business?

  1. Do you genuinely believe in your business? Can you pitch it to strangers all day long with a smile and feel great about the value of what you’re selling?

  2. Have you thought through your business model? Make a lean canvas here and take it to a mentor for polishing.

  3. Does your business partner (if you have one) have a complementary skill set? We have different strengths, weaknesses, and educational and professional backgrounds, which makes us a good team. If you and your partner are both trying to handle the same half of the business, then you’ll run into problems from the start.

What projects are you currently excited about? Any big goals for 2015?

Our main goal is just to keep growing and perfecting our business in the Austin market, but we’ve also been asked about franchising…we’ll see what 2015 brings!

Thanks Audrey and Eileen for being this month’s Business Bombshell’s!  Check out their website here:

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Business Bombshell: The Crenshaw Sisters

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Why did you decide to start your own business?
K: There were plenty of reasons why I wanted to start my own business but I think the main reason was to have my own independence. As daunting as being on your own is, Austin is an amazing city where local business owners thrive. I wanted to make sure that I could instill authenticity in my genuine interest in what I do and in my relationships with my clients. It’s a constant battle to keep a good balance all around, but I absolutely love my job!

How did you first get interested in the makeup industry?
K: I’ve always loved makeup and what it can do for women but it was around when I first started wearing makeup that I wondered how it was made. The science and technology behind makeup products really peaked my interests enough to admit me into the University of Texas School of Natural Sciences as a Chemistry Major. Even though I ended up changing my major before graduating, I still dream of collaborating my own line with a team in a lab in a few years!

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What is the best advice you received about starting a new business?
K: My best friend’s father told me to treat every client as though they were your first and believe in yourself.

What is it like working with your sister?
K: It’s great! We share a lot of similarities in creativity and our differences in characteristics work well in collaborating. We have a lot of fun working together!

C: It’s very natural. We can see eye to eye more because we’re sisters and it’s more enjoyable to work with someone you’re so close with!

Describe your personal style in 3 words.
K: Comfortable, cool, eclectic.

C: Edgy, fun, ever changing.

What are your favorite tunes to jam to during a makeup session?
K: I change it up all the time depending on my mood or the client but some favorites on Pandora/Spotify: Florence+ the Machine, Mumford and Sons, Kings of Leon, RHCP, Rhye, classic rock, and 90’s are all great stations.

C: Frank Ocean, Lana Del Ray, something calming

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What products do you always have in your clutch for a night out on the town?

K: I at least have translucent powder, Dr. Lipps original balm, MAC kohl liner and mascara on me at all times. For a night on the town, I’ll add my lip products or the colored eyeliner I chose to wear in my purse.

Claire: BareMinerals Mineral Foundation & Blistex Chapstick for reapplying.

What current projects are you most excited about?
Right now we’re in the process of improving the blog. Hopefully we’ll have that content up soon! But wedding season is just around the corner and we are going to be busyyy, we are booked solid!

Any hot new lip or eye shadow colors, we should be coveting this spring?
There are plenty! Bold orange lips are popping up everywhere. Any range of purple from lilac to deep violet can be worn on either lips or eyes. Pastel and metallic eyeshadow are trending along with variations of bright blue/teal liner. Whether you decide to make it pop or mute it, color is in for Spring!

Thanks Katherine and Claire for being this month’s Business Bombshell’s!  Katherine was also the talented make up artist behind my “about page” picture. Katherine was so fun to work with and is amazingly creative in all she does (her at-home studio is so cute). 

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Business Bombshells

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Pearly Gates would not be where it is today if it were not for the super amazing, creative and business savvy women surrounding me. I am eternally grateful to these women- always offering advice, sharing their story, and giving encouragement every step of the way. Let’s be honest- getting to do what you love is the best, but running your own business is hard and so much of it is figured out as you go.

That is why I have decided to start this new blog series- “Business Bombshells”! I am so excited to share these women’s stories, advice and hopefully inspire other women on their journey.

If you have any topics you would like our Bombshells to cover or have a recommendation for someone who would make a great Business Bombshell- let me know!

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