This week's Brazen Woman I haven't even met in person yet, but I've been following her on Instagram for a few months. Then I saw she was launching her own business and thought she would be perfect to inspire you this week. Some things happen in our lives to push us in the right direction.
Teagan Murray went from Oil & Gas Accounting Manager to blogging to owning her own business. Read how she turned things around through a difficult situation.
The Brazen Closet: What do you do?
The Brazen Closet: What did you do before this?
Teagan: I’ve spent the last 10 years in the Oil & Gas Sector, both as an accounting manager and most recently sales & marketing. With the economic downturn in Calgary, I was let go from my position this past January.
The Brazen Closet: January 2017?
Teagan: Yes! That's when I decided to go ahead with the clothing store. It has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, and when I was let go from my job I decided to follow that dream. I spent this past winter working on the online shop, and on May 1, 2017, Leone Clothing Co. was launched. It’s been wonderful so far and I’ve received a lot of support.
The Brazen Closet: I guess it was a good kick in the pants then?
Teagan: It really was! At first, I was quite shocked when I lost my job, and wasn’t really sure what to do or where to go, but then I thought, no, let’s run with this.
he Brazen Closet: How long have you had the blog and how did that get started?
Teagan: The blog went live around July 2016. The idea for the blog came up in the fall of 2015. I needed a creative outlet in my life that oil and gas wasn’t providing me. I actually hired a life coach to figure things out and narrow down my focus. I’m the type of person who is interested in so many different things – I really just want to do everything!
After doing a lot of work (and soul searching) with my coach, I realized how much I loved following bloggers, especially ones that I could genuinely relate to. That, combined with my love of fashion, was the idea behind my blog. So, I bought a camera, took some Wordpress and Photography courses and slowly built up the website over the winter. Love, Leone went live in July 2016.
Looking back at my path, I absolutely needed to blog to get those creative juices flowing and gain confidence in myself in order to move forward with the clothing store. I couldn't imagine how steep the learning curve would have been starting the store without the blog. Blogging has made me so much more comfortable with social media and given me marketing tools that I now use everyday in my online store. I also have a lot of support from my followers which is awesome.
The Brazen Closet: What is the story behind the brand that you are creating, both with your blog and clothing store?
Teagan: With the blog, I really want people to relate to me as a busy mom who loves fashion. I’m originally from the small town of Sylvan Lake, Alberta. When I lived there, shopping online was the only way to get the fashionable items I loved.
When I moved to Calgary, seven years ago, I found it easy to keep shopping online even with all the shopping malls available because of the convenience. The time saved driving to the mall, walking around and finding my favorite stores was huge.
With Leone Clothing Co., I want to bring that convenience to other busy women and moms as well. The convenience of being able to shop from the comfort of my home when I had some time to myself, after my daughter had gone to bed was perfect and I knew couldn’t be the only one.
The Brazen Closet: How does the store reflect you and your style?
Teagan: The styles of clothes really represent me and what my blog followers love. I want to offer my customers a variety of quality brands (currently carrying over 25) at various price points.
Dresses in particular are a really big thing for me. Like many women, I’m often looking for that perfect dress for different occasions, from weddings to a cocktail party or just a pretty fun and flirty summer dress.
The Brazen Closet: What would you say are some of the practical steps you took to get things going?
Teagan: First was deciding which brands I wanted to carry and from there I started reaching out. The blog really helped by giving me credibility with some of the higher end brands. They were able to look at my blog, to get an idea of who I was and my aesthetic, and from there decide if their products would be a good fit.
The Brazen Closet: How long did the planning and set up take?
Teagan: Having my own store was always on my mind. I actually bought a book titled “How to Open a Clothing Store for Dummies” when I was 21. I'm thirty-four now, so it’s always been a dream of mine. A few months after I started the blog I really started to feel like the store was a possibility. Still, I had no intention of leaving my job anytime soon to pursue that dream.
But then I lost my job, and the reality of finding another oil & gas position in the current economy looked bleak. So, I nursed my wounds for a few weeks and thought “this is a sign, let’s just do this!” So getting laid off was really a blessing in disguise and really pushed me in the right direction. My decision was pretty much made for me and here I am. I don't know if I would have made that decision had I not had that push.
The Brazen Closet: Now that you’ve started, what have you learned?
Teagan: Every day I learn something new. The exciting thing is that there's always something to learn with both the clothing store and the blog. With the store I'm learning a lot of different marketing tools which before now, I knew little about. There are so many different ways to market and analyze your audience and what they want.
The Brazen Closet: What were the fears that you had? Was there any doubt this was going to work out at all?
Teagan: Absolutely, there are days when I feel like “this is me”, “this is what I'm meant to do”, “this is going to be amazing and it will work out”; and the next day I feel like “what am I doing?” “I need to get a job so I have a reliable paycheck”!
In all of this I also know in my gut that if I don’t try, I would forever be thinking about it. No matter what happens, I’m learning so many valuable skills as a business owner. That’s how I look at it, so either way it is a win-win.
The Brazen Closet: With being so fresh in business, what advice would you give someone thinking about starting their own business or something new?
Teagan: I have friends and family that have really been inspired with me starting the blog and a business. They are starting to look into other things they could be doing. Being an inspiration to people is really exciting for me.
I would just say if you can't stop thinking about it you really need to explore it. It doesn’t mean you have to leave your job, find a way to do both. Maybe start on a much smaller scale with less risk. For me, blogging was my way to dabble in that dream. It would be a huge shame not to explore it. You don’t want to look back on your life and think of the things you wanted to do but never did.
The Brazen Closet: That is a really good one and very true! What does the rest of 2017 have in store for both your blog and store?
Teagan: I am excited to continue marketing the store and expanding the inventory with amazing brands. The blog will still remain separate from the store as its own entity promoting other products as well mine. I still want to give my followers honest opinions about other products and brands I love and believe in; as well as identifying with busy moms who love fashion, which was the intent of the blog to begin with.
I hope to be able to really grow the blog and network more. There are some exciting projects coming up for the blog as well this summer.
The Brazen Closet: What motivates you to keep going with the doubts and fears?
Teagan: I read a quote about a month ago that said “Remember why you started”. There are days when you are tired, or you feel like you don’t know what you are doing, but just remember that feeling and why you started and you’ll know you are on the right path.
I always try to remind myself of that on both good and bad days. I remind myself that I truly love doing this. From marketing and networking to seemingly mundane tasks like unpacking new shipments and steaming clothes, it feels so natural. Finally, I feel like I'm doing something that I'm meant to do.
The Brazen Closet: What else you do outside of your businesses?
Teagan: I'm a mom and my daughter just turned nine, she's a competitive cheerleader and also plays recreational soccer, so that keeps us quite busy. I'm also getting married in September, and have been spending the last few months planning that.
I spend a lot of my free time doing something active. Anything active for me is so great for my mental state – I’m addicted to barre and spin, I love to golf and also do yoga.
The Brazen Closet: Is there anything else you would like people to know?
Teagan: Since I started blogging, I have been so pleasantly surprised with the support from other women and fellow influencers. When I entered the blogging community I was terrified of what people would think, if people would judge me, etc. What I’ve seen over and over is that bloggers in general are so supportive of each other.
Through blogging, I've met so many other women in business and it's so nice to be part of the movement of women supporting women. I love that my daughter is growing up seeing this support so that she will also have the confidence to pursue her dreams.
What is that dream you've always had? It is time to start looking into how to make it a reality! You can find Teagan on her blog Love, Leone and check out her store at Leone Clothing Co. (Get a 10% discount off your first purchase)