Go behind the scenes with some of our favorite makers! We sat down with these entrepreneurs for a deep dive on their businesses, what makes them tick and what they’ve got in store for the future! Join us as we Meet the Maker!
This time, we chatted with Jennifer & Christina of Mirror Image Boutique! Let’s dive in.
Q: Give us your back story! What made you want to start your business?
A: When we first started our business we lived apart; Jen was in Chicago and Chris was in Phoenix. We thought creating a website to sell secondhand clothing would be a fun, creative outlet from our 9-5 accounting jobs, and would allow us to collaborate and stay in touch while being so far away.
One issue we ran into with our resale business was that we usually only had one size in each item, so interested customers would only be able to shop pieces if they came in their size. Over time, we realized that we wanted to be able to help women of different shapes and sizes feel great about themselves through fashion, and we started to introduce boutique items into our inventory.
Q: Did you come in with experience or did you learn as you went?
A: We both worked in retail during college and graduated from business school with a degree in accounting, so we started out having a very limited idea of how to start and run a small business. Over time, we built our website, social media, marketing, etc all from the ground up as a two-woman show. Sourcing good, quality wholesalers took some trial and error, but over time we found vendors that aligned with our company values and provided the highest quality product that we could trust. Since starting our business (a little over four years ago), we’ve learned to stay true to ourselves as our company grows and evolves, and we’ve enjoyed showcasing our style, personality, and creativity along the way!
Q: What makes Mirror Image Boutique unique compared to other companies?
A: Mirror Image Boutique strives to inspire women of different shapes, sizes and cultures to feel empowered and confident through unique, affordable fashion at any stage of life. Our looks incorporate an element of vintage, elegance and edge so women can have fun exploring new styles. We sample all of our products before they become available to our customers; that way, we know the fit, quality and style of every piece. There isn’t one item in our shop we wouldn’t wear ourselves! Also, we believe every woman is a model! Our photos feature women within our community who are successful businesswomen, mothers, entrepreneurs, make-up enthusiasts, dancers, and so much more!
Q: What kinds of challenges have you had to overcome as a small business owner and entrepreneur?
A: In an industry that has so many amazing competitors, we’ve had to work hard to make our small business stand out amongst the rest. We pride ourselves on having high-quality, affordable pieces that are unique and cannot be found at any other boutique clothing store.
Q: How have you coped with COVID? How have you had to pivot?
A: COVID has had a big impact on small businesses everywhere. We enjoyed participating in local markets to interact with customers and showcase our boutique; however, since COVID, we’ve had to pivot our approach and find other creative solutions to get our name out in front of potential customers. We’re so thankful for virtual markets during this time as it’s allowed us to gain exposure to an amazing, new audience.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: We both work full-time as accountants. To manage our time as efficiently as possible, we often meet on the weekends to create and plan new content for the upcoming week, review inventory and purchase items for upcoming collections, plan future photoshoots and brainstorm new ideas for the upcoming seasons. We each take home a list of tasks to research and/or accomplish during the upcoming week.
Q: Is this your full time job? How do you juggle it all?
A: We are full-time corporate accountants and currently work on our small business after hours and on the weekends. Managing both is quite a task, but one we really enjoy. We’re able to balance our personal lives, day jobs, and small business by planning out our content in advance and managing our time wisely throughout the week.
Q: What are your goals for the future of Mirror Image Boutique?
A: Goal setting is the best way to keep us moving forward to pursue our dream! But, to name a few:
- We want to continue to grow our online presence.
- We’re currently outlining plans to start a ‘Style You’ service where we help customers dress for any occasion.
- We want to be able to make this business our full-time jobs because we really love what we do for our customers.
- Ultimately, we’d love to open a store of our own in the greater Chicago area within the next 3-5 years.
Q: What do you like most about what you do? What keeps you going?
A: Where do we begin?! Our journey started as a creative outlet from our day jobs and has turned into a passion for helping women look and feel their best in what they’re wearing. Being able to see the joy we bring to a customer’s face when they try on an outfit and absolutely love the reflection they see in the mirror is our everything. It’s what keeps us moving forward and striving to make this our full-time job in the future.
Q: What are you looking forward to most, post-COVID?
A: We cannot wait for some normalcy to come back into our everyday lives! What we’re most looking forward to is the reopening of markets so we can engage and interact with customers.
Q: We’re suckers for fun facts! Tell us more about you; share some deep dark secrets!
A: For those who may not know, we’re twins (hence our business name Mirror Image)! Some fun facts about us:
- We can’t count the number of times people have asked if we can read each other’s minds; we can’t, but it would awesome if we could!
- We’ve switched places a number of times in school (shhh, don’t tell).
- Chris had foot surgery when she was younger on her left foot and wears out all of her left heels!
- Jen has a terrible fear of spiders!
- We’re both obsessed with documentaries; we’re currently loving The Vow series on HBO and Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix.
Be sure you check out our virtual market and see if Mirror Image Boutique is participating; our virtual market vendors often offer exclusive discounts to our virtual market attendees. Shop small and save! Drop us a comment if you’ve shopped this maker and tag us in your photos when you’re wearing their goods! Put your money where your heart is and join us as we continue to support small. We believe this artisan is the next big thing, and we’re happy you met them here first!