March 2, 2022



We LOVE a #hustler and this week’s guest Brea Menees, owner of Chaxel certainly falls under that header! Brea is a 31-year-old California native, married for 4 years with 2 frenchie babies and has a Fashion Degree from Sacramento State. Michelle & Brea sit down in person and discuss how Brea went from graduating with a fashion degree, to working in tech to ultimately building her own online boutique! She truly is an inspiration on making that leap by jumping in feet first and figuring it out along the way. 


Michelle: Hey there. I'm Michelle Sherrier and this is the Retail Whore Podcast, The Stories and Lessons from a Life of Retail.

Brea: Hello. Hello.

Michelle: Welcome back, guys. It's Wednesday. It's a brand new episode. And today's episode is circling back around to what I originally intended the podcast to be. I had in the very beginning, which I kept to 99% of it, but I had said I wanted to interview retailers, wholesalers and hustlers. And while all of us are hustlers and we needed a giant amount of hustle to get our brands or businesses off the ground, when I say Hustler, I mean in the true sense of you are literally smack in the middle of it right now. In real time, you are throwing things against the wall to see what sticks you are doing, whatever you need to do on an hour to hour basis to get your brand off the ground. And while all of us have been there, I have not had any conversations with people that are literally smack in the middle of it. And I think these stories are so incredibly important. As I said, all of us have had to have a certain amount of hustle to get our brands off the ground. All of us have a back story, but I think rarely do we stop and listen to the stories of the people that are going through it in real time. And I think these stories are fascinating and I am excited to bring you one once a month. And today's episode is with Brea Menees. Brea has a brand called Chaxel. We are actually friends from a gym we went to years back. I've watched her build her website from the very beginning and watched it grow and watched her show up every single day on TikTok and Instagram. And I'm so impressed with her hustle that I asked her if I could interview her for the podcast. We sit down and we have a chance to talk about why and how she started it, what she's going through right now, what some of her challenges are, her thoughts on on Tik Tok reels and Instagram and how it's working for her marketing as well, As we talk a little bit about what will be her first trip or what would have been her first trip to magic. If you watch Design Collaboration and you watched on stories when we were on the show floor at Magic, she was the little blonde that was with us.

Michelle: She came along and tagged along with us for the day. And I will tell you, as someone who loves to mentor people, to have both, Erin, from Bert's pharmacy, who's never been to a magic show, and to have Bree, who's never been to a magic show to walk the show floor with them was so inspiring. It's something that the reason why I love this industry so much and you rarely get a chance to remember what it's like to be your first time. So it was a true pleasure to do that with them. So without further ado, here is Bree. Which Axl. Hey, Bri, welcome to the Retail Hall podcast. We are doing this live, not live, but we're doing this in person, which I this is only the second time I've done this. So it's always a little awkward. Like I'm so used to seeing everybody like through Zoom to see you across the table. Is so. Odd, but welcome. Are you nervous?

Brea: No.

Michelle: Good. You and I know each other from. We went to a gym together, code three and met. And I've continued to follow you in. In watching your stories. You went from having a 9 to 5 and you started this side hustle. And then next thing I know, it's the full blown thing. So tell me, because you went to school for fashion, so tell me what you were doing when you started your business Chaxel.

Brea: I actually worked in the tech space and I sold a security cloud solution that basically took all your data from sensors, which is like a motion sensor, a door contact, a camera. It could be like a carbon dioxide thing in your home or in businesses. They they monitor those things. So it would gather the data from those devices and either trigger an alarm or have an event or this is wrong. So basically monitored the devices and then also secured the premises. So the building.

Michelle: But you went to school for fashion?

Brea: Yes. So how did she.

Michelle: How did you end up doing.

Brea: Tech from.

Michelle: Going to school for fashion?

Brea: So when I moved to LA after college, I was working at Brighton, I managed retail stores and so I in my dreams, I wanted to be a buyer. So I transferred down to LA through Brighton in hopes of getting to the corporate office. And so, you know, I worked in the store in Marina for about a year or so and had some interviews, just never I didn't have experience, so they weren't going to hire me. So I was like, okay, I have to leave to get experience. So I left. Worked at a boutique. Hated it. Hated life.

Michelle: Why do you hate it? Just wondering.

Brea: I just like. I don't know, like, I think the owner one was, like, kind of weird, and I just didn't agree with the. The way they were running the business.

Michelle: Wait. Explain. Kind of weird. Like, I don't know. She would just like, because I worked in such a store that had lots of not rules but standards and ways to do things. Like she would take product from store to store and not like track it. And I'm like, what? Where is this going? Like, what if I need to sell it? And so like the first day, I don't know, like I just had weird vibes and I was like, this is not the place for me. Like the first day. How long did you last there?

Brea: 30 days. And I quit right before holiday.

Michelle: Oh, wow. She must have loved you. Yeah. Yeah.

Brea: So when I quit, at the time, I was dating a guy. He's my husband now. He had been in the security industry his whole life. And so when I was working in the boutique, I was just, like, online, like applying for every job that I potentially could get on, indeed, like sending my resume all the things. Like on the clock, on the clock, because I was like my worst night out of here. Like, it was terrible. She didn't like the way I dress. Like, it was just weird. Like, I don't know. I don't even know how I got the job. Like, she searched for me and indeed is like, it's just weird. I don't know. So during that time, I was searching for jobs and I got an interview at ADT Security right here in Torrance. And so my husband had worked for that company for when he left. It was 20 years. So he knew like a lot of people there, he kind of knew and helped me prepare for the interview and it was a sales job. So I learned how to go door to door and sell security solutions.

Michelle: Wow. Door to door sales.

Brea: Yes. And it was business. So it wasn't home. So it was better.

Michelle: In all honesty. Like, I think door to door still. I think selling anything, especially having the balls to walk into business to sell something because that cold calling, I'll admit I can't do it at all. Like I can talk to the cows, come home. I cannot just walk in and be like, Hi, I wanna talk to you about security systems.

Brea: Yeah. And I mean, I worked all the beach city, so I worked from Santa monica to Manhattan Beach, so I had a good territory. But I mean, I would walk up and down the streets in my little heels and my flats and like walk into all the boutique stores, like down on Abbot Kinney. I had tons of customers down there, down in Redondo, like tons of customers there. And so, I mean, it was just it was weird from going from retail to selling security systems.

Michelle: And how long were you there for?

Brea: I worked at 82, almost two years, and then from there I transitioned well, moved companies to where my husband worked and it was more national accounts. So now I was managing not only security, like selling like systems, I was managing corporate customers, like security programs.

Michelle: And what what did you graduate college with for fashion.

Brea: In fashion, merchandising, marketing and design.

Michelle: Okay. So now fast forward, you've been doing your job with with the security systems and you start seemingly on Instagram and social media seemingly seems like you started to kind of dribble water on this and you were doing both.

Brea: Yeah. So when I started Chaxel, I had been watching my friend on on Instagram and all of a sudden she had like 6000 followers and she was selling her outfits on. I like to know it. And then I saw this release that she was going to open an online store and I was she actually is my husband's friend, surprisingly. And so I was watching her and I told my husband one night I was like, I think I can do this. I'm like, if she can do like I can do this, like, why not? Everyone's doing it. Like, I can do this. Like I know how to buy clothes and sell clothes. So I was really bored in my day job because at that time I had just transitioned to a new company where I was selling the cloud technology. And so I just sat behind a computer screen and did demos, basically very old industry. So no cameras. No one used cameras. I was the only one on camera doing a demo to black screens. So I had no creativeness. I had no like I was like, I need a creative outlet. I was going crazy during. This was all during COVID.

Michelle: Oh, yeah.

Brea: So I was like, I can do this. We're home. Why not? I don't know. Like, it's a hobby. I'll just do this. I'm not going to travel anymore, you know, I'll be home. I can run this business. And so my husband's like, Yeah, okay, whatever. You know, I'm like, okay. So I got on Google, Googled how to get a business license. How to. Get a seller's permit, how do I build a website? And prior to this, I had been taking social media classes for fun.

Michelle: Where were you. Taking social media class.

Brea: Online? Like a master class. So I had started that probably at the beginning, right when COVID hit. I think I started like, I don't know, this one girl popped up and I was like 300 bucks for, like, all these things. I'll sure. Why not? We had dogs. I was going to run a dog account.

Michelle: My dogs have their own account, so that's.

Brea: Why I took the classes. And then from there, like when I was like, Hey, I'm going to start this store, I was like, I can sell through Instagram. I was like, I just took all these classes. I have like some type of formula. Why not? So I was. Like.

Michelle: My eyes. You can't see my eyes right now. I'm just like looking wide eyed right now.

Brea: And I think, like, just kind of figuring everything out, like googling all the things how to do. Like I built my website, literally YouTubing about Shopify and how to build a website insane. And I was not one to post on my Instagram, my personal page like that wasn't me. My husband, yeah, me know, like I was like in the moment living my life now everything I do, I have to carry my phone around. I have to take a picture, I have to video this. Yeah. Which is fine. Like, I guess it's cool because it's kind of like archiving my life. I look at it, you know, the beginning of this, like think about in five years when I look back through all these random videos like, Wow, where. Was I doing?

Michelle: I'm going to get to that. I, you know, I mean, so like I everyone knows I, I interview retailers, established retailers, establish wholesalers. Part of what I always wanted to do and part of the stories I wanted to tell were hustlers. And you were like the perfect match for that. Because, you know, I think it takes a lot just to on a whim, even though you went to school for this, but on a whim to just decide, it's kind of like me starting this podcast just on a total whim. But it takes balls and it takes like it takes balls like there's no other way of putting it and and watching you kind of create this. And you also are of this other younger generation that is completely in the camera, in front of the camera to sell something. You don't have a storefront, you have a website, but you don't have people walking in and out of a store. Like it's literally you in front of a camera. And it's like that. That I think is for everyone who listens to this, who wants. To start a side hustle or who has their own website or has something that they're having a hard time getting off the ground. A lot of us are older, so it's like, you know, trying to learn new tricks and and like, I think I even talked to you when I was when we were going back and forth about now how fashion in the industry has changed 100% from where it was even two years ago. COVID definitely just ramped that up, but I was telling you about how it magic there because the like to have it or whatever that is and all the Facebook groups shopping that there are people now standing on a sales floor in the middle of a booth with product that they're picking out. They haven't bought it yet and they're literally talking about like rigging. And the in is an amazing this is the fit this is blah blah, blah, here's the cost. And they're taking orders literally live and they're turning around to the vendor and saying, I'll take ten packs. That to me is like life change. I mean, life changing as far as the industry. And so I've been watching you and wanting to have you on this because you're that next generation of retailers. Just different, totally different. Look at retailers. So taking back to you, you still have your job. You are Googling all these things you have never gone and actually bought. No. So take me because this is all I do, shows, gift shows, apparel, women's market cash. And carry, tell me about how you your first like okay, I'm going to go downtown. I mean I'm assuming you Googled where to buy.

Brea: So I actually because like I had a day job and I would really had to log in because we always had meetings most times like at eight or nine and I would have calls till five or six sometimes. Like I didn't have a lot of time to like go downtown. Like I was stuck to my computer. And so, and then at that time of COVID, like, things weren't even open. So there was no go drive downtown. Yeah. So I googled like wholesale fashion, like where I can buy wholesale like clothes. And I ended up on fair and I just kind of researched like there was a couple of them, but fair looked like the most safe, I would say.

Michelle: Yeah. Have you gone on fashion go yet? 

Brea: Yeah, and I didn't go on there until I went downtown. But I find that a lot of brands on fair like I'm not I'm not guessing as much as I am on fashion go like I'm like. I don't know like I have to really. Read into the reviews and all the things where I'm like, fair. I'm kind of more. Safe, I would say.

Michelle: So you, you go on fair and you start. Do you have a budget? Do you I mean, you have you been saving to do this? Are you just. Literally like I'm going to throw it on this credit card? Yeah. Wow.

Brea: I just literally like, I mean, I had money saved. You know, me and my husband is just us. I don't have children. He has kids. We had one. His youngest was graduating from USC. She was in her last year when I started this business. And so I kind of knew like what I had is a threshold kind of thing and I worked. I make good money. All I had to pay was like minimal half of the mortgage and like my car payment and like, I mean, I don't have any other. Expenses. So like, I just, like, had some money and I was like, okay, well, I might as well invest in myself and was like, okay, I'm just going to buy a couple of things. Some dresses, pants, I don't know. Like I just put together kind of a like based on what I was buying a collection. I guess. It was like, okay, let's just try this.

Michelle: And, and then where, where? Okay. So now you've bought it, you've received it, where are you putting it out?

Brea: So at our house I have we had two we have two spare bedrooms. And my husband was working from the kitchen table because I was upstairs doing my my demos. We can't see me typing on my computer. So we had one room and so I had a rack, I had bought a rack of Amazon and I was like, okay, I'll just put the things here, like just one rack because I didn't have that much clothes. And then we had to we bought a backdrop to take pictures in the garage.

Michelle: But but this is like how I mean, it's like now, okay, so you put it up. My biggest question in like for anybody that has anything they sell online because I started that t shirt line it was to. Go back to Pug Nation and we had a website and we, it was mostly my friends that were buying things. So but how, how and it was way before not waiting for it, but it was before everyone really started getting in front of the camera and getting in front of stories and wasn't like, how, how are you driving business to this brand new site?

Brea: So once I got the clothes I had, I had already built an Instagram, I think like probably a couple of weeks before, before I got the clothes. So I had kind of put out some like little like stock images, black and white stock images of kind of what the brand was going to kind of be about. And then when I got the clothes, like, I was like, hey, we got to take these pictures because I need to create like this marketing stuff. Like, I got to figure out how to do this video. And at the time reels had just come out. So I was like, Okay, I got to create this real. I have no idea what I'm doing.

Brea: So, yeah, I mean, I just, I just started like literally from my personal Instagram. I would like send a bunch of accounts to my business, my new business account, and go over there and like follow all my friends from there. So I got to like 100 people pretty quickly, but I just kind of from my social media classes, like what the lady was like teaching us and telling us about hashtags and all these things. Like I had gathered all that information and like put it in a folder. So when I was ready I had all my 30 hashtags, I had all my like captions ready.

Michelle: So that, did that work.

Brea: Yeah. I mean it's a slow growth and at the time Reels was really pushing like really, really hard. And it's like I didn't have like everything you see on my page, like, I've had to learn.

Michelle: Well, that's what I love.

Michelle: I mean, it's like.

Michelle: You, you.

Michelle: So I, there's a lot of things I need to learn. I have zero patience and I'm add and call that an excuse. Whatever you want. But I, I have tried to learn things on YouTube and I've tried and I just don't have the bandwidth like I get. So ad that, you know, I and I have things I've purchased and classes and and master courses and I can tell you right now I have made it through probably the first class and then I get busy in life interrupts and because this is my side hustle, I, I have realized I need to hire outside. I can't do it myself. I just don't have the bandwidth. But you have really put the time into learning it and it's like to watch you go from and we'll get to that in a second to watch you go from your garage to now we're sitting in your three bedroom or three room office in Torrance. It's like you are also have your hands in on doing pop up shops and during the holidays like every fucking weekend you were at another event. I mean, like you honestly hustle it. So tell me take me to when you you decide you're going to quit your day job and you're going to go all in with Chaxel. Tell me what that looks like.

Brea: So I think around January, I was like really struggling at my job and I like because we were stuck in the house, like, my husband could see every emotion and like I would just come downstairs and I'd be like bawling my eyes out because I was just, like, so frustrated and, like, it was just a really rough, like, okay, so the security industry is very old, like.

Michelle: Very old people or old tech.

Brea: But it's a very old male driven, dominant, like, no, hardly any females. So I was working for a lot of males. I worked with a lot of males. It was just it was just a weird it wasn't for me, like at a point in time, I was like, I can't do this anymore. I can't keep doing this. And so there were just things going on at work that I just didn't agree with. And so I was like, Look, I have to I have to do something. I was like, I think I could do this. Like I showed my husband kind of the numbers of like what was going on. And I was like, look, like, you know, your daughter's graduating in this month. Like, let's really talk about this like for tax purposes, you know, all of those things, like we kind of juggled in the air. And so he was like one day he was like, okay. And I was like.

Michelle: Two weeks is a year out.

Michelle: And he's been really supportive.

Brea: He yeah, he has been supportive. And I actually run his men's brand as well through my store and I manage..

Michelle: So that's his brand?

Brea: Yeah. Yeah. He technically owns it, and I do all the things.

Michelle: I wasn't sure. And I was like.

Brea: Where is this ride?

Michelle: Where is this line coming from? So you quit your job and.

Brea: I quit it in March of 21. So we're coming up on a year.

Michelle: And then what point did you grow out of your well? How did you grow out of your garage? How how did you grow it to the point where I'll send you your exploding out of your garage from, you know, because by that point, downtown was open again because yeah.

Brea: So I had all the stock upstairs in the two rooms. I was taking up two rooms at that point. I could fit it in one room, but it was really tight. I couldn't like work or package orders or do anything. And at the time, like I needed to get some spring product and summer product because that's when kind of the shipping things were starting, like the issues were starting to happen. So I will admit I probably bought too much. And so like I was like, Hey, I need to move out of the house, like told my husband, like I need to move out of the house and he needed to get out of the kitchen and move to an office in the room. So he was like, okay. And I was like, okay. So I like went around driving in Torrance and like Googling, like where I could find something that was like affordable and good enough space that I could utilize for storing all my stuff, taking my photos, because before I would have to drive around if I wanted a good location and try to find a location.

Michelle: Oh, my God.

Michelle: Go everywhere. You were like photos of.

Michelle: Yeah, wherever you were.

Michelle: It was like she just pulling over by the road and changing in her car and jumping out and taking, like, who's taking your pictures? My husband was. So you guys are just okay. So.

Brea: So he was and like it was getting to a point where he was getting irritated because every every free moment was like, I have to go get these pictures, I'm not going to sell the stuff. So I was like, okay, so I need to move out of the house because one, I need you to move into the.

Michelle: Office.

Brea: Into like I need a place to take photos. So behind you you see all my lights and I have like.

Michelle: It's quite impressive for someone starting out.

Brea: Yeah. So I needed somewhere to, like, do all the things, like, the house just wasn't cutting it anymore and, like, I just needed out of the house. So that was in July.

Michelle: So now you've been how long have you been in here? Since July. It's super cute. I mean, it's very girly. It's very like what you'd expect an office to be, but also with all the racks. So tech, take me to like you're still you're building your brand and now you how are you paying the bills and continuing to buy? I mean, how much I mean, you're obviously generating sales. Is it are they coming through the stuff that you're doing through Instagram or is it coming through your website or is it coming through your friends or is it coming through now? You've started to do events.

Brea: Yeah. So really the events are obviously always to drive sales like during holiday was that was the main goal was to like sell all of this winter stuff that we have and you know coming into the new year I kind of had a different strategy on like what I wanted my event schedule to look like. It's not going to be the same through the whole year, but right now I'm in three locations once a month on a regular cadence. So San Pedro, Hollywood and then at the Howard Hughes Center.

Michelle: And are they what are they like?

Brea: It's just a pop up. And they're one day.

Michelle: What's the pop up called? So if you want to find you.

Brea: So the one in San Pedro is at New to Juice Shop, so it's new to pop up in UDA. And then the one at Howard Hughes Center is the MIA Market.

Michelle: I've never heard of that.

Brea: And then there's the one in Hollywood is, I believe, the hive.

Michelle: Market OC the hive I've heard of. Yes.

Michelle: So we'll have links to all of those. You're going to have to send me the information so that people can find you. So now, because you were everywhere at holiday time and I can't imagine how fucking exhausting I would have been because it's like, you know, for those of you who've never done a pop up shop, those of you who've never done, you know, a set, a temporary set up of a store, it's no fucking joke. The shit you have to, like, drag around like there's racks, you know, the hangers, the apparel. Then you have also accessories and bags and hats and scarves and and you started bringing gifts. I mean, it's like you're schlepping. Like you're like a road rep, basically, but. You know, it's it's for retail. So for those of you who don't know, that's why this is not. You were at a different event it seemed like every single weekend.

Brea: Yeah. So holiday time I kind of like stacked my I had so I started off with like kind of a sale like going because it was I think it was Halloween and then I had a two days that I did like I only brought items that were $25 and below. So I was just trying to push kind of older product out and that work. Yeah, it did. I sold quite a bit of like same amount of sale like in dollar amount than I did like my regular clothes those days. And then and it's funny because like there wasn't that much foot traffic. It was just like kind of the people that were there and like their guests and family members buying. So it was cool. And then I got a personal shopping appointment out of it too, so that was nice. But what was the question?

Brea: But like so yeah, so holiday time.

Brea: Yeah, it was everywhere because I needed to make some money, you know, holidays like the biggest opportunity to sell stuff. So did you.

Michelle: Do you feel like you even because I, I know like with me and the hours that I do and like I feel like I did you feel like you had a life. Were you even able to enjoy holiday?

Michelle: Like.

Brea: I mean, yeah. So like I was pretty prepped with. So if you've never done a pop up like Michelle said, like you have to tag all your items, you have to set it up, you have to kind of do like I personally, I don't know, everyone probably doesn't do this, but I do like a mock setup, so at least I know where things are going to go when I get there. So I'm not trying to merchandise a girl on the fly because I forget. And then like I have my mom helping me or my husband and they don't know where things go. So it's.

Michelle: Easier to like fucking.

Michelle: Because I can't even think there is no.

Brea: Well, you know, during holiday, I mean my mom always usually comes and helps me, but there's been times when by myself, like, I have to set up my tent, I have to set up like in that doesn't mean like just setting it up. That means like lugging it out of my car and dragging it to where.

Michelle: We're supposed.

Brea: To be.

Michelle: And making sure they don't blow away.

Brea: Make sure the sand.

Brea: Bags got to have all the things. So like, yeah, I mean, it's, it's a lot. And you coming like I'm in these locations on a regular cadence, so I do have a life and then they'll start to trickle off probably at the end of spring. April I'm going to Italy so I won't have pop ups probably that month and then probably when I come back through summer, I don't do pop ups.

Michelle: So how so is your business? Who is how is your business moving forward when you're gone?

Brea: Yeah. So I haven't.

Brea: Really decided.

Michelle: Not to do.

Brea: That. I mean, I'm going to be gone for seven days, so it's not that bad and it's Easter that weekend that we're actually going to be traveling. So, you know, post office not open for a couple of days anyways. So I have like a good window. So like Crystal, I have a officemate. She can package something if I need her to.

Michelle: Well, that's nice. Yeah.

Michelle: Your husband deserves an award. I mean, my husband deserves an award. I will tell you, like I'm blown away that he will. He's going to start doing filming for the retail whore podcast and he's like all about helping, although I can't even imagine asking him to sit at a pop up shop. Well, a bunch of women shop.

Brea: Well, he doesn't stay, so he just comes.

Brea: Comes and helps. So, like last weekend I was in Hollywood for the first time and I just had him come to set up the tent. And then I took everything down myself and packaged everything up and dropped it back.

Michelle: So what's how many hours? What does the day look like? Like.

Brea: So you wake up at like six because you can't sleep because you're like, Oh, I forgot something. Or, you know, you're just like antsy to get there, but usually leave the house around eight and then get home at like five.

Michelle: That's a long day.

Brea: Yeah. And that's like unloading the truck, setting it up, taking it down, loading the truck, coming here, unloading it, and then going home.

Michelle: I think you need like I'm interviewing a store in Palm Desert. It's called Rancho Relax. So and she bought this super cute trailer and had it painted like, I feel like you need like you have a truck, but I feel like you need like a trailer. So your trailer is your pop up shop and you just.

Michelle: Yeah, I mean, that's kind of one of the goals where we're kind of torn. Like, honestly, like pop ups are not something I want to do forever. Like ultimately want to have like a.

Michelle: Do you want a brick and mortar?

Brea: So we want to build like a community. So. Type of environment. I'm going to call it one of your probably. The one I was just listening to with.

Michelle: The by a guy. No, no. Serge & Jane. Yeah.

Brea: So exactly what she was talking about, like a place where people can come and gather and do things. But I also want to create a space for like creatives to be able to use that. So, like, I have my backdrops and lights, like I want to be able to have tools and things that people can either pay like a monthly subscription to utilize the space however they want or to rent it for the day or things like that. Like when they need props and stuff, like we would be able to supply those for them, which is included in the price. And then also like my husband plays VR, so we want to host like VR tournaments and like VR virtual reality for Facebook. He's all about all that, but he plays VR, so we want to have like that in like movie nights with like the little spaces and then also like bring tech to the fashion world, which is going to blow your mind. I love this, but I don't know if you've heard. There's like I think Amazon or someone has these stores, but they have interactive mirrors where you can like change your settings of like colors and all that. So people to be able to shop through the interactive mirror at my experience.

Michelle: Wow. So when, when this just went a whole different direction, when are you guys looking to do something like this?

Michelle: Is it like a five year plan?

Michelle: A ten year plan?

Brea: Yeah, like a 3 to 5, I would say. My husband gave me five years at this, so.

Brea: I'm hoping like.

Michelle: Five years before.

Brea: I'm hoping it's before. But yeah, I mean, I'm I'm starting to kind of gather some, I think like just dropping like little hints to people and figuring out, like, how I can make this.

Michelle: I'm sure you can get funding. I mean, even if you crowdsource the the Rancho Relaxo. So she's she's going to talk about how it's not crowdfunding, but it's basically raising money through. And all these people are partners. I mean, like, I think you'll need to listen to that one.

Brea: Yeah.

Michelle: So I want to backtrack a little bit about because you started curating little collections, you're buying one and two things. Now you have a full blown basically full blown store. So are you. Who are some of your favorite vendors downtown?

Brea: Yeah.

Brea: I would say downtown. I like Rococo and I like high five, which is good. I like fate.

Brea: Yeah, yeah, it's great.

Brea: Who's the other one I buy a lot from?

Michelle: Do you buy from Auntie?

Brea: Not so much. I actually, I honestly, this is bad. I honestly don't like going downtown because there's too much for me to look at.

Michelle: It's a lot and that's a lot. Wait till you get to magic because this is your first magic trip.

Brea: I end up buying too much because, like, I just love it all.

Michelle: Yeah, yeah.

Brea: And so I like to be online. Like, I know that sounds weird. Like I go downtown to search for new brands. Yeah, like, that's what I do. I try not to buy, like, I buy at Joia because I love handbags and they always have like, really unique.

Michelle: They're great and anybody and I keep the world of fashion. There are the established lines that you buy at Women's Market and Magic and E and K and Project and you write them months in advance. And then there is cash and carry, which I talk. I don't talk a lot about it, but it is where I purchase all for the pharmacy. I have a little bit of established lines like junk food and reflex and a couple other little, little brands. But by far and large, like everything we do is cash and carry and it's cost is great. Your profit margin is great. It blends beautifully with higher end products. So you have that mid range and Joya is one of those you really have to like. It's really overwhelming. I mean, it's three it was on I think town and it was three, two, two, three or three levels then. Now they've purchased a massive building and now it's almost like a mall where Korean Skin Products has its own room earrings. Necklaces is literally like the size of a supermarket. The second floor is bags, sweaters.

Michelle: Hats, third.

Michelle: Floor. Is it lingerie or. I don't even.

Michelle: Yeah. I never go.

Brea: There something I don't I.

Michelle: Don't but I mean when I say it is like a supermarket but it is probably the best. Fine. And no one. Part of the fashion industry. No one likes to talk about lines. They don't like to give up their secrets. But honestly, like I've always said it, like there's enough room at the table for everybody and like, why would you not tell somebody like, you know, obviously if it's a really good thing, it's like you don't want to give up your secret. But Joy is one of those really good secrets that no one talks about. And it's so freaking big that there's no way that you're going to be able to like you're all I mean, fashion is fashion. It's like the all the lines cross all. If it's in fashion, it's shown 50 different ways from high end to low end to cash and carry. And joy is one of those places no one talks about. And it's like, I swear to God, the best the best secret ever. And it's I think about you going. And when you say you buy too much, like, you know, you you think downtown is overwhelming, you are going to your first magic show. We talked about it.

Brea: Well, I have kind of an idea of what it's going to be like a little bit because like.

Michelle: No sister, you.

Michelle: Know, for.

Brea: Security, we had conventions like this.

Michelle: So like it is I can tell you to be over. All I can tell you is like and this is another thing like Erin, who's the gift buyer for Burt's my whole year. This year is to develop her to buy gifts, apparel from high to low, to buy and to create collections and teach her how to curate them. And it's not just for women's. It's like men's women's kids gifts, crystals. Like it's every department we buy in. This is my year to try and develop her because I'm cutting her. I'm passing the baton and leaving. Burt's in January and everyone's like, What? Like, but I, you know, she's been there long enough. Like, it's time. And honestly, my biggest joy is mentoring people and watching them fly. And so she's never been to magic either. So she's going and I trying to explain to her, it's one thing when you go to cash and carry and there's a lot of people there and you kind of have to wait these booths. High five, for instance, they'll have three or four collections, the same collection shown three or four in places because there's so many people, they're tagged the neck tags so, you know, are tagged with colored colored markers. So first thing is to ask like, what are the delivery windows? And the color markers will tell you because they don't have them like here's your ten one, here's your so you're just literally going down miles of racks looking for the color neck marker that you want. But when I say there's a lot of fucking people there, a holy shit. It's like even in pandemic last show when not that many people went. Now we're looking at a show, including gift shows of stores that have had phenomenal years, who need goods, who want to go and get that. I can only anticipate that this year's magic is going to be packed, but it's like it is shoulder to shoulder people and everyone's, you know, the same samples are for the same dresses, but you never really see it all because there's so many buyers, because you're collecting your groups and they'll put them on racks and they'll rubber band them together. So this is but also and you're looking at somebody else like, where's that?

Michelle: Like it is, it is like ADD Because you're shopping the racks and then you're seeing somebody else's got something like, Oh, where's that? Can I just add that to my I mean, it's a lot, I mean, I, I'll be honest, like, and for anybody who's going to magic for the first time, I always suggest, as I said, I don't know if you've heard the podcast where it's like my How I Shop the gift show. Same thing as for magic like all shop I'll walk the floor the first day I don't leave paper really. I don't make appointments because the first day was like, pull that line. You know, stores like already that poles space is a fucking madhouse. I've never seen it was over. I literally walked in. I was like, Nope, turned around and they're that many people there. And it's so like the first day for anybody that's going. My biggest suggestion is walk the show first and see because you'll see what you love and what you don't love. Yeah. And then circle because it's like it is wild and you're doing it for the first time. Yeah.

Brea: And I didn't really like my mom was like, Oh, you're going to Vegas? And I was like.

Brea: Yeah.

Brea: I didn't really tell anyone because, like, I don't even know what to expect myself. So, like, I don't want to drag you along for, like, something. I don't even know what's going to, like, going to be like. And so like, yeah, I, I just kind of planned on kind of watching, looking.

Michelle: How many days are you going for?

Brea: I'm I'm there all three days. So, I mean, I can I can come home early if I want or stay the all three days. But I just I don't know, like I just plan the trip to kind of like I would do online, like, kind of just. Search and watch and observe and where where's all the everyone going to the good brands.

Michelle: It's like, well, there's.

Michelle: Parties, there's like so many brands that you've never seen. And that's the great part is like I always say, like there's some lines like there's one line all delicious. I can't even pronounce all of Alicia's. They have a space downtown. But what I realize is that their samples at Magic are totally different than what they have at the store. Like, you have to make an appointment at all. Delicious to see these collections. Like, they're not in the storefront. They're so good. Like, I die for these super thin, beautiful sweaters. Last year, they were printed in, like, snakeskin and leopard, but in really thin pastel. It's a really thin, like, cotton sweater. And they have, like, interesting details. Like, they had zips on the sleeves. Some of them had zip up the back, but they're their patterns, like they had like a baby blue and white leopard print and then a pink and white snakeskin print. They were so good. But I was like, you know, are the samples here? And like, no, you need to see them here. So it was like, okay, I'll, I'll come back there, but I try not to if I can see poll at home, same thing as the gift lines like if I can see Jelly Cat one just out of loyalty to my rep, but if I can see it at home like I really want to go to see stuff, but there's so much and I would suggest doing project to.

Brea: OK.

Michelle: Projects, project contemporary, it's a little higher end, but there's some like if, like where do you, where do you see your price points going? Like, what's your, what's your price point? Like you're happy price point now and where do you see your price points going?

Brea: I mean, like for the consumer where I sell them most goods is like 58, 68.

Michelle: 40 bucks is my magic number for the pharmacy. But again, it's a pharmacy.

Brea: But I have to be kind of at those numbers because of shipping costs. And I have a little bit more of an operational like just paper goods things and I don't see them going higher. Like I'm hoping I can like find some better brands to like maybe go a little bit lower because like 48 does like really fairly well too, I would say. So like between 48 and.

Michelle: 68/4 quarter, I would say do some higher price points.

Brea: Yeah. Yes. At holiday time, I sold a lot of my like 78 and $80 items. Like I have some, I think denim jumpers that I sold a couple of and some handbags.

Brea: What else did I have?

Brea: Like leather jackets, things like that.

Michelle: Yeah. So I know a lot of people that start their own brands and they get out and they start buying things. And every retailer has this problem. You have obviously everybody does not have 100% sell through. So, you know, retailers can throw it on sale in their store. How are you moving your inventory that is either older season or or broken inventory?

Brea: I think so. This is not my strong point in the business. I would say like I have a hard time like putting things on sale, but I know that they need to go on sale and it's just a learning curve. Like I've be quite honest, like I ran Brighton stores for a couple of years. I was the assistant manager. That's it. Like that's literally besides that job and working at Panera and a law office, like I don't have, you know, like I don't really have much like retail, all of that knowledge, a lot of business knowledge I got from managing accounts. But I would say if I have like one Z Tuesdays, I post them on my stories like five times, see if I can sell them that way. And sometimes like people will. Dm And just like, hey, can I Venmo you? Yeah, sure. Whatever. Like just move the one T to Z items if it's something that like I have the whole thing for, you know, and, and this is where, you know, starting an online business and like, I don't know how people start a brick and mortar store, to be honest. Like, because I have product that like I have all the whole pack still, you know.

Michelle: I mean, it's hard. I mean.

Brea: And for me, like, I think I just was late to kind of getting it on my page and enough. And I think the hardest part about selling online is when you have too much product. And I told. When you walked in. But like when you have too much product, it's really hard to post it continuously when you have new product that you need to post. So like that's where I'm learning where I need to scale back some and be more like deep in some of the products versus having a lot of options.

Michelle: Well, I would you know, one piece of advice I would say is some things you have, like the Army bomber, that's going to be a classic that's going to return. So you can certainly pull you can certainly pull things aside and hold them for next year, which will only save your budget for next year and kind of build around that because we even do that at a brick and mortar level for the pharmacy. It's like, I forget the brand we buy from, but it's super cute, really inexpensive, great plaid shirts and like for for a concept as far as gift camp is huge so we I very much merchandise the same way I merchandise when I was at Anthropologie. So we'll build a gift group of camp for women and for men and then we build in plaid shirts, cute out wilderness t shirts. But at the end when those the season ends and we're like, right now we're rolling into spring, it's like we just will go through systematically and it's like some of those brands like one is, and I don't know if you buy them. And now of course I can't remember the name, but they run the same freaking prints every season. So you in the same thing as this little plaid line, like they run the same prints all like all year and they rent them again the following year. And it's like, we're just going to pack them up, we're going to bring them out. Just what I we started doing because we were packing up a lot. It was like, damn, like, okay, so I don't want to put them on sale because I know there's a repeat, but how do we remember all this? So Aaron created a file, so she'll shoot whatever, and then it gets boxed up and packed away and you don't have to deal with it being on racks and it kind of saves your room because it's that's one of those things that you don't you only learn in retail after being in retail. And it's like I always wonder like how everybody buys bombs like my bomb and everyone has heard it already on the podcast. And I'm sure you know, what I'm going to say is fucking animal prints. Animal prints. Suck.

Brea: I have some in here.

Michelle: You probably sold them. I, I did. Newbury Park. Those women don't want animal prints. They do not they. That was the biggest bomb. And I'll be, I'll own it. But that was like one of those things where it was like, oh, god, what do we do? And it was like it went down to like, you can't be afraid to put stuff on sale. And at a certain point it has to be like, just put it as low as you can get it just to get it the fuck out, like. And then, you know, I asked I think I asked Dan this who you talked about you listen to is open and buy. It's like there is a point where it's not going to sell even for $10, it's not going to sell. So at that point, do you donate it? It's probably the best thing you can do, give it to whatever women's organization and it's more of a feel good moment. And if you can get a write off from it, great. But that stuff you you only learn being in the in on a retail floor so I always wonder like how so the part that I love watching and it's like your generation and everybody is like you're so in front of the camera and you you've jumped like the girls at Kingfisher Road. When we close down, those guys jumped on to live. They're still continuing to do it. They still are doing stories. They're doing tiktoks now like you, you obviously jumped on that right away. Like, how much time do you suggest somebody that's wanting to do this? How much time do you suggest that they're going to need? Not suggest how much time do they need to.

Michelle: A lot.

Michelle: Like what's your what's your typical day look like when you're posting social media videos?

Brea: I mean, so this is my full time job now. So I'm kind of in charge of like feeding the dogs and like doing all the morning routine things at home. So, I mean, I don't leave the house to like nine sometimes, but I mean, I wake up, I go downstairs, I feed the dogs, I, like, get my phone. I'm like, Hey, what am I going to post? Am I going to post a real do I have a real I don't know. Like sometimes I like have to flip through, like photos and videos and just like create something really quickly to post, because I'm not always that organized with my content, but I try to post like eight, 9:00 in the morning because that's when my audience mostly sees things. And then I come to the office and some days I have a plan, some days I don't. The last month I've been doing inventory, which really sucked.

Michelle: And.

Brea: I need a better.

Michelle: That's because they.

Brea: Need a better plan.

Michelle: The number or sect because of the actual act of having to do it.

Brea: I think just the act. My husband, he's really he worked with retail clients before in his in his security world. And so he's like, well, can't you just like scan the item or something.

Brea: Like, well, I don't have barcodes.

Brea: So that's something I'll probably be implementing this year. I mean, I have like you can use your phone on the Shopify app to scan the barcodes and then it pop up so I can just scan the barcode.

Michelle: It doesn't shop. Do you not put all of your items in Shopify? So then it's a live inventory that when one sells it takes it off so you can just.

Michelle: Pull off shopping.

Brea: So at the beginning when I was doing pop ups, like when I first started, like pop ups, I had like a lot of stuff that I had got and like just took. So I didn't put it in. Oh, so this is my bad. So back know backwards. I know what I did.

Michelle: To shame you. Yeah, I know. It's fine. Like, your facial is like a.

Brea: Really long process. And, like, I mean, I worked on that for a long time. Plus for like two weeks of that, I was kind of sick. But yeah, there was just like, I mean, like, clothes is one thing, but one. I had to count my bracelets and my earrings and like all these random little things.

Brea: I was like, ooh, like, well.

Michelle: I would, I would guess that if you are putting it into Shopify, that Shopify has inventory system, that you could run a report that would say you're cutting. So how were your departmental losing jewelry that the count's already done, that you don't have to go back and physically count all that?

Brea: Well, I don't. I had a lot. Well so.

Brea: When people.

Brea: Pay Venmo and things like that like absolutely. This is really weird. I know a lot of people do this, but I hate it.

Michelle: It's not running through your Shopify.

Brea: Yeah, it's.

Michelle: Like money coming in all different.

Brea: Levels, meanwhile, and it's like people don't understand like, yeah, you're saving a few dollars on like the transaction fee, but that's a business expense to me. Like, like there's literally a transaction fee everywhere else that you shop, you don't say, Oh, can I pay Venmo to help you out at the grocery store? Like you don't do that.

Michelle: So I would, I would say this as far as being a business owner is to stop.

Brea: Yeah, I do like I don't even I don't advertise it like I'm like card or cash. Like that's literally how I ask people at pop ups now. Like I have a little like card reader through Shopify like and I have an iPad with my POS on it. Like I'm set up fully now and I was for holiday and it made my life so much easier because I can't imagine taking Venmo or Zelle during the holiday. I mean, I had 20 transactions in a matter of like four or 5 hours. So like, yeah, that was pretty good. And if I had to go back and remember like what I sold and take it out of inventory or do it and because they paid Venmo like I don't know if so, hence why I needed to count my items.

Michelle: So, so I will say like if you do because you were saying wanting to reach out to Dan is I would I would because you know from an outside perspective and seeing your growth and you doing this on your own, you're obviously at a tipping point where you you are not like this tiny little business anymore. And it's like, okay, now you got to like put your big girl pants on. And like, I'm having to deal with this right now with my own inventory, not inventory, but dealing with like accounting services, like big girl pants on, like you're just going to have to pay a lot of money for a tax person.

Brea: That's right. We we have an accountant and I know I'm going to get my hand slapped this year, but it's fine.

Michelle: But I would say look into a down an open a by person. Margo was amazing. She's like your best friend. I mean, I. I like them both. Margo to me, she had a retail store. She's a female. She's like this kick ass person that listens to you as well as can give you advice. And like you're at that point that you're going to have to turn it into a legit. You know, everything runs through my POS system.

Brea: Yeah. And I'm, I'm, I've learned that from like just my mom. So my, my parents had a, my dad was a gardener. So we ran our own small business my whole life. Like, I don't know if that's instilled in my genes. Like, never thought I was going to own a store, do like never. And so like my mom is very by the book like keeps every receipt, checks it on her bank statement like my mom is very like by the books and so I don't know like. Once that I started doing that, I was like, Oh, no, this is bad. This is really bad. And so.

Brea: Like, I ended up with a.

Brea: Lot of stuff that didn't make it. And then online, like you have to take a picture to, you can't just put on the rack in your store. Yeah, I have to take a picture. I have to market it. I have to like just because yeah, it's in my website. There's like a lot of other tasks that go along with putting it in the website process, I would say. And that's another reason why I like shopping on Fair, because when I buy on fair, it directly goes into my shop if I don't have to manually do anything.

Michelle: Yeah, and.

Brea: That saves me a lot of.

Michelle: Time. I can imagine.

Brea: Even though I pay probably two, I think I pay $2 more an item on fair, but I get free shipping and it goes direct into my website.

Michelle: So fair.

Michelle: So is it fair? Well, you can order something unfair and they ship it to the customer like or or it's free shipping. From fair to you. From the vendor to you.

Brea: Yes.

Michelle: I was like, wait a minute, I, I dropship now like I.

Brea: Pay I think I pay the monthly of $20 to be in like their whatever club, VIP club or something. Yeah. But that $20 a month, like sometimes I'm paying 20, $30 in shipping from downtown. So not going downtown, buying too much the shipping costs like all because I don't wait all day to pick up my items like no, I don't have time to do that.

Michelle: I don't know who has time and I don't want to sit in traffic.

Michelle: Yeah.

Brea: But yeah. So fair. I just fair is like my life. I love I love hilarious.

Brea: I know. Right.

Michelle: But you're be able to find because you kind of branched out to gifts now so I always like and find that it you can find that at fair.

Brea: Yeah. Yeah. I mean what would you say gifts. What are gifts? What do you what do you think?

Michelle: Anything that's not jewelry, apparel, hats, accessories. So candles, frames, plush, you name it is is a is a gift. So it's you had reached out, I think, around Christmas time wanting to do candles or so. It's like.

Brea: Oh, that was for no, that's for my corporate client.

Michelle: The great thing is you can buy fair, you can kind of shop both ways. You can shop apparel and accessories and home and gifts. I mean, that's one stop shop.

Brea: So like for me, I try to support my other, my friends, small businesses. So like my jewelry, my oils, I'm like looking over here, what do I have besides the black boxes but like little knickknack stuff, like in my jewelry items, I try to support my friends. That's great. This is so in there. There's two towers of necklaces because.

Brea: They don't fit out here.

Brea: But yeah, but then I find it's really hard to market that and close and I haven't found a great marketing strategy. So if you know.

Brea: Anyone.

Michelle: For accessories for.

Brea: Marketing general, like how to.

Brea: Market clothes, handbags, jewelry, I.

Michelle: Think the same way you're doing it now. So we started to talk about like where like how a typical day looks. So you get here some day and there is no plan.

Brea: Like there is no plan.

Michelle: But you are on you, you are creating reels like today's. You've got three different outfits on today's ticktalk or reels like how, how much time does that take? Because I think a lot of people I want to do to talk, not for me to be dancing and singing, but for me to do voiceovers of where we're doing reworks. Ticktalk is very intuitive. Also, if you're doing anything to music, that part is like there's a timing thing to it that I don't. Again, back to you. My lack of patience and bandwidth. I don't have the bandwidth to try and figure that out. You, though, have been on it and doing it and figuring it out like how how much time if someone's going to do this as their own side hustle? Because there's a couple online people that I can think of. How long does this take you?

Brea: So on a good day, I mean, I could I could probably knock out like seven reels in like one day, but that's only if I have a plan. So like yesterday I went through Instagram and really I take it in separate days. So like, I know I need to create a bunch of reels and I, I try to get ahead. So I bulk like one day I'll plan the reel, like write down ten different ideas of like what I want my reels to be with the music. Like I go in and save all the songs and that's a whole, like, probably six hour day to like research. What? You want to do? Because, I mean, yeah, sometimes I'm creative, but it's easier to follow trends because those are going to be pushed anyways. So I'll find the music I'll write down like, you know, I want to do like I did I think yesterday, like three outfits with dresses, maybe the next day I just want to showcase a whole outfit and I want to show the hat, the purse, the handbag, the outfit, like dress or whatever, you know. So I write those things out with the music, kind of what I want to put in the captions. So planning six days, 6 hours and then like to do the reels. I mean it could take me 1 to 2 days depending on like how many outfit.

Michelle: Changes and that keeps you. You're shooting all brand new inventory. So like that will keep you what with content for a week and that investment of time.

Brea: Yeah I mean because I don't have like a really high sell through rate because I only have my audience isn't as large as everyone would want theirs to be. But I mean, I, I only have 1600 followers and I probably.

Michelle: Get you started out at 100. You said.

Brea: Technically zero. So but yeah, that's yes.

Brea: I mean it's really a growth.

Michelle: Considering.

Brea: One year. Yeah, right. So next year I should be at 33,000 something.

Brea: But you know, it's a slow.

Brea: View of your items, so I have to continuously post those. So I post the reel I shared in my story, I shared in my story later, you know, I ask people to share it, all those things I share theirs.

Michelle: Do you find that sharing other people's and that that promoting other people, do you find that that helps you gain more followers?

Brea: Yeah. And one thing I've really been kind of teeter tottering with or like little small gift cards, a lot of people do giveaways. I hate giveaways. Like that's the.

Michelle: Whole other....

Brea: People to your your page. So what I do is like I'll post like a reel or something and I'm like, okay, this one's really good. Let's see how many views we can get or something. And then I'll post, I'll post it on my story and then on the next slide I'll put like if you share my reel and tag me, then you'll be entered to win a gift card. So then people will start sharing my reel. And so I've done that a few times. And that actually gained, I gained like probably 5 to 6 followers each time I did that. And I actually learned that from a jewelry girl who gives gift cards away frequently to people who interact with her content, likes, comments, shares. So she keeps track of that with her followers. So if anyone's looking for an idea of how to grow or get more interaction, that's one.

Michelle: Yeah, that's that's always, I think and again, like I think the older generation, like I've grown my Instagram just through hashtags and through naturally. It's like it's been more word of mouth and I've kind of preferred it that way because I want real stores, real organic growth. So it's has been slow as fuck though. Yeah, it's not it's not something that's like boom. You have I mean, it is. It is. I hit the 2000 mark and I was like, Oh my God. And then of course, two days later, two people stopped following me because people don't realize, like in any given day, you will have between two and five people fall off your followers. And I never paid attention to it until it was like the 2000 mark. And then I'll said it was very apparent like or 2000 were it 1998 were 2000. I'm like, Oh my God. Like.

Brea: Yeah, me too. I like went up and down. Like I went like past a number one time and then went back down five. It was like crazy. But there's so many, like, tricks and and things that, like, can help you grow. It's just like you asked me, like, how much time does that take? It takes time. Yeah, it takes a lot of time. I mean, like I said, I have tons I mean, I have, I don't know, like 20,000 something photos and videos, I think, on my phone right now. Let me see.

Michelle: A.

Michelle: Lot of memory. Damn.

Brea: Yeah, I have.

Brea: Well.

Brea: Yeah, like 15 to 16000 videos and photos on my phone.

Michelle: How much you have, Jesus.

Brea: Well, also, like if it goes in the iCloud. So it's like kind of there.

Michelle: But it's iCloud. Yeah, sorry. But it's a server out in the middle of the desert. It's in the cloud.

Brea: But yeah, I mean, it takes a lot of time. You ask about my day, so we'll get back to that question. But if I'm not filming reels or photos, I'm either packaging orders or prep. For my pop ups. Like, my husband's always like, what do you do all day? You know? And I'm like, dude, you.

Brea: Know, like, I got to take the things out of the package.

Brea: You know, like, tag it, make sure it looks nice. Well, I.

Michelle: Love that you it's very organized. It's not like, you know, you have people I'm guessing you have private shopping people that come and do it. But it's not like you have a storefront where you have to keep things, quote, nice. Like, I think most people what I love is that you've really taken pride in creating a space that feels like a store, even though it's not. And I think a lot of people that have online based things just have all their shit in boxes and it's like they just dig it out whenever it's like yours is like curated on the racks. It's not even just like a bunch of stuff. I mean, it's actually curated on the racks just like.

Brea: I mean, I do have. So my officemate has clients come frequently through the week. So it's, it's funny to see people's reactions when they come in.

Brea: They're like, What is this? Yeah.

Brea: Especially if I have like the backdrops down. But I mean, if I don't do pop ups, then it is like curated. So I have like collections like that's all my jackets. Like I try to keep it somewhat nice of things that I'm not taking to the pop up in case she has a client. They want to shop like she takes care of them for me. So it's kind of nice. Like they can kind of pick through things and shop and whatnot. And then if I do have a client like, you know, Monday, I have to pop ups this week in Monday, literally, like my stuff's just going to be thrown in here. It's already kind of put together. And I had a client coming. I wouldn't have to like stress about it. So yeah, I try to keep things like me and then I need to like, I'm very visual. Like you are like I have to see the items. If I don't see them, then I'm like, oh, I need, I don't like, I don't think about posting them.

Michelle: I, I have to ask where the name came from.

Brea: Oh yes.

Brea: So Chaxel is my dog's name's put together, so Cheska and Axel.

Brea: And their.

Brea: Two Frenchies.

Michelle: They need to be the face of the brand.

Brea: I know. And I, you know, I, I.

Michelle: Wonder like I wonder if people are like, why is this name Chaxel? I mean, because you've got it on the wall and then you've got a picture of them below it. Like, I think you need them because.

Brea: Like.

Brea: I feel like if I attached them to it, people would think pet.

Michelle: Know everyone, everyone like it has a story. And I think that people I'm sure people ask you like, what is the name mean? Like it's but I think that they should be in the store. I mean, it doesn't have to be all about them, but I certainly think that they need to be part of stories along with it. And like, like every now and then, like a post like, you know, I know like a lot of people will do the it's been a long time. It's been a while. There's a lot of new follows here. I thought, I think you'd need to do a reintroduction and I think you need to introduce them.

Brea: My dogs.

Brea: They do come to the pop ups.

Michelle: I mean, they would end up being like celebrities, to be quite honest. Yeah. Like if you build more on that.

Brea: We talked about doing like meet and greets and like picture up at the pop ups. Like we've talked about that with a van situation.

Brea: Yeah.

Brea: But yeah, I mean, I know I.

Michelle: I think that because people love animals and people love a good story and I think that you have a story behind them and they're cute as hell and it's like.

Brea: Everyone loves.

Michelle: Dogs. I just think that it just makes it more of a shopping experience of like, you know, when I was doing my pop ups with sweet love and the t shirts, I'd bring Peanut and Mouse every now I say that lightly, every now and then, because they are wild and Mouse is afraid of everyone. So it ends up being one dog is happy as a clam to be meeting everybody and the other one is shaking and peeing in the corner.

Michelle: Because she's so afraid.

Michelle: It's so sad. But I mean, people really do love, love a good story and they love y where the name came from and even more importantly, that they come along with you on.

Brea: Things in the South Bay. Like when I was at the point my husband brought them.

Brea: Sometimes it's chaotic, I can imagine.

Brea: And my husband's already like frantic, like trying to take care of the dogs and like I'm telling him to do stuff, you know? So it's like sometimes it's chaotic. If I'm in the South Bay area and it's like a dog friendly location, then he'll help me go home, get the dogs ready, come back with the dogs and like say hi and whatnot. But I know I like I wanted them kind of in the logo at some point. Like even like my period, like a paw print or something.

Brea: Yeah. But then like I was like, but then it's like dogs.

Michelle: People already know.

Michelle: You.

Michelle: You've built your brand. People knowing you and what you do. I think that they should be in the pictures with you. I think they should be in stories with you. I think that you ought to introduce them and tell like Toby. Why where the name came from? Just saying.

Brea: Well, and.

Brea: Then like, I bring them here, but they're just like always crazy in here. And then like, of course, all his clients. Like, I don't know. Yeah, you're right.

Michelle: Yeah. My girls, believe me, that's their dogs.

Brea: Like, they're just puppies, you know, CHESKA turn to, like, two days ago.

Brea: So they're.

Brea: Still babies.

Michelle: Yeah, my girls are old, but they're still not like the old. Like where they chill out. Like, I see people bring their dogs to work and the dogs sitting in a bed quietly. I'm like that. They bark at everything. Their typical small dogs like get off my lawn. Small dogs.

Brea: Cheska's very protective, too.  Axel. He don't care. He'll go with anyone.

Michelle: Yes.

Michelle: Maybe. Yeah. Yeah.

Michelle: So the last question or last two questions is everybody in the industry, fashion and gift always finds inspiration from somewhere. Like where do you find your inspiration, especially since you're in fashion.

Brea: As far as like. So I'll give an example. At Halloween, I had no inspiration. I was going to go to this pop up, it was Halloween themed, whatnot, had no inspiration any like, I don't know, I'm in a rut now. So this is like really hard.

Brea: Question to answer today. Well, I'm glad.

Michelle: You're leading with this one, because this was probably my favorite curated collection.

Brea: Oh, good. Okay.

Brea: And so me and my husband went to Hawaii. We had a trip planned to Hawaii that had got cancelled a few times because of COVID. And on the plane I was like, God, I just really like I've been struggling. I was like on the plane, I was watching Cruella and I was like, Yes, this is what I want. This is my, my, my inspiration. I'm doing this. So on the plane, I watched the movie three times. I watched it like once or twice going and then once or twice I can't remember coming back. And I just wrote down like all these things and like red and black, I was on fair, like, trying to find items. And I wanted the collection to be both regular and curvy, like I wanted to have both. And so I just like, I don't know, like I just, I find inspiration from movies a lot of times. So I have like an event at the end of this year that I can't fully talk about because it's not fully planned yet, but it'll have some type of movie related inspiration in the collection for the end of the year, what's happening? And so I find it in movies. I love streetwear, so like I love looking through Pinterest. It's just like crazy street art, work type of things to find like these weird colors and paint and like, just weird. I don't know. I find inspiration everywhere.

Michelle: I love that it's your Cruella. Okay, so the people that like hopefully they'll go to your Instagram, but your Cruella, it was like one you had. Did you dye your hair already for that? Like so. So Brea has long blonde blonde hair and then you'll see a picture of her. But then she has this black stripe, which I adore. And. And your collection for Halloween. The fall was like everything was red and black. Great velvet or velvet, but great felt. Red hat's the black jewelry that I mean, it was so good. It was so well done. I mean, I can only imagine the reaction was really good because it was really well curated.

Brea: Yeah. So what's the question?

Michelle: I just like you. You had to have had great sales from that.

Brea: Yes and no. I think so. I don't know if people really understood what I was trying to do. Like I picked pieces that were like normal clothing items. Like you could put the red top with a pair of denim jeans versus the black punk skirt or whatever, and the movie's very punk. And so like I tried to curate with like casual to like just normal items, but yet this punk vibe with just accessories, like you changed out the necklace and the handbag and the shoes, like the look could be completely different. So it was good.

Brea: The pop up was a.

Brea: Little bit slow because it was on Halloween and so people were with their kids getting ready to go out that night, things like that. I can say the engagement online was fabulous. It was really good. It was really good. I had a fun time. Don't know how I took all those pictures, to be honest. Like I was in here for four days straight, like just taking pictures and then my. Officemate was kind enough to take the curvy girl pictures for me. So we were in here for two days doing that.

Michelle: I love that you're doing curvy girl stuff, by the way, because not not a lot of of people do curvy girl. And it's like, why? Like, it's there's so much cute stuff out there.

Brea: It's hard. So the just brief thing about the curvy line, like I can't model it. So that's one challenge for me is like I can't model it. So my office may actually is the daughter of someone I used to work with at ADT that I'm really good friends with. And I had approached her to help me one day, and then that's how she became my office.

Brea: Mate.

Brea: All in the same, because I was like, Hey, I'm going to get a space. Do you want to rent something?

Michelle: Perfect.

Brea: So she was like, Yeah, sure, I'll, I'll help you. And so, you know, and I actually sold a good amount of stuff the first time we did it, but I can't always ask her. So I have a hard time finding someone to help me all the time. And I'm not one to, like, go out and like out of my way to ask someone, Hey, can you, like, take some pictures for me? Like, I hate bothering people. And so this year what I've decided to do in regards to the curvy line, if I'm going to continue to carry it, like I have to have someone model for me. So I've started a brand ambassador program and so I need a curvy model for that and I'm struggling to find one.

Michelle: Is that how is the brand ambassador working?

Brea: So what that entails is that they will get it's a term, so I'm running it this month through April, the end of April, so it's three months and they'll get a free item each month and they have to post once a week on their feed and their story. And then I just asked for one video a month, so just help with a reel or a video story or whatever. And then based on their sales in the month, they'll get a visa gift cards. So if they're first, they get $50 gift card, 35 and then 15. And then at the end of the year, we are going to be drawing a name to go to Cancun. So we're going to pay for a trip to Cancun for them and a guest in 2023.

Michelle: Wow, that's cool. How's the response been?

Brea: So I have three currently. We're just kind of getting started because I have to. I wanted to make it real, like a contract, things like that. So we're just getting started. So I haven't tested it yet, but I have three people. One is a curvy girl, she's in Portland, the other one is in Texas and the other one is San Diego.

Michelle: That's great. You get three different, completely different demographics, which is great. I love that.

Brea: Good. And I still need a male, so that's inspiring.

Michelle: Okay. So final question is, where do you see Chaxel's will be in ten years?

Brea: I knew you were.

Brea: Going to ask me. Yes, I've been.

Brea: Thinking.

Brea: About it.

Brea: Okay. So we're on your year to now, so I have to kind of go by my my plan here. So year three, I want to move out of here, out of this space and have like a real warehouse space, hopefully more or less like the community center I want to create. So that's kind of the three year. The five year would be that's up full, fully running with all the the things we want, including my true dream of having a VW bus like coffee, like love, being inside the place.

Michelle: Love.

Brea: That's like my dream. I love VW buses. It's like one of my things. So if you get a thank you card for me, sometimes they have VW buses on them and then my ten year.

Brea: Plan, my gosh.

Brea: I'll be 42.

Brea: Jesus, I'm like, What do I want?

Michelle: I'm like, Oh my God, I will be 66, 67 and ten year. Oh, then God, no question.

Brea: So I hope to really like fully.

Brea: Build like.

Brea: The brand in the lifestyle that I've always dreamed of and like my husband like came from a really hard time in life. And so just what we've built in the last couple of years, just really like I hope he's retired at some point close to ten years from Facebook. That would be freaking amazing. But just fully just running our, our little like business and we want to we're investing in properties and stuff. So that's my, that's my other job that I'll have eventually is running some Airbnbs. And so yeah, I think just, I mean we're still going to live here in the South Bay. We're not moving because I won't ever move and he knows that. But yeah, I think just like the full community center of just. Building something unique. Like we don't have anything like that. We don't in the South Bay and like I'm not from here, but like I love this place and I think that it's like a missed gym of like a where we sit and not a lot of people come over here like obviously there's tourists at the beach, but in general, just the area.

Michelle: Yeah.

Brea: So def. Yeah. Well, ten.

Michelle: Years. Thank you for your time spent with me. I really appreciate it. I can't wait for other hustlers to hear this because.

Michelle: Sorry.

Michelle: I think that you are a generation of people that are making your way and creating your own dreams and doing it your own way. And I love seeing it grow. So we will have all the links to all this in the notes. And thank you again, love.

Brea: Bye. thank you.

Michelle: And that is a wrap. Thank you all so much for joining me on today's episode. I really appreciate it. And be sure to tune in every Wednesday for more stories and lessons from a life in retail. And don't forget to follow us on Instagram at the retail whore podcast, and you can find us online at the