Customers, friends, and people I meet always ask me, "so, how'd all this get started?!?" To which I reply, "Do you have a minute?"
Its amazing how life can can change over the course of a handful of years. Its even more amazing how one can be so sure and certain of their own plan for their life...and then God does his wonderful, marvelous, divine work and turns your whole plan upside down. Everyone has a story...and I believe that God is still writing mine!
In March of 2014, I had planned on going on a mission trip to Haiti with Hunter Collins, who was only my boyfriend then. This all sounds great and jolly until we faced a bill that exceeded over 5K each! Of course we felt led to go, so we did whatever we reasonably could to raise the money.
One thing I was capable of doing that people seemed to like was sew and create things. I began to make anything and everything I could to sell: headbands (mostly), up cycled tees, jewelry, onesies, burp rags...you name it...and if it was somewhat explainable on Pinterest, I tried to create it and sell anywhere I could! I started out with small craft fairs, and even did my first shows in close friend's and relative's homes and churches. We would have food, play fun music, fellowship, and shop! I had found my niche. I had just turned 18 then.
The mission trip actually ended up falling though (which was sad, but okay!), but I truly believe that God brought the concept of that trip to me to find my passion. Though it didn't work out, I had found something I loved...so I continued to do what I had been doing, and named my little endeavor "Poppie's Boutique," after my grandfather.
Doing "Poppie's" as a hobby my Freshman and Sophomore year of college, I experienced so much supernatural favor, and before my eyes my niche quickly turned into a good form of part-time income for me. Hunter and I got engaged the fall of our Sophomore year of college (yes, we are crazy!), and married the next fall...we knew it was God's plan and couldn't be happier!
In July of 2015, Hunter saw that Poppie's could be more than just my late nights of sewing and going to small craft shows. It continued to grow and I was getting overly busy with orders- at this point, we had began ordering small amounts of boutique clothing to fill our booth space at shows. We also found the issue of all of our inventory getting ruined by the elements at shows. Hunter pitched the idea of transforming an inclosed trailer into a mobile shopping experience... but anyone who knows me knows that if I dont take the weirdest, most unique, and sometimes the most difficult route to achieve a goal, then I'm not satisfied with myself. So, thats when I began my online search for a vintage Airstream camper. We finally found one in downtown Nashville (in a sketchy alley, I might add...can you say Craigslist killers?!?). It was the perfect price for two newlywed college students, which meant it was basically a complete piece of trash. Our parents had officially thought we were off our rockers, I'm sure. All summer break, Hunter and I worked endlessly on getting this big rolling piece of silver junk that we had fallen in love with transformed into a mobile boutique. Our first show, then second show, then another, then another...all turned out to be a huge success. Everyone loved our little camper that we had slaved over.
Seeing the success from the shows, Hunter gets the bright idea to open a little storefront in His hometown of Smithville, TN. I thought he was crazy. I was student teaching and he was in his senior year at Tennessee Tech. We knew nothing about owning a store. Opening morning, I told Hunter, "If only ten people come today, I will be pleased...just ten!" When I came home from student teaching that day (yes, I didn't get to be at the opening day of Poppie's), the parking lot was full with 20+ cars, and it had been like that all day! I couldn't help but sit in my car, cry, and thank God. After a few months of goodness in Smithville, God brought our McMinnville storefront to us in July: another blessing!
At this point, I thought I was done (I'm sure that God constantly is laughing at me...), when a perfect storefront in my hometown, and my Poppie's hometown, Lebanon, TN, presented itself. We opened our Lebanon location in February of this year.
People ask me everyday, "What's next?" Honestly, I dont know. In my life, I had full intentions on being a missionary (fell through), a teacher (led a different direction), and definitely not being a wife or small business owner in college (crazy!). All I know is that God has a plan: a good, perfect plan. I have learned to trust that He knows best, and knows my heart's desires best, too.