Boss Lady: Scarlett Sturgis

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week, we chat with Scarlett Sturgis, the founder of WIckbox. Scarlett combined her love of candles with her entrepreneurial drive and created the first luxury candle subscription box. Wickbox curates candles to your preferences, giving you the ultimate luxurious experience. We love their motto: “One, treat yourself. Two, let your light shine.”

Scarlett Sturgis - Wickbox - Boss Lady - Social Stylate

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.
I was born and raised in the South. I graduated from College of Charleston with a degree in Arts Management & Hospitality & Tourism Management. After graduation, I moved to Europe for a few years (Amsterdam & London) and worked in the corporate events industry. As a daughter and granddaughter of entrepreneurs, I’ve always dreamed of having my own business. I started Wickbox not long after moving back to the Carolinas. It serves as a wonderful creative outlet and taps into my passion for home decor.

2. What prompted you to start​ ​Wickbox?
I had a dream (literally). In the dream, I was chatting with a couple ladies in the mall about how I wanted to start a candle of the month club with candles that are much higher quality than what you can find in the mall. As soon as I woke up I started jotting down all my ideas about it and had a rough business plan and a packaging vision pulled together in a couple days. At that point I had never even heard of a subscription box, but I soon realized there was a whole market out there for them and candles were an untapped part of that market.

3. How do you make Wickbox stand out among other monthly subscription boxes?
Personalization is key! It makes a big difference that subscribers have the opportunity to complete their scent profile and we handpick their candles to match. It takes the fear out of buying candles online that you can’t smell first. Also ensuring that each candle we send out is in a beautiful, on-trend container definitely helps us stand out to those subscribers who value aesthetics and love home decor. And of course the quality of the candles is top-notch.

4. What is your most successful form of marketing? (In terms of sales.)
Instagram has been my most successful form of marketing. I’m a visual person, as are many of our subscribers, so having a beautiful Instagram feed is a great tool to drive sales.

5. Where do you hope to see Wickbox in 5 years?
I hope to see Wickbox helping women in crisis in a big way. I feel called to help women who are facing crises like homelessness, financial struggles, domestic violence, and more, and I would love to use Wickbox as a vehicle to help fuel that mission. We are already doing that on a small scale but I would love to increase those efforts exponentially as we continue to grow.

6. ​Are there any aspects of running your own business that you absolutely hate? Love?
I don’t really enjoy the monotonous admin types of tasks, but I absolutely love curating our candles each month. It’s so fun to hunt for beautiful candle containers and luxurious scents that make the homes of our subscribers feel warm and inviting — like a retreat they can’t wait to relax in.

​7. ​What tools, apps, best practices etc. do you use to stay organized?
I’m really starting to get into automating tedious tasks through applets in IFTTT, and Tailwind is great for scheduling Pinterest and Instagram posts.

8. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
Traveling inspires me and fuels my creativity like nothing else. I love to experience new cultures including the unique design aesthetics in different parts of the world and the stories behind them. In my home you will find decor pieces from my travels around the globe, and those souvenirs continue to inspire me long after my trip is over.

9. Who is a #BossLady that inspires you and why?
I love the business Kendra Scott has built centered around philanthropy and family. Her business gives away so much to various charities every year, and it’s an inspiration to see how a business can experience rapid growth while simultaneously sowing into the lives of others.

10. What advice do you have for those looking to go from employee to entrepreneur?
Make sure you do your research on how to have a successful launch because you want to make sure you capitalize on the initial buzz as much as possible. Also, having a side-hustle is perfectly fine until you can afford to make it full-time. That’s how I started with Wickbox.

Just for fun…

​Favorite show to binge-watch: Friends will always be my go-to as new shows come and go
Style icon: Serena from Gossip Girls
Cocktail of choice: Scarlett O’Hara or Mojito
The perfect Saturday includes: Exploring a new city on foot or by bike, grabbing lunch at a local market, and browsing through home decor boutiques.
If I could be anywhere in the world right now, I’d be in: Japan during cherry blossom season – I’ve traveled a lot but this one is still on my bucket list!

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Boss Lady: Jennifer Steiner

Jennifer Steiner - Adorn Goods - Boss Lady - Social Stylate

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Jennifer Steiner, co-founder of Adorn Goods boutique in Centreville, Delaware. Jennifer shares with us what it means to empower women to live positive and organized lifestyles along with advice for future #bossladies.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.
I studied Communication and Art History in college. Everything I’m about and ever known has one theme…aesthetics. I was lucky to grow up with a father who is a mastermind of 18th century architectural design and lover of Philadelphia high style antiques and a mother whose house was always a home and was impeccable. I learned quickly quality over quantity.

I started working on the curatorial staff at Delaware Art Museum as an intern right out of college. I remember my first project was to design a rug out of garden hoses. I thought if I can make a rug made of hoses look good…well I may have potential. From there I went on to special events and then advertising. After I was married, I decided to start the interior design program at Moore College of Art and Design. Then came children and all my time went to them! I feel so lucky to be able to own a business and still pick up my kids from school.

2. What prompted you to start Adorn Goods?
A love of all things beautiful…whether it’s a gorgeous vase, an essential oil that brings you a few moments of relaxation and mindfulness, or the most delicious jar of homemade jam you are so proud to serve your friends and family.

3. How do you decide what brands/lines to carry?
Everything we carry we love and want for ourselves. It’s hard to find the unique, but that’s what we strive for! We want people to love everything and find something they love…truly enjoying their shopping experience.

4. As a retailer, what lessons have you learned that you didn’t know prior to opening the store?
The time it takes to keep things energized and fresh!

5. How do you make your store stand out against competitors?
By offering unique lines with a mix of nostalgia and passion.

6. Where do you hope to see Adorn Goods in 5 years?
The addition of an online store, increased event space and hopefully doing what we are doing now, with the same amount of passion.

7. As a working mom, do you have any tips on creating a balance?
Do the best you can…it’s all good!

8. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
It’s simple, being in nature and mindfulness.

9. What advice do you have for those looking to go from employee to entrepreneur?
There’s always a way…especially for women business owners. Join a support group or local women in business club.

10. Who is a #BossLady that inspires you and why?
My friend Debi Brooks, who runs a major non-profit, she also a mom, a cook, baker and everything maker : )

Just for fun…

Your happy place is: Anywhere in nature.
The one item you can’t live without it: Salt and chocolate.
Favorite Instagram account to follow: Ugh….
The last show you binge-watched: Big Little Lies!
Cocktail of choice: Dirty Martini
Song you could dance all day to: Crazy In Love by Beyonce and September by Earth, Wind, and Fire.
Trend you wish would disappear: Any trend…I alway try to stick with the classics.

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Boss Lady: Bree Wellons

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Bree Wellons: interior designer, owner of Dilwyne Designs, and co-founder of Adorn Goods boutique in Centreville, Delaware. Bree shares with us what it means to empower women to live positive and organized lifestyles along with advice for future #bossladies.

BreeWellons-AdornGoods-BossLady-SocialStylate

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.
After graduating from Syracuse University, I moved to Sydney, Australia to work at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Public Relations. When the Games finished I began working for an advertising firm, where I was exposed to endless creative businesses. Living in Australia for a few years was an amazing experience filled with travel adventures, tons of design inspirations and I met my husband! Once we moved back to the States I enrolled in an interior design program and was hired by a local designer. In 2009 I started my own interior design company, Dilwyne Designs, which focused on residential and small corporate clients. All of these experiences led me to wanting to open a unique retail shop.

2. What prompted you to start Adorn Goods?How do you decide what brands/lines to carry?
Working in the interior design field and many years of foreign travels introduced me to countless product lines. For many years, I’ve dreamed about opening a shop where all of these creative sources would be available. My business partner, Jennifer Steiner, and I were lucky enough to find the perfect building to buy and renovate in the historic town of Centreville, Delaware. Adorn Goods feels more like a home than a business, which has been well-received by our customers.

3. As a retailer, what lessons have you learned (that you didn’t know prior to opening the store)?
Managing your inventory, interacting with your customers and having a good sales team are most important. Paying attention to what categories of products sell the best will also help steer your business.

4. How do you make your store stand out against competitors?
We like to view Adorn Goods as a modern day general store. You can pretty much get whatever you need for your home, fashion accessories, body products, gifts and food. We want our customers to feel relaxed and inspired in our shop and know that we’re consistently adding products that are unique and different. Our love of fine foods prompted us to include an epicure room where we sell grab and go meals from local chefs. We also offer a private event space and host numerous gatherings.

5. Where do you hope to see Adorn Goods in 5 years?
We want Adorn Goods to be viewed as a one of a kind shopping experience. We also look forward to growing our bridal registry business.

Boss Lady - Bree Wellons - Adorn Goods in Centreville, Delaware - Social Stylate

6. As a working mom, do you have any tips on creating a balance?
Ha! I don’t know if there’s ever a perfect “recipe” for this question. All you can do is try your best and know you’re setting a good example for yous kids by following your dreams. Family life and business needs are always shifting, so just enjoy the ride! My family is very large and we all live close together. Family get-togethers are always totally entertaining with our cast of characters.

7. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
Adorn Goods is really fulfilling my creative juices. I love meeting all of the interesting people and artisans who find our shop. Owning a store is a special way to connect with creative people and other businesses.

8. What advice do you have for those looking to go from employee to entrepreneur?
Starting a small retail shop is a big risk and can be scary. I like to believe that if you’re dedicated and focused on your business plan and mission, things typically work out for the best. Yes, there will always be bumps in the road and you have to be willing to try new things but, if you’re passionate about what you do, it offers many rewards!

9. Who is a #BossLady that inspires you and why?
Mary Celeste Beall and Kreis Beall are inspirations to me. They so graciously lead Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, along with their amazing team. Over a year ago Sam Beall, the proprietor of Blackberry Farm, tragically died at the age of 39. Mary Celeste is Sam’s wife and Kreis is his mother. Just a few weeks after Sam’s passing, Jennifer and I attended a Martha Stewart event at Blackberry. Both Mary Celeste and Kreis hosted our group and were the definition of strength, authenticity and elegance. The Beall family has created a one of a kind southern experience at Blackberry Farm. Sam’s vision will live on through is wife, mother and the exceptional Blackberry team.

Just for fun:

1. Your happy place is: Charleston, South Carolina and Lewes, Delaware
2. The one item you can’t live without it: Tata Harper Volumizing Lip and Cheek Tint
3. Favorite Instagram account to follow: The Dogist – Love the owner’s quotes about their dog’s personalities!
4. The last show you binge-watched: The Handmade’s Tale – so well done! Now on to Game of Thrones current season.
5. Cocktail of choice: My friend Debi’s Ginger-ritas. Yuuuuummmmm!
6. Song you could dance all day to: It’s summertime ,so all things Bob Marley!
7. Trend you wish would disappear: High waisted pants! SO not flattering!

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Top photo by KELLI WILKI. Middle photo by LAURA NOVAK.

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Boss Lady: Jena Baffone

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Jena Baffone, founder of the Delaware Furniture Exchange and Passionista Fashion Truck. Jena shares with us what it means to empower women to live positive and organized lifestyles along with advice for future #bossladies.

Boss Lady: Jena Baffone of Passionista Fashion Truck - Social Stylate

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.
I am currently the owner of Delaware Furniture Exchange (DFE) and Passionista Fashion Truck (PFT). DFE is in its 6th year and we sell upscale, gently used, furniture and accessories for the home. PFT is a mobile women’s Fashion Truck, sort of like a Food Truck just with amazing, new, and trendy women’s clothes and accessories. In the past I have worked 10yrs for a banking industry and was a realtor for 6yrs.

2. What prompted you to start the Passionista Fashion Truck?
I felt PFT would serve as a great compliment to DFE. I didn’t want to do used consignment clothing, so I felt being mobile I can come and go with new, trendy items for women. Plus who doesn’t love clothes and accessories.

3. What is your buying process like? Do you do a lot of trend research?
I deal with trendy companies from New York & Los Angeles. I grew up with 80s fashions and have watched the trends repeat themselves at some level – I am about keeping up with the current trends but making sure it has some “staying” power. Florals, Paisley, Stripes, Lace, Suede, Fringe, Ruffles, Flair, Straight leg, Skinny each had a era of their own. In the right style these pieces you can have for a while instead of just 1 season. I like to phrase it Timeless Trends.

4. If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before you started your business, what would that be?
Trust and believe in yourself, think positive that you can do it, what’s the worst that can happen you make mistakes, mistakes are the learning process, oh and you will make them but you can also correct them.

5. What has been your most successful form of marketing? (In terms of obtaining new customers)
Even with the enormous social media world we live in today and online ecommerce sites that bombard the internet – I still believe engaging face to face with the customer is mostly successful for me. Human Interaction is key for both businesses that I have, providing excellent customer service in this aspect is still just as important. Don’t get me wrong social media is huge but both stores actually depend on foot traffic. So if you make someone feel special and engage and they like their experience they will tell two people which is where social media comes in to play. Let them say it on social media what a great experience they had coming into the store and so on.

Boss Lady: Jena Baffone of Passionista Fashion Truck - Social Stylate

Jena just won the 1st year Best Concessionaire Award this week at the Delaware State Fair.

6. How do you measure success based on your efforts as and owner? Is it purely financial? Crossing off everything on your daily list?
I LOVE LOVE when people compliment on the choices I pick for the store or when I get pictures of how they re-decorated their homes thru DFE or they went to a special occasion with an outfit from PFT. I pride myself in providing something for everyone. When your customers are satisfied the financial aspect typically comes with that but don’t get me wrong you need to make money at these types of businesses otherwise you’re a 501c3 that you cant claim. LOL.

7. When it comes to building your brand, what is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
When you connect with your customers and have a passion for what you believe in you’re building your brand. Don’t think that building is ever going to stop though branding is a constant in motion. I am a big believer in the “look for less” whether in your home or in fashion. Majority of the people would love to have that high-end leather, tufted, nailhead chair for 2K but can’t afford it. It goes the same for clothing, I want people to feel great in what they wear but not spend a fortune. Your home is about “living” as well as fashion is about “looking good” in what you wear, the two are really connected. If I can give my customer unique finds at an affordable price, I am branding my businesses.

8. Where do you hope to see the company in 5yrs? Would you ever turn in your truck for a storefront?
DFE is a bricks & mortar and PFT is mobile. Right now I have the best of both worlds within the 2 businesses right now. I was able to start PFT because of the fantastic employees I have which makes things easier. I think it’s about timing for opening a store – it may happen.

9. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
Well both businesses are ever changing on a daily basis. I receive original items for DFE on a regular basis and it’s never the same and PFT the scenery is always changing so creativity is extremely important in both businesses. This is where confidence in your ability to think on your feet and go with your gut, just do it comes into play. Also, knowing you can tweak things along the way of the journey of owning a business helps too.

10. What advice do you have for those looking to go from employee to entrepreneur?
I once read a book that said “know a little about a lot” I think it was Rich Dad Poor Dad. Marketing, Accounting, Branding, Social Media, Time Management, Hiring Employees, Tax Codes, Ect. I feel I know enough about all of these that I stay within my strengths and hire other people to do the other jobs. Hire good people and don’t be afraid to ask for advice from specialists in their field.

11. Who is a #BossLady that inspires you and why?
There really isn’t one specific person that inspires me. What inspires me are women that over come obstacles to achieve their goals and are willing to talk with other women about their journey in how they did it. There was a women’s speaker series in my area that I attended for several years 1x a month for 6months. I had the pleasure of hearing approximately 30 of these successful women overcome such hardship and turn themselves into successful empowering women. Alison Levine, Barbara Corcoran, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Condelezza Rice, Maya Angelou just to name a few I have seen. There is one thing they all had in common – they never stopped wanting to learn.

Just for fun…

Your happy place is: Watching a Sunset not matter where
The one item you can’t live without: The internet (but it would be nice to try to live without it)
Favorite Instagram account to follow: All of them
The last show you binged watched: James Bond Movies
Cocktail of choice: Skinny Mojito – Club Soda, Tito’s, Muddled Lime, Mint
Song you could dance all day to: Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out
Trend you wish would disappear: Pattern leggings – there is something about wearing pattern things on your butt cheeks.

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