In the spirit of gift-giving season, I wanted to highlight one of my favorite online boutiques and help you get to know the woman behind it all! Bethany McGinness, the owner of Gemstone Boutique, opened her online business a little over three months ago and to say she’s taking the internet by storm is an understatement! I had the opportunity to learn more about the behind the scenes at Gemstone Boutique, and can’t wait to share with all of you!
What Started Gemstone Boutique?
When Bethany was in her undergraduate program at Eastern Illinois University, she had the opportunity to take a retail class to fill some time in her schedule. Although she did not go to college to pursue a retail degree, the idea of taking a retail class seemed fun and something she would enjoy. When I asked Bethany where the idea for starting her own online store came from, here’s what she said:
“For our Final project we had to create our own retail store: name, product, location, everything! Fun Fact: it was named Gymstone, and was only activewear! That is where “Gemstone” comes from. I always thought it would be cool to make the project in real life, and about 3 years later… here we are!”Bethany- owner and creator of Gemstone Boutique
What’s it like owning your own business?
Owning your own business takes grit, stamina, determination, and a clear vision for what you want your company to stand for. Bethany says that the best part about owning her own business is that she gets to call the shots.
Everything from logo, website design, product bought, prices.. everything has been done by me! I also get to do everything on my time.. so if I need a break or I’m with family, I don’t have to answer to anyone when it comes to Gemstone.Bethany- owner and creator of Gemstone Boutique
Curating the Products
Bethany is very focused on making sure that her clients are able to purchase trendy, affordable, and high quality products. When it comes to selecting merchandise, there are three key factors she considers before adding a new item:
- Will my target market like this?
- Is this “trendy” or in fashion right now?
- Can I sell it for a reasonable price?
To make sure her customers are going to love every product, Bethany uses Instagram polls to encourage her target market to help her make selections! She frequently posts photos of potential items she is considering to sell and asks her social media followers to “Love it” or “Leave it” on Instagram stories.
I love interacting with my customers and I feel like it makes them feel like their opinions matter!Bethany- Owner and creator of Gemstone Boutique
Bethany admits that shopping for products to sell can be a challenge, especially because sometimes she buys items she wouldn’t personally want to wear. She thinks about what her target audience might love or what’s currently trendy. Despite the challenges, Bethany loves making her customers happy and she enjoys customer feedback when it comes to deciding new items to sell!
You can follow Gemstone Boutique on Instagram @gemstoneboutique, on Facebook, and online at www.thegemstoneboutique.com. Follow her social accounts to stay up to date on the latest sales, new item releases, and participate in polls to choose what gets added to the collection next!
Right now, sweaters are a huge hit for all fans of Gemstone Boutique. Bethany says that her most popular pieces are the olive and ivory striped popcorn sweater and the grid print turtleneck (which is ALMOST sold out!)
Recently, Bethany has been adding more dressier tops to her collection, including the Ruffle Blouses and Black Turtleneck which have both been popular items this season.
The Final Question
After learning about how Gemstone Boutique started and the creative process behind it all, I wanted to ask Bethany one more important question- What’s one thing everyone should know about Gemstone Boutique that most customers might not be aware of?
To my delight, Bethany had an incredible answer. Here’s what she said:
It’s currently being ran by me, myself, and I! I’ve had friends help with photos and opinions, but I designed the logo, created the website, got my business license, ordered the clothes, and everything else that goes into creating a business, all by myself. That’s something I’m extremely proud of. It was an investment; it was a scary leap for me at a young age, but it has been so fun and exciting that I don’t regret it at all.Bethany- owner and creator of Gemstone Boutique
Bethany also emphasized that she wants Gemstone Boutique to be known for being affordable.
That’s 100% my biggest goal. I’ve never been one to be able to splurge on $70 jeans for booties that were over 100 dollars. I’ve always lived in small, rural communities. I want everyone to be able to enjoy fashion without paying a ton for it. People have told me I’m crazy for some of my prices. While it may not make me a profit as quickly, it’s gaining me loyal customers and helping my business spread by word of mouth.Bethany- owner and creator of Gemstone Boutique
Starting anything new can be scary, but I admire Bethany for taking the plunge headfirst into her business venture. Gemstone Boutique is not your average online clothing store- each and every piece is hand-selected with the customer in mind. Each time you purchase from Gemstone Boutique, you are supporting a real person with real goals. It has been amazing to watch Bethany live her best life with Gemstone Boutique and seeing her reach her goals!
Much love, Ashley Marie