This is an episode of the Retail Initiative podcast – listen and subscribe to it here.
Our guest, Ashley Alderson, from The Boutique Hub, shares some incredible advice on true community over competition and how that mindset can help propel your business forward. Josh and Ashley also discuss Q4 tips and retail in the new economy packing this episode with great advice that you don’t want to miss!
Discover more about Ashley and The Boutique Hub below, and don’t forget to leave a review to help other retailers, like you, find our podcast.
What was mentioned
- Sign up for Pink Friday – https://theboutiquehub.com/pink-frida…
- Follow The Boutique Hub on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/theboutiquehub
- The Boutique Hub Website – https://theboutiquehub.com
- Follow Ashley Alderson’s on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ajalderson
- Boutique Chat Podcast Episode featuring Josh – https://theboutiquehub.libsyn.com/268…
- Join Our Free Training – https://streamlineretail.com/podcast
[00:00:00] Hey, thanks for tuning into this episode of Retail Initiative. I am so excited for what you’re about to hear. This episode was with my friend and the founder of the Boutique Hub, Ashley Alderon. If you’re not familiar with the Boutique Hub they are an organization that is part community for boutique owners and other retailers and then a ton of education.
And resources they put on an incredible event. But this episode we dive into some incredible things. We talk community over competition. We share some of our story. There’s some fun stuff in there. And then we dive into what we can be looking forward to in q4. So definitely stick around for this and I can’t wait to hear what you think.
So let’s dive in. If you’re listening, we’ll cue the theme and then we’ll get straight into the interview.
[00:01:07] Josh Orr: All right, so here with me is Ashley Alderson, which if you don’t know who she is, you must be living under a rock or you don’t do anything with retail. Ashley, thank you for being here.
[00:01:19] Ashley Alderson: Oh, I’m so pumped to be here. I’ve been looking forward to this.
[00:01:23] Josh Orr: Yes. Well, before we get into it, something that I need to, I just wanna say publicly, I texted you this a few weeks ago when I was in the middle of my own event.
But the story, if people don’t know, for people that don’t know this is like, there’s a famous story of the four-minute mile and for centuries, people were trying to run a mile in one in four minutes, and like literally for centuries, people tried and they failed. And then in 1954, this guy named Roger Banister finally ran the four-minute mile.
But what’s nuts is that. It took centuries to get there, and it took weeks for the [00:02:00] next person to do it and a week for the next person. And then it became the norm among professional runners. And that happened, I believe, And I think Ashley, you would share in this because people believed it was possible and when they believed it was possible, they were able to do something and.
A lot of what I get to do right now, I really can say happened because I saw what you were doing in the retail world and the impact that you were making on people’s lives. And you were probably the first person where I was like, Oh my gosh. Like, this is possible. This is possible to make an impact. And I, I just wanna say that like, you’ve made such an impact on me and so many people, and I wanna thank you.
[00:02:43] Ashley Alderson: Aw, I, I get goosebumps hearing you say that. I love that. Thank you. I remember when you and I very first met, and I feel like I owe a thanks to Dallas Market Center actually for this chance encounter, because really you reached out to me. and said, [00:03:00] Hey, how’d you get into Dallas Market Center? I see what you’re doing.
I wanna meet you. And like, we just randomly went and met up and filmed a video together and like, all this random stuff then happened thereafter. But meeting you has been such a pleasure for me too. Like I have so enjoyed just creating a friendship with you. Mm-hmm. It’s amazing to, to be friends with someone who sees the industry from a similar vantage point.
And I just think we compliment each other so well, Josh. So I’m thankful for your friend.
Well, I, I appreciate that. For the people that don’t know I know like within like our little bubble, the boutique hub is, is widely known and like everyone knows what it is and I feel like everyone I know is in it.
[00:03:42] Josh Orr: But for people that are listening that don’t know, what is the boutique hub?
[00:03:50] Ashley Alderson: Yeah, so the boutique hub is what I look at it as the central connection point for the entire boutique industry. We try to bring every tool and resource [00:04:00] that a boutique owner could possibly need to be successful under one roof.
So we really focus on three key pillars. The first is education, so we want the highest quality, expert level education. I believe if we don’t know the answer to it, we will find someone who. And we bring that all under one roof for every type of store and every level of store, from brand new to multimillion dollar store.
The second piece for us is really community. And that’s the heart of what we do. Community over competition has always been our motto. Back before it was cool , right? Like it was not a thing when we first started. And it’s been amazing to see how people’s lives have changed by like living.
So community is really a big piece of it, connecting people from all over the world with similar interests and businesses. And then the third piece for us is wholesale. So how can we help retailers buy more efficiently, buy from wholesalers that are vetted, that they know, that they trust? And then also we really try to bring the power of our community together [00:05:00] to get great pricing on a lot of the things that people are buying on a regular basis.
So we, we try to be those things that, so that retailers can work. Not just in their business, but on their business.
[00:05:12] Josh Orr: That’s incredible. And so where did, where did the idea come from? Like, cuz the, like now, like for people that are coming in now, it’s like, sometimes I think seeing things seem like it was the idea of like, of course you’re just a super brilliant person and you came up with this idea and like you and a few people had a meeting and then here’s the boutique hub.
But it, it wasn’t that simple. And so like where, where did this whole thing come from?
[00:05:37] Ashley Alderson: I forget Now, like there are people that just joined the Boutique Hub recently, like they don’t know the backstory or we have so many like OG members who are here since the very beginning. So it’s, it’s strange to think people think this just happened.
I think of it more like a friend’s episode, you know, like with Ross in the couch and he is yelling, Pivot. Like that’s how I feel the boutique hub came to be because originally I’m from North Dakota and [00:06:00] that’s not exactly a fashion mecca. I grew up in a small town. I, I know. Surprising, surprising. It is.
Now we’re making a comeback thanks to the internet. So when I grew up, I felt like fashion was New York and it was la. But what about the rest of us? What about the rest of us in the Midwest? You know, who we just, when we traveled, we loved discovering cute stores in Texas and everywhere else, but we wanted access to the same sorts of things at home.
And so really that was, I loved retail, I loved small businesses. I worked in economic development for nine years in North Dakota during the height of the oil boom, which was like a gold rush for us during the bachan. And I just loved small business. And so how the boutique up first started was when we moved from North Dakota to Wisconsin where my husband’s from, and I left my career in economic development.
I was like, you know, Eric, I’ve always wanted to build this like online shopping mala boutiques. So people like me from the Midwest, from the middle of nowhere, we could have access to these really cool stores from [00:07:00] around the world and we could all shop ’em like one online shopping mall. And so that was the idea.
So when we moved, Eric had gotten an. Bonus in the oil field. And he was like top salesman, first company or something. And so we got this bonus and we took it and we invested everything we had into hiring a web developer. And we were like, Okay, we have this idea. Just build it for us. And so we did. And he did.
And when we started to build it and build this online shopping mall, it was really the chicken and the egg. Like we didn’t have enough boutiques to attract enough shoppers, and there weren’t enough shoppers who attract enough boutiques, and we were stuck in this weird middle position that just couldn’t grow.
And then what I realized when I started to have all these conversations with boutique owners about what we were building is they just needed a community. They just needed like support in one another and answers to their questions. And a lot of the questions they were asking, even though I wasn’t a boutique owner at the time, I had access to ’em because I’d been doing economic development.
I ran a small business development center for a long time, [00:08:00] so I knew how to do, you know, all their financial projections and Facebook ads were new at the time and social media and merchandising and team development, all that. So I felt like I just needed to answer some questions and then bring in people who are smarter than.
To answer anything that I couldn’t cover and just build this community that was a backbone for boutique owners. And so that’s really how the pivot happened was it was boutique kind of became by accident. We were just trying to fill needs and serve people and meet them where they are. And this is the beauty of what it’s become.
And I’m just lucky to be along for the ride of
[00:08:32] Josh Orr: Gosh, that’s incredible. And gosh, I mean there’s so many things that I could, like angles that I could take from that, but my, my favorite and I think what applies. So, of course, retailers, but really any business is like we can come in with a plan and like your willingness to shift that so quickly once you identified a need.
And I think I can even, even in my own business where I, I’ve had this idea and I, I’ve just stuck with it too long [00:09:00] and I saw the need, but I, I just re didn’t want to pivot because it wasn’t my original idea. , but you saw that need and you shifted so quickly and I think people could learn from that.
Cuz I really do think, like one of the mistakes, cuz I’ve, I like, you’re, you’ve become well known in our industry and people will reference you, is like this idea of success and what they don’t see is like what you were feeling and what that was like when things weren’t like, when there weren’t home runs.
When, when you were. Yeah, like when there was just failure after failure, but you pivoted and then in doing that you saw something that took off. So, yeah. Yeah. So you mentioned community over competition, which I love. You even said like before, it was cool because it, it is something that we’re starting to see more now and I, I don’t know if you coined the term or if you just kind of made it big [00:10:00] again, but So when you say that, like, what do you mean?
Cause I. We love the idea, but we also are competitors in a sense. I don’t necessarily mean me and you, although we can get to to that, but I even mean like just in the business community, like we have, we see people that are actual friends, but they are going after the same customer. How do you see that playing out in people’s lives?
[00:10:25] Ashley Alderson: I love this question. So how I first came about this term was when I was in economic development, there was this embroidery shop in my small town, and this is again, this is pre-social media, pre-internet, pre all these things. And there was another shop across the street when the embroidery shop, and it was like a men’s boutique in a TS business and that sort of thing.
When they were gonna go out of business, when they were gonna sell their business and relocate. Cause they were retiring. The business from across the street came in and they were like, Hey, you as an economic development person, need to do something to fill this [00:11:00] store. We have to have another boutique or another, you know, clothing store across the street.
And I, I was like, really? Why? Like, I would think that was your competitor, right? Like there’d be more business for you if they’re gone and they’re like, No. Any time two or more stores come together, you become a shopping destination. And there’s more for all of. And that like, I’ll never forget that lesson.
It just knocked my socks off. Yeah, yeah. In a small town. And so that really became my motto in economic development as well. And it just fits so well for, for what we do. So here’s where I see it today. There’s a lot of people who give community over competition, lip service, but don’t really live it. It can be fake for a lot of people.
So I guess a couple things, like, I think there’s such good examples of, you know, boutiques that lift each other up in a couple ways. Number one, Just in daily advice, right? If someone comes into the hub and asks a question and someone genuinely answers it, like there’s so much you can do to lift one another up, that really isn’t taking away.
It’s like if you [00:12:00] have an apple or. and someone comes and says, Hey Mr, can I please pick a couple apples? And you’re like, Well, yeah, sure. I mean, I have a whole orchard of them, right? Mm-hmm. , there was a difference in them coming and picking a couple apples and then totally like cleaning out your apple orchard.
There’s a complete difference. So to me, like that general back and forth of, I’ll share a couple. You share a couple. A rising tide really does lift all ships in that area. Mm-hmm. , And this business is freaking hard. and there will be ups and there will be downs. And I think if you’re in it for the long run, you know that.
And so you’re a lot more willing to share with someone who maybe is in a low season because you know your low season’s probably gonna become in next month and you want someone to do that in return. And I just think that’s good servant leadership. Right?
[00:12:44] Josh Orr: Yeah.
[00:12:44] Ashley Alderson: The other thing I think that’s really helpful is, Stores that come in across the street.
Again, you are a shopping destination when you work together. So when I see stores like, Welcome another store with open arms and send them flowers and take ’em out to lunch and that sort of thing, or go to market together, but maybe have an [00:13:00] unspoken rule of like, You buy this, I’ll buy that. But we’ll try to set some boundaries.
I think that’s another great example of community over competition. And then a third great example is, boy natural disasters happen. and I’ve seen some amazing displays of people sending inventory and sending money and you know, working for free and flying across the country. And I mean, there’s so many good ways to help people.
So community is being in community, It doesn’t mean you’re not competing. You’re still competing, right? You just have to really set your target on like, what am I competing for? And my boutique customer isn’t just shopping. , she’s gonna shop 10 other stores like me, and it’s really selfish to think she’s only gonna stick to one store.
So I have to be able to put my pride aside and not let my pride get hurt to think that she’s gonna go do business with the store across the street too. I should hope that she would. And if I, I’m sorry, I’m like totally rambling, Josh, but if I’m a sore owner and there’s another store across the street and I think I’m gonna deter my customer from going over there by [00:14:00] bad talking that other boutique, that customer will never come back to me again.
That’s my character. Like if you truly are a servant leader that will show through 10 times out of 10 versus you just giving community over competition, lip service, but then really not wanting to support that other business.
[00:14:18] Josh Orr: Oh my gosh, absolutely. That reminds me, I’ve been really into craft beer and one of my favorite breweries is called Dog Fish Head.
Their, their ceo who had like a TV show on Discovery Channel and all this stuff, like ran this nonprofit to support craft breweries. And so this question on the show was presented to him of like, Why are you pushing on these other craft breweries? And he’s like, Do you not get that? Like if I can get people off the light beer aisle and I can get people onto the craft beer aisle, sometimes they’re gonna buy mine and sometimes they’re gonna buy theirs.
And sometimes, but yeah, they weren’t even on my aisle before. So if I can get them on our aisle, we have a better chance of selling them. [00:15:00] So I think
[00:15:01] Ashley Alderson: Oh, good.
[00:15:01] Josh Orr: One of the things that I see all the time, and I understand where, where people are coming from, I really do like, and I, I can understand their feeling, but it’s like, okay, I get community over competition, but there’s that, that big BUT that.
Just should be in all caps and size, like 64 font.
[00:15:21] Ashley Alderson: They’re mixed a lot. Everyone’s got a big BUT.
[00:15:24] Josh Orr: Yep. that BUT is there and it’s like, but there, there’s this girl that opened a shop across town, or this person’s doing this and they’re taking all my brands and they’re taking my social posts and their, their site looks just like mine and whatever, and let’s even assume that the person’s not off, like this person is kind of modeling from them.
We’re stealing from them, however you wanna wanna call it. Like how do you advise this person who wants to live it out? They really do. But when the rubber’s meeting the road, it’s, it’s, it’s hard. It’s not an easy decision to make.
[00:15:59] Ashley Alderson: Yeah. [00:16:00]
I have lived that. I still to a certain extent live it. There’s more.
Boutique hub knockoffs that I can even shake a stick at anymore. There’s some in particular that have been very bold about taking our content and ideas and everything about our business model and totally repurposing it. So you’re human to have those feelings. I still have those feelings sometimes, but I feel like what I’ve learned is.
I can be that Roger Banister, like I can run a lot faster when I have someone on my heels pushing me. So you have to like make sure you’re using the energy in the right way. Is it that energy? Is it making you fearful? Is it casting doubt? Or are you using the energy to go, Oh my gosh, this is gonna make me even better because I can innovate faster.
Like this is really pushing me in the right direction. So I would just advise you to think about how can you be [00:17:00] better and let them copy, let them chase you. Do everything you can to protect yourself. Get your trademarks protected, Get your DMCA so you can do a take down if you have to. Like make sure you’re protected and stand your ground for sure.
But then at the same time, just let them race with you cuz you’re gonna beat ’em every single step of the way.
[00:17:19] Josh Orr: That’s so good. And I, I think it’s worth sharing here, like to a degree like you and I have our own story in this.
[00:17:26] Ashley Alderson: Yeah.
[00:17:27] Josh Orr: And when I was on your podcast, we kind of talked about it, which if you haven’t heard that episode yeah, we’ll link it in the show notes.
I was just invited to come back on your show again, which I’m very excited about. And so once that’s out we’ll update the show notes to link to that one as well. Which as a side note, if you guys have not listened to the Boutique Boutique Chat podcast. Oh my gosh. It is like if I were to like, say like top three podcasts that a retailer should be listening to, that’s probably number one.
I would put it above my own. It’s so good. You interview so many good [00:18:00] people and Yeah. I love it.
[00:18:02] Ashley Alderson: Thank you.
[00:18:03] Josh Orr: But you and I have our own story
[00:18:04] Ashley Alderson: mm-hmm.
[00:18:05] Josh Orr: in this and I why I think it’s worth sharing is,
I wanna say this carefully. It’s really easy for someone to look at you, and I’m being honest cuz I’ve even heard this. It’s someone that e it’s easy to look at you and be like, Well, it’s easy for you to say you don’t have a boutique like I do. You’re not having to deal with this like I am. And of course there’s things behind the scenes that people aren’t seeing.
We can acknowledge the elephant in the room of like, I have a conference, I have a course, I have these pieces that are largely women’s retailers, and though like we’re kind of in our lane and we, gosh, we give shout outs to the hub and everything. And like I pushed our whole conference to the hub inventory, even though that exists from the outside, it could look like there’s some competition there.
[00:18:57] Ashley Alderson: Yeah.
[00:18:57] Josh Orr: So like what do, [00:19:00] and we could go back in that further back in that story if you want to. Yeah. Like what, what’s your, I guess like what’s the difference between manifest and the things that we’re doing and the people you talk about that are like copycat hubs and, and all of that?
[00:19:20] Ashley Alderson: Man, I just, someone once said to me, character is who you are in the dark.
And I think we all have a good read on that. Like the reason I think it’s different for you and I. is, we’ve worked hard just genuinely to be friends. Like, I genuinely care about you.
[00:19:37] Josh Orr: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:38] Ashley Alderson: when you’re like, when you’re struggling with something, I wanna help you with that. I care about your family. Like I wanna see you be successful.
But you and I have also really talked about like, Hey, here’s my lane, here’s your lane. How can they compliment one another? Like we’ve had that con, that conversation. So it makes it so much easier for us to just really be all [00:20:00] in for one another. And it’s the same thing like a boutique owner, you guys that are listening, you know, that are boutique owners, you have diverse needs, and I may sound like a broken record to you sometimes.
And so it’s refreshing to go hear it and maybe Josh frames the same lesson in a different way so that it’s easier for you to digest and, and take hold of. And maybe I do the same for him ultimately. I know Josh is a good person. and I know he wants what’s best for people and I know he feels the same about me.
So I think that’s why you and I work. And there’s others, like I know we both, like, we have others in this industry that we definitely collaborate with. But I mean, what is this saying, Fool me, wants shame on whatever like that happens. I’ll give everyone the benefit of the doubt until your character proves otherwise.
[00:20:49] Josh Orr: Mm-hmm. .
[00:20:49] Ashley Alderson: And then it’s okay to move. .
[00:20:51] Josh Orr: Yeah. Gosh, that’s powerful. And I actually to share a little, a level deeper, because I, I think [00:21:00] Ashley and I could actually be a display of a good example. So my background, and I haven’t even shared a lot of this on the podcast, but originally I was doing point of sale and like I saw Ashley and I was like, Oh my gosh, like she’s making such an impact.
And I was learning all these things at the same time. And so I started a retail initiative, was originally like it was gonna have a community element, it was gonna have a membership and it was, and it might sound a little familiar and, you know, so I launched this. With all these things and whatever.
And I get this email from Ashley, Actually, I don’t, I get this email from Beth who’s her, like, I don’t wanna say she’s your number two. She’s your number one, let’s be honest. And and it’s like, Hey, can we talk and show up in the Zoom? And then you’re there. And I’m like, Oh, sh Nikes like, Something’s up here.
But here was the cool, So first, first off, but here’s the lesson I think that we, you could learn from this and where I wanna point it out is Ashley was [00:22:00] like, you were so clear with me about like where you felt like I was copying where you felt, and at that time I kind of was. I didn’t mean to, but I definitely was.
And that’s, I think the second thing that I think that we can do is sometimes, like it’s okay to both confront and have the hard conversation and give a benefit of the doubt until the person’s character proves otherwise.
[00:22:26] Ashley Alderson: That’s it.
[00:22:26] Josh Orr: Because cuz you approached me, you were blunt. And I like, and if I’m honest, like at the time, the, the real reason was I was so in the hub and it was one of the only places I was in the retail world.
It was like the only example that I had and I didn’t have a lot of other places to pull from. And so without even meaning to, I was copying and, but when you confronted I was like, Oh my gosh. Like that’s not what I meant to do. And so we shifted a lot of what we were doing cuz because of that. And so you won, you confronted as you should have two, you gave the benefit of the doubt.
And when I [00:23:00] clarified like. and you forgave, you forgave and sin. And I realize like if we went and did it again, it’d be a different story. But it like you really displayed that in a really healthy way, and that’s something I appreciate about you. So if you’ve ever looked at like Ashley or The Hub and you’re like, that’s easy for you guys to say, like, I’ve witnessed firsthand Ashley live this out.
Kudos to you in that.
[00:23:30] Ashley Alderson: No, I thank you for that. I, I just feel like I’m the son of a, or I’m the son of a, I’m the daughter of a, a rancher. Right. I’m also a son of a, Nevermind. Sorry. Children listening.
[00:23:43] Josh Orr: hand confirm.
[00:23:44] Ashley Alderson: I am the daughter of a rancher. Yeah. Who’s number one like value in life was integrity, right?
Like that’s everything that was preached into me as a child was like, your integrity is all you have. Your word is all you have. You have to be [00:24:00] willing to do business on a handshake. Like that’s who I am. And so I think that’s why you and I work, right, is because we had that conversation. It was hard. I remember where I was when we had that conversation, but then at the end it was like, okay, shake.
Boom, done. Like your words, your word, my words, my word. Let’s move on. All’s well with the world. So for whatever that’s worth, not everyone can operate that way. Like you’ve just gotta be a good read of character and make judgment calls where you think you can and protect yourself. But then like, let the past be the past and move forward.
And I do think in the boutique industry, this is, you know, you probably see this exact same thing, Josh. When a lot of new boutiques get started, they’re like, Oh, I’m getting started because I’m gonna be like the pink Lily. Or I’m gonna be like Philly Flair. I’m gonna be another online, trendy, affordable boutique.
And then when they get around to the hub, I’m like, stop being an online, trying to affordable boutique. Like we don’t need more of those. Like the world needs what you have specifically you, cuz you’re different than the rest of [00:25:00] ’em. So what can you do to serve your customer? And so if you think about all the most successful boutiques that we know, they’re successful because they’re so incredibly unique and they bring their own flavor and their own personality and their.
Spin and their own life experience and their own education to their customers. And that’s what makes ’em just totally blow up. So there’s no, when I think about boutique success and you know, trying to be like somebody else, you can’t be your best imitation of someone else. You can only be who God made you to be.
And that’s what makes all these stores so successful is they know what it is and they lean hard.
[00:25:36] Josh Orr: Gosh, preach. That is, yeah, that is. That is probably one massive area where you and I just are so in tune because like it really is like you understand your customer, you understand your brand, and those have to be, Different and trying to be like everyone else is just never, you’re never gonna stand out.
People like, how do I stand out from the crowd? I’m like, Be you. Like [00:26:00] you’re probably a little weird.
[00:26:02] Ashley Alderson: And that’s okay!
[00:26:03] Josh Orr: Cause there’s other weird people out there and they’re gonna love you. Yeah. Okay, so I want to get into some current stuff because like, let’s just be real. I think a lot of businesses are having a difficult time.
[00:26:17] Ashley Alderson: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:17] Josh Orr: and we’re seeing shifts in the economy. Just a lot is moving in the world. You know, we’re coming outta Covid, which was supposed to be awful and it turned out to be awesome. And, but here we are and whatever. So like, what do you see going on in the world as it pertains to the retail industry right now?
[00:26:35] Ashley Alderson: Mm. A lot. So there’s good and bad, right? There’s, there’s stores that I feel. Let back up the economy that we’re in. Let’s start there. It’s real, it’s a struggle. I don’t think it’s gonna get better anytime soon. Personally. I think it’s gonna be a ways out and all the analysts I think are kind of saying the same thing.
I think we need to watch stock market trends and that says a lot. [00:27:00] However, if you look back in the last recession that we had, I always think this is interesting. Lipstick, sales lipstick. Were the highest they’ve ever been during the last recession, and that’s because it was a quick. Disposable easy access product that made women feel confident and beautiful and they could treat themselves even when the world around them was crap.
And I think that there’s a lot of people that will be looking, when groceries are expensive, all these things are expensive. They’re still gonna be looking for ways to look good, feel good, treat themselves. And so they’re gonna be looking to boutiques to do that more than they’re gonna be looking to big box stores, right?
Or anywhere else. They wanna come to you because you make them feel a certain way. So the more a store right now can lean into their customer relationships, their collections, their education, really dialing in on who their customer is and those quick [00:28:00] turn, easy feel, good products. Those things are really important because people don’t buy.
You know, products, people buy the emotion, the emotion that’s associated with the product. And people don’t do business with companies, they do business with people. So I think those are the most important things that are gonna pull you out of what’s happening. And right now there are stores that are struggling, but there’s also a lot of stores right now that are doing really well.
And it’s because I think they’ve really nailed that. Like, who is their customer and how are they serving them right now? I think inventory is probably a whole nother topic. You and I could like go down a rabbit hole on. Right now, you have to be smart with your inventory, and you cannot get stuck with a bunch of overstock.
You can’t get emotionally attached. It’s gotta be like dollar bills hanging on a hangar or dollar bills sitting in a bin, and how do I get them back in my pocket? So those ships are big. We can’t, we can’t be as inventory heavy as we once were. We’ve gotta be really lean and really smart in business and really lean into who our [00:29:00] customer is, right now.
[00:29:01] Josh Orr: I love that. So you’re saying that we shouldn’t be putting our, our, our stash in like storage units and bringing it out the next season.
[00:29:09] Ashley Alderson: Stop it. No, Stop that right now. Cause that cash in your pocket.
[00:29:13] Josh Orr: Absolutely. I, I say it joking about it, but there’s, I know, I know. So if that’s you, Don’t do that.
You can learn so much about inventory from the hub. You can talk to our mutual friends at Management one and the things that they do. So let’s, let’s take that from like the big high-level economy.
[00:29:35] Ashley Alderson: mm-hmm.
[00:29:36] Josh Orr: and like where that is right now. Like we’re going into Q4 retailers.
Neat. Even if they’re, they’re doing well. I don’t think any retailers like, ah, q4, whatever, maybe rei, but every other business is, is really leaning on Q4 to make a difference. Like what, what do you think, maybe even different from years past, but what do you think are kind of the key things to focus on [00:30:00] going into Q4 this year?
[00:30:02] Ashley Alderson: Mm. First is you gotta be early. If I’m like a big Ricky Bobby fan, right? If you ain’t first, you’re last. So when it comes to planning your collections and planning your bundles and your gifts and your merchandising and your homepage and your emails and all that stuff, you’ve gotta be really early because I think the consumer’s shopping earlier.
She’s getting deals different places a lot earlier, so I think you just have to be thoughtful, plan it out, and get your things out as early as possible. We started to push Valentine’s Day collections on inventory this week, which is wild. But I think everything has gotta go back to a lot earlier cycle and trend cycle as well.
I also would say second thing is you don’t have to compete with the big box stores. So there’s gonna be deeper discounts at big box stores this year than there ever has been because of inventory, because of the economy. You don’t have to compete with that. That’s not who you [00:31:00] are. Cheap ain’t loyal, you’re not Walmart.
Who are you? You’re the person who gives an experience. So when you’re planning out your collections and everything you’re gonna do for the fourth quarter, I would lean really hard on what’s a promotion I can run? Not what’s a sale that I can run. There’s a huge difference in that. How can I attract people to my space without selling the diamonds with the dirt?
Those are two big ones.
[00:31:24] Josh Orr: I love that. And I guess a quick thing, cuz I love Oma like Pink Friday. Yeah. If like, there’s anything you’ve done that’s so freaking cool Pink Friday. For people that aren’t aware, like what is Pink Friday and why is it important in the retail world?
[00:31:40] Ashley Alderson: Yes, so I, I love the idea when Amex first came out with Small Business Saturday, I’ve always loved it, but the one thing that always really like, I just was like, it was a pain point for me about it was it came after Black Friday, and so everyone had already spent their cash on Black Friday at these big box stores, and it was [00:32:00] like small businesses.
For this like little afterthought, right? Mm-hmm. . So Pink Friday for us is a complete flip on that. It’s always the Friday before Black Friday, always every year. And it’s not just an opportunity for you to run a promotion and to get people in the store and to celebrate, right, And to get the dollar in your pocket first.
But more than that, I really want it to be a reason for you to tell your story. This is all about customer experience, customer appreciation, sharing why you’re in business, who you serve, how you give back to the community, what your mission is. Just really lifting the veil and going behind the scenes, but also then tacking that on with your media relationships.
So, you know, I’m like a marketing brain. I love speaking marketing and PR has to be central to that. So if you can create a list of who all of your local media agencies, Local, regional, statewide, whatever. Keep in mind, I was in North Dakota, there was like one statewide newspaper and that was basically it.
So options were limited. But if you can get in contact with the media, and especially this [00:33:00] year when everything in the news is doom and gloom about how terrible the economy is, you have an opportunity to be a bright light. And say, Hey, would you like to come behind the scenes with me on Pink Friday? I just wanna show you what it’s like for small businesses right now.
Awesome. And then tell the story at their angle. And editors are looking for that. They’re busy, they’re working hard, they’re trying to find stories. And you can put yours front and center on Pink Friday.
[00:33:22] Josh Orr: My gosh, I love it. And so if you don’t know about it and you are interested, we’ll put the link to Pink Friday and all the details around signing up for it and how to get started.
Like you guys put so many resources out there. Gosh, the things that are available with the hub, like the holiday marketing masterclass, the all the Pink Friday resources, the free education or not, or, or at least what’s available to members is
[00:33:47] Ashley Alderson: Yeah.
[00:33:47] Josh Orr: Unbelievable. Like I’ve, I, like I tune in still and like seeing the lives in the last few weeks have been awesome.
Like you guys are putting out like honestly what people are charging for like huge courses like y’all put [00:34:00] out as like just Facebook Lives , which is crazy. Okay, this has been so good. And I think you’ve given a lot of insight and I hope that it’s been inspiring for people before we go. When we were, and I was on your podcast last, you gave me rapid fire questions and honestly like I was like, Eh, I don’t know.
I don’t know. I think maybe I was nervous. Who knows? . So I have a few questions that I wanna ask you. They’re not too embarrassing. Don’t worry. None of them are really embarrassing. So here’s the first one.
[00:34:28] Ashley Alderson: I’m embarra myself. I dunno. Let’s hear it.
[00:34:30] Josh Orr: I mean, give you five minutes. Okay. All right. First, what’s an unpopular fashion opinion that you have?
[00:34:37] Ashley Alderson: Crox,
I mean, It’s like once you try ’em, your life has changed forever. I originally started them as like garden shoes. Like I’ll just wear these out and then one day I’ve myself going to Walmart wearing CROs and I was like, Look it, I fit right in. This is amazing, they’re comfortable.
[00:34:55] Josh Orr: Oh my gosh. I love it. All right.
[00:34:57] Ashley Alderson: Can I tell you a CRO story quick?
We took this [00:35:00] picture. We had a team retreat at our house. We took this picture holding this like ink magazine cuz we’d made the ink 500. We made 1 64 that year. It was like amazing feat, right? We’re gonna take this team picture. If you look at the team picture, I don’t know what I was thinking. I was wearing green Nike sweatpants and black CROs
[00:35:20] Josh Orr: Right. So what is a book that has been just super impactful for you, that you’re like, every business owner needs to read this book.
[00:35:31] Ashley Alderson: Hm.
Oh, okay. Two different periods of my life. First book that ever I ever read about mindset.
Actually, Eric, like someone on an airplane told Eric about the book’s A secret. So I feel like that’s the foundation for everything. But then later on, I think that every high school kid should be required to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I think that’s a really important one. Mm-hmm. about money, mindset.
[00:35:59] Josh Orr: Oh [00:36:00] my gosh, I, Well, I love both of those books.
I mean, you and I share, like, I think we’re both a little woo woo when it comes to Stuck. I love Think and Grow Rich and Napoleon Hill, but I think like those, that and The Secret are just kinda like two sides of the exact same coin in so many ways. And Rich Dad, Poor Dad
[00:36:20] Ashley Alderson: classic.
[00:36:21] Josh Orr: Honestly, where I would recommend it is two sides is like, I grew up like poor, like actual poor.
[00:36:29] Ashley Alderson: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:29] Josh Orr: and the, the mindset that I had about money, it was so backwards and I just didn’t even know it. And so one, it’s helped as an entrepreneur, but where it’s really helped in ways that I didn’t, didn’t know that it would, is as a dad, like
[00:36:46] Ashley Alderson: mm-hmm.
[00:36:46] Josh Orr: the ways that I can talk to my kids about money now, is so different.
Like I don’t talk to my kids about going like, Let’s go to college so you can go get a job. Maybe they will, and if that’s the path they take, like [00:37:00] by all means. Yeah. But I don’t wanna assume that that’s the case.
[00:37:04] Ashley Alderson: No, I totally agree. I totally agree. I grew up feeling like money was the root of all. , you know, like that was the whole mantra and that yeah, college was the only way to success.
I absolutely disagree with that now. So it’s definitely like changing for multiple generations.
[00:37:24] Josh Orr: Yeah. Not it’s to like go on a side thing, but I remember like, cuz I grew up in a, like a really large Baptist church that was like pretty affluent. Which I’m actually really glad that I grew up in cause.
A lot of my demeanor in that came from that side of my upbringing. But I remember when I would talk about family, like my friends houses and all that stuff to my mom, my mom would always be like, We don’t know what kind of debt they’re in. And it like immediate, as soon as I talked with nice things, it was always associated with debt.
There was never a, they worked for it. Their success, like they must have worked really hard. Like they’re really blessed. It was [00:38:00] never that. It was always that, and there was just so much shifting that had to happen. Okay. What is a piece of fashion that you just cannot wait to come back?
[00:38:13] Ashley Alderson: Oh. Hmm.
[00:38:16] Josh Orr: Like clearly not out now, out now, but you’re just like, Ooh, come back.
[00:38:22] Ashley Alderson: Hmm. I’m gonna think about.
I mean, I feel like boot cut jeans, I was really excited about them coming back. So it’s, that’s happening now. I will say the thing I never ever want to come back is low rise jeans, cuz, I mean muffin top, like, let’s be honest. And Chevron, I never want to come back again cuz that lasted way too long.
[00:38:50] Josh Orr: O Chevron. Yeah.
[00:38:52] Ashley Alderson: Yeah.
I don’t know. Otherwise, like, I feel like every trend does make, its like seventies, [00:39:00] eighties. I love that nineties grunge is back that I’m kind of over it now. I can’t say that I can nail down one other one specifically. It’s gonna come back to me in the middle of the night now.
[00:39:08] Josh Orr: I love it. For me, it’s bootcut jeans.
And I was excited cause I got to go to a two thousands party and I got to pull out my old diesel jeans.
[00:39:19] Ashley Alderson: Oh my gosh. Did you?
[00:39:20] Josh Orr: And I was so ecstatic. Cause those are, to this day, like I’ve kept them because I’m like, they’re coming back and I, it’s my life goal to just keep fitting in them. If I can keep that going on, like I wanna be so happy.
[00:39:33] Ashley Alderson: That’s so lucky. Did you have like OSes, do you remember those at the time? Or like gto, you remember Janko jeans?
[00:39:40] Josh Orr: I called them Gene Co. But Gene, like the huge ones?
[00:39:44] Ashley Alderson: Yeah. Yeah. Like the,
[00:39:45] Josh Orr: Oh no, my mom wouldn’t let me.
[00:39:46] Ashley Alderson: Was like down to the back of your knees. .
[00:39:49] Josh Orr: Oh my gosh. For me, I, Well, you and I are the same age.
Like that was middle school.
[00:39:53] Ashley Alderson: Yeah.
[00:39:54] Josh Orr: But I loved it. Okay, so when a retailer comes to you and [00:40:00] they are just like, I real, I’m serious about leveling up and I’m gonna listen to you, I’m gonna do whatever you say, What’s the one thing that you say, like, start here.
[00:40:11] Ashley Alderson: Mm. They don’t want to hear this, but it has to start with them.
It has to start with how they’re attacking their, their to-do list and their time. So I always go, like most of our courses and high level things, like we seriously go back to the four part to-do list. So what are you doing every single week? That has to be. Like clockwork, right? So that we can batch it, we can ca create theme days.
We can optimize your team around list number one. List number two is what are my big rocks this week? So what’s the 20% of my list that’s gonna get me 80% of the results? Or in other words, what is an income generating activity that you’re working on? Mm-hmm. list number three is what comes later. So next week, next month, next year.
It’s not just on my running to-do [00:41:00] list, cuz that’s like never ending, right? It’s a song that never ends. And then the fourth list is, what can I say no to an outsource? And to me that one’s the most important because most retailers that want to level up and scale, they’re control freaks. and I am too. And we’re just like the bottlenecks of our business trying to hang on and do all the things, but you can’t scale.
You have to shift. And this is what the four part to do list does for me is it shifts you from entrepreneur mindset to CEO mindset. So from hustling, DIYing, saving my way forward. Kinda like that college mentality, right? Shifting that to CEO mindset, where
[00:41:38] Josh Orr: mm-hmm.
[00:41:39] Ashley Alderson: money is not the ultimate goal. Time is, and the only way to create more time, because that’s the only thing limited in the world.
Money’s mnt. Time is not. So in order to create more money, we have to create more time. In order to create more time, we have to invest money and outsource. So to me, that’s where scaling starts.
[00:41:57] Josh Orr: is so powerful. Okay. Well, Ashley, thank you for being here. It’s been a pleasure. My last question for people that are not in your world but are, are like, Oh my gosh is Ashley, a girl is brilliant.
Where do people start with you? Like if they’re gonna go somewhere right now, where do you want them to go? To learn more about the hub, to learn more about what you’re doing.
[00:42:21] Ashley Alderson: Yes, So the boutique.com is the home to everything. You’re gonna find everything you need to know about growing your business on the hub, but if you really wanna get a flavor for who we are and kind of like the more fun, kitschy things, our Instagram’s amazing.
I would say our meme game for retailers is a 10 out of 10. It’s really good. So go to the Boutique Hub on Instagram if you want a good laugh. Inspiration on the Daily, completely for free. And then if you feel so inclined to learn more, definitely go to the boutique.com or if you wanna see, you know, daily videos of cats, children, horses, goats, Lord knows, whatever other shenanigans I’ll get myself into.
That’s my [00:43:00] personal Instagram and it’s a j Alderson.
[00:43:03] Josh Orr: Awesome. Well, Ashley, thanks for joining me today. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you, and obviously being your friend is incredible, so thanks for being here and. To the rest of you, I will see you next week.
[00:43:17] Ashley Alderson: I appreciate you, Josh. Thank you.
[00:43:18] Josh Orr: Hey, before you go, I, I hope this episode was valuable for you, but if you’re wanting more, if you’re interested in finally gaining traction online and getting off of the hamster wheel of feeling so busy, but not getting the results that you’re after, we put together a free training, where we dive into the exact system that we have used to create scalable rapid growth in the e-commerce sites for brick and mortar retailers.
You can get this training, a streamlineretail.com/podcast. Check it out. Let me know what you think. Can’t wait to see you in our next episode. Thanks for tuning in.