It truly does take courage and creativity to own a small business and we want to take this time to shine some light on some of the fantastic vendors that will be be featured at the June 2nd market.
Learn more about Sarah Melson, owner of Shop Sarah Louise. Her amazing products can be found at the WestSide Market on June 2nd from 10-4PM.
Shop Sarah Louise
Business: Shop Sarah Louise
Owner: Sarah Melson
Product: Women's Clothing & Accessories
Tell us about your business, how did you get started?
I have always known I wanted to own my own boutique. I have been plus-size for as long as I can remember. It has always been difficult for me to find pieces that fit, spoke to my personal style, were in my price range, and came from a place I could feel good about shopping. As I got older, I realized that this problem does not solely belong to the plus-size women of the world, but every woman. That is exactly why I wanted to create a culture of size-inclusivity and affordability. I want to make absolutely certain that the items you leave my shop with are items you love, will wear for years, and can wear in hundreds of different ways. Women are so incredible. We literally have the ability to grow life in our bodies. We manage about five thousand things in our lives, all while loving those closest to us so much it hurts. I do my best to create a space where women can come and feel as beautiful as they are. Life is hard, getting dressed shouldn't be.
How long have you been in business?
Right before Christmas 2017, when my office was nearly empty, a co-worker of mine told me that I was meant for so much more than what I was doing. Obviously, I started to tear up. It felt like the sign I needed from the universe that it was just time to make my dream happen. The very next day I went to GoDaddy.com and purchased my domain and have been slowly building my inventory since.
What makes your product/business unique?
In the fashion industry, there is a culture of thin and perfect. Even stores that claim to be plus-size only use models who barely qualify as such, to maintain that image. Shop Sarah Louise is unique because our focus is bigger than the sale. My main concern with every single woman I work with is making sure she feels amazing, and showing her how she can take one item that fits great and wear it several different ways so she always has that boost of confidence. Another extremely important piece of our business is our focus on environmental sustainability. We use 100% recycled materials in all of our shipping and packaging. We encourage Capsule Wardrobe principles - meaning you buy better items less often. The idea of owning fewer items reduces factory output, which reduces the amount of toxic chemicals those factories emit into the environment. We also stock products that align with our eco-friendly, zero-waste principles such as out Hyggelight Candles. The label of these candles are imbedded with wildflower seeds so when you're finished enjoying your candle, you can clean it out, soak the paper label in water, then plant it in the candle jar. It's genius.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I have a deep love of the city of Cincinnati - it's highly underrated in my opinion. I get some inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram but most of it comes from this city. Everything from the beautiful murals scattered throughout the different neighborhoods to the crazy weather we have is an inspiration.
What would you tell someone who wants to start their own business?
This seems so obvious but JUST DO IT! It feels so overwhelming but start small. Focus on one thing at a time. Connect with friends, family, co-workers, etc. then slowly grow as you can. Your future self will thank you for it.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
In 5 years, I hope to have left my "day-job" and have a brick-and-mortar store. Shop Sarah Louise is my dream and I want to share it with as many women as I can.
Come meet Sarah and check out all of her products and accessories at the WestSide Market this summer.