As the amazing Carrie Bradshaw once said “I like my money where I can see it- hanging in my closet”.
Have you ever loved something and wished you could turn it into a career? Something where you could work from home? Well this Alabama girl, Mandy Lenfestey, did just that! A love for shopping plus a desire to bring in some extra money with the ability to balance family while working from home.
Mandy started working at Southgate Children’s Academy as a teacher when her oldest son was around 8 weeks old. During her 7 years there she transitioned from teacher to Assistant Director to Director. Then in December 2012, while she was the Director at Southgate Children’s Academy she decided to take her love of shopping and make it into a small business. She prayed over this idea and then with a good bit of faith she jumped in feet first! At this point in Mandy’s life she was a mother to two beautiful boys but didn’t think a girl would ever be in the cards for her. So, she named her business exactly what she would have wanted to name a little girl, Hadley Rae. She felt this name was perfect- it was girly, memorable and cute. Mandy started this with the goal to bring in some extra money and offer clothing to friends at discount. Her mission was to have clothing that was affordable and flattering without having to go to the mall. Mandy started off by making her hallway coat closet into her Hadley Rae Boutique. She said her friends were coming to shop from her coat closet and she loved it! After 8 months of starting Hadley Rae Boutique she quit her job at Southgate Children’s Academy to focus on her business. As her dream became her full-time job she started doing about 10-12 in-home trunk shows per month and her business grew from word of mouth. She said this was a great way for her to meet people and allow her to grow within the community. Facebook was another social media growth place for Hadley Rae especially in the beginning. Every Sunday Mandy would post her new clothing options in albums on Facebook and she would sell out of everything. The social media outlet helped her spread Hadley Rae from family and friends to customers all over the US.
Hadley Rae took off quickly and spread its wings as an online boutique. Women are always looking and needing easy ways to find cute, affordable clothing options. Being able to shop from Facebook was a hit! With Hadley Rae’s continued growth in social media Mandy decided it was time to start a website for her business which launched in 2014. She continues to offer her clothing with free shipping plus it ships out almost same day and includes a note from her with a bible verse.
So where do the women’s clothing items come from? Mandy goes to market in Atlanta to pick out her items to carry for her boutique. All the items that Mandy picks she wears herself. She quickly figured out that her main customer was like her; female and between the age of 25-45. She used the stock photos for her items for a while and then she branched into unfamiliar territory. She decided to model the clothes herself. She admits this isn’t something she is a natural at but she thinks it is more relatable for her customers. She said “it’s easier for women to relate looking at me in the clothing instead of a teen modeling them”. She has hired a photographer and once a week they get together to shoot the clothing. As of 2016, Hadley Rae Boutique can also be found in Fireflies Boutique in Spring Hill as well as The Faded Farmhouse in Columbia.
She gives her business 100% and says it is a true labor of love. Then in the Spring of 2015 she and her husband got the news they were expecting a third child which happen to be a… GIRL! When she had her daughter, Hadley Kate, Mandy did not slow down! She branded her own kids line of clothing for girls which launched in January of 2016. These girly clothes are affordable, soft, and come in sizes 12 months to 8 years. The items are in the $20 range and can also be monogrammed. Who doesn’t love a monogram!?
When we asked Mandy her top 3 style tips for this year she said the Piko dresses, florals, and off the shoulder tops. Hadley Rae Boutique’s Piko dresses are priced between $29-$31, they come in sizes small to large, and can be found in all sleeve lengths. They come in various colors too! These dresses are so soft that make you want to live in them. These are just easy basics to dress up or down plus you always need more than one in your closet. Mandy loves the florals too because they are so on trend this year. Floral prints are hot right now and it doesn’t matter if they are big or small prints which means your closet can have various floral options. Off the shoulder is also big on trend this year and Hadley Rae has some great options for busy woman that are perfect!
Currently, Hadley Rae has grown to over 20 thousand followers on Facebook and over 4 thousand on Instagram. She is still shooting for the stars and setting goals every year for her business. She loves her labor of love and can’t wait to continue to watch her online boutique grow. Mandy’s tips if you are going to start a business do your research and educate yourself first. Also, no matter what you are doing “wear what makes you feel beautiful and comfortable”. She loves to hear from customers especially when she gets to hear how the clothes from Hadley Rae have helped them feel beautiful and confident without breaking the bank.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
Preferred Photographer Photo Credit: Rebecca M Photography