Project description

Business Owner: Ally Martin
Business: Wanderlust Boutique
Location: Rochester, Michigan

Meet Ally Martin
Ever since Ally Martin can remember, fashion has always been a passion in her life. At a young age, she knew that she wanted to own her own clothing boutique and nothing was going to stop her from fulfilling her dream. She mapped out a plan to successfully start her business and dove right in. Ally obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Marketing at the Art Institute of Phoenix. From researching markets to learning business financials, Ally opened herself up to learning everything she could on how to run a business. While other classmates created fake businesses to work on, Ally took her time in college to focus her assignments on her future clothing boutique. She took every class very seriously and as a result, it led her to have great success prior to opening her business. Ally said, “I am a dreamer. I have goals and I won’t stop until I achieve them. Due to all my hard work, I ended up winning “Best Portfolio” when we had our businesses displayed at the Phoenix Art Museum. After graduating in March of 2013, I moved back to Michigan and signed a lease in downtown Rochester, Michigan and opened my doors in October of 2013.”

Mother Daughter Partnership
Ally’s mother Denise has always supported the dream of her daughter. Since day one she has encouraged her to never stop seeking knowledge and to take advantage of every opportunity possible. Upon Ally’s college graduation, Denise invested the initial capital needed for her daughter to open up her dream clothing shop. Today they both work hard together to make Wanderlust the best clothing boutique in all of Michigan. Denise helps run the behind the scenes work of book keeping and buying product in Italy for the Wanderlust boutique and Ally focuses her time on the social media and marketing of the business.  “This was all by the help of my mother. My mother has dedicated her life to her children and will do what she can to bring life to her children’s dreams.”

One of the greatest challenges Ally has faced since opening Wanderlust’s doors, is controlling the uncontrolled. Weather and construction outside of your store location can cause stress for any business owner. Obstacles such as this can result in low foot traffic which can greatly affect any shop’s sales. As much of a challenge as this can be, Ally has learned to be strategic when obstacles present themselves. “I make sure to always plan ahead. I strategize ways to pull in more business. Incentives for my customers are great ways to drive results and to bring my customers into the store. Even if they have to walk far, I make sure their shopping experience is worthwhile.”

Business Growth
Since doors have opened in 2013, Wanderlust Boutique is growing daily. Ally learns everyday and recognizes a need. She not only wants to quench the thirst for all the female fashionistas, she has recently launched her first ever men’s clothing line. “It is a smaller portion of our store but we are seeing where that can take us as well. I want to be able to cater to all of my fashionable and trendy individuals, not just women. So that is why we launched that line!”

When times get tough, Ally reminds herself of her dream and her decision to never give up. She encourages others who are looking to start their own business to not give up and to stay focused on your goals.

“Owning my own business benefits my own life because I am my own boss. I enjoy being able to make my own hours, work from home and really run a business how I want to. When challenges arise, I just look back to the beginning. I have always wanted this, I am not going to give up now when I have my doors open! I am going to strive to be better everyday, until I am as successful as I feel I need to be. When you are focused and persevere through the hard times that every business owner will encounter, success will follow.”