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A New Milestone

Tomorrow marks my official 6 months of blogging!!  That means, 6 months ago this evening I was sitting in my office wondering how I was going to do this thing!  While my dear husband was researching and price comparing cameras, I was deciding on a name and prepping my first few posts!!  It was a very crazy time!!  Demure had just started to take off, it was the last day I guaranteed orders to arrive by Christmas Day, and I was crazy busy!!  But for some unknown reason, I wanted more...  I was tired of other bloggers not giving their ALL when promoting Demure, and I knew that I could do better, be different!!  I was a small business owner myself, and I felt like I knew how to best serve all the small businesses out there!!!  And the truth is, Demure's merchandise is not the only clothing I like.... I love it all!!  So, I want to talk about it all!!!

I call this piece of art "Balancing Act" **in a very serious voice**  HAHAHAAA Sometimes I make Blake's job very hard!! :)

I call this piece of art "Balancing Act" **in a very serious voice**  HAHAHAAA Sometimes I make Blake's job very hard!! :)

I had been thinking on a name for about a month at that point... You know, people ask me all the time why "A Demure Life"?  And I can't even believe I haven't shared that, out loud, to all of you as a whole yet...  For those of you that don't know (well, the first paragraph hinted at it) I have a boutique called "Demure"!  Its my 3-year-old baby, that I've put A LOT of time and money into!!  Blake came up with the name for my store, and I love it so much!!! I also happen to have a rental property company called "Demure Properties"...

So, essentially... This IS my Demure life!!  But, *MY* Demure Life sounded somewhat snotty and awful!!  So I went with *A* Demure Life!!  

When I think about all my businesses being named the same way, it makes me laugh because it gives me some sort of small hope that I might one day be as successful as Joanna Gaines: She has Magnolia Market, Magnolia Farms, Magnolia Reality, Magnolia Journal, etc!  She's built an empire, and one day I will too!!! ;)  Wish me luck in all my crazy dreams and aspirations LOL!  

So here's the details of my look!  These linen pants are FANTASTIC!!  I told you all about the white pair I also bought while Blake and I were at the beach, on Saturday's blog post!  I bought a size 6 in the white, because, well, they're white (I'm sure all you ladies understand)!  But I bought these patterned cuties in my usual size 4!  They are linen, so they do wrinkle, but I think thats the best part about this fun pattern.... You totally CAN NOT tell!!!  They also have a great draw string waste, and cute cuff detail at the bottom hem!  I am 5' 7" and this is the length they are on me with just the 1 cuff they come with!  And you can find them HERE for the fantastic price of $64.50!  I don't know how many of you have purchased quality linen pants in the past, but these are a good deal (just in case you missed that from Sayurday night's blog post)!

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This exact top is from 2 years ago so it has sold out, but the one HERE ($28) is very similar, the one HERE is very preppy (nice and collared like I like), and this one HERE is the one I wish I had to wear with these pants, and is only $24.99!!!! OMGeeee

These wedges are my favorites for the Summer!  If you follow me on any form of Social Media, you are probably sick of seeing them by now!!  But they have just been restocked in all sizes, and now come in 2 more colors than before!!!  Find them for just $59.95 HERE!

This awesome Cleopatra-style, gold, bib necklace is from my own shop, and there is ONLY 1 LEFT!!  So hurry and grab it for yourself if its something you want!!  Get it HERE for just $18!

That's it for tonight ladies!  I hope you all liked this casual, everyday look at much as I do!!  Feel free to drop me a comment of what you'd like to see more of!!  And thank you all from the bottom of my heart, for coming along with me on this journey for as long as you have!!  I hope we make it another successful 6 months together!!  Can't wait to see where we are in December!!  

Love you all, XOXO

- Rachel

H & M Finds

Y'all I just shopped at H & M for the first time in Charlotte for my birthday... Can you believe it, I was 26 years old before I had ever purchased anything from there!!  Well, actually, I didn't purchase anything on that exact trip, but I came home, convinced that that couldn't have been all the merchandise they had to offer, and proceeded to look online... AND BOY WAS I RIGHT {I love being right}!!!

So, even though I didn't really love my in-store experience, I REALLY loved my online one!!  I purchased both of these tops via hm.com, and I received them within 4 days!!  BONUS: I typically wear a small in tops, but I got this pink peplum shirt in an XS **Woot Woot**!!!  And then I got the cropped, lace top in a small, like I normally would!  They fit very well!!  

You can grab this top  HERE

You can grab this top HERE

You may be a little suspicious of the pink peplum top because it was only $17.99, but it is truly made very well!! The shirt part is a soft knit, and the peplum is a cotton blend.  LOVE IT!!  So hurry and snag yours because sizes are going fast!!  And OMG they have it in orange now too!!!

You can grab these heels  HERE

You can grab these heels HERE

And then I got this lace, cropped top!!  I am head-over-heels in love with high-waisted pants, as you all probably know already... So I've been trying out different cropped tops to compliment them recently.  I usually dress pretty modestly, so it is a huge step for me to embrace the cropped top trend!!  I still do not like my actual belly button to show, but a little mid-riff has been alright!!  I actually went out in public for a nice dinner with the hubs in this, and I can honestly say, I wasn't that uncomfortable!!  Plus, it helped that the lace detail on this top is quite elegant!!

You can grab this top  HERE

You can grab this top HERE

This one was only $24.99 and I got free shipping!!  So, all-in-all, 2 tops delivered to my house for under $45!!  What!?  Thats a steal!!  I am definitely a new fan of H & M (online)!!  Y'all should definitely give them a try as well too!!

XOXO

- Rachel

My Baby is THREE

Y'all, Demure is THREE YEARS OLD TODAY!!!  

That boutique of mine has been quite a work in progress!!  Owning a boutique is like laundry... Nothing's ever really quite done!!

Ever since starting this blog, and having another platform from which to tell people about Demure, I've actually gotten more questions about how to open a boutique than I have about how to start a blog LOL!!  I'm not sure why that is, because really, in its infancy, A Demure Life would be considered more successful than Demure was at the same amount of time...  But that's ok, I've learned a whole lot in the past 3 years {which is mostly why A Demure Life has found quicker success} and I'm totally willing to share the facts of "how to start a business" with you!!

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First things first - I will assume you have already thought out your plan, consulted someone older and wiser {and maybe even an expert in the field}, and have researched the particulars of your business so that the general how-to's here will makes since!  And just so you know, I didn't write a formal business plan until I had already been in business for 2 years, because my business was constantly evolving into what it was going to become, and I just didn't know for sure yet what EXACTLY I wanted it to be...  So, here's were to begin:

1.  Claim Your Name:  I did this by forming an LLC... A Limited Liability Corporation... Which protects you and your personal finances from being entangled in any potential lawsuit or bankruptcy!  This is done at your state's Secretary of State's office, and costs $110 {at least that's what it costs in SC}.  Before driving down to do it though, you should check their website and make sure that the name you want your company to have has not already been taken!!

2.  Once you officially have a company created, you will then need to apply for an EIN number!  This is basically your company's social security number, and its used for banking and tax purposes!  It also goes along with protecting yourself and personal finances!!  Plus, its done all online at irs.gov {P.S. I tried to do this too soon after having changed my name after Blake and I got married, and it was a TOTALY NIGHTMARE, but for you it should only take 24 hours MAX}.

3.  You will then use your new EIN number to go file for your business license!  This is done at your state's Department of Revenue and it costs $50 {at least that's what it costs in SC}  While you are already there, go ahead and sign up for a "paying your sales tax" class and get a couple copies of the "sales tax exemption" forms {because some wholesalers request to keep one on file, so you'll want to have multiple}.

4.  Next, go start your company checking account!  I went the traditional bank route first and got charged fees far too often for not being able to keep the minimum balance in my account and it ended up ending badly... So, please learn form my mistake and start your business checking account with a Credit Union!  I'm talking the difference between starting up your checking account with $200 and $25, respectively!!  There my be other banks out there that do things a little differently, but at my bank, business accounts are treated very differently than personal accounts, and $200 was just not something I could keep in my account at all times to avoid a fee (and still can't)!!  Please remember to start your bank account using your EIN number instead of your own personal Social Security Number - PROTECT YOURSELF!

5.  So now, this is where the majority of my questions start, but you have to go through all of those steps before this one is even possible, but most people don't even know 1-4 even exist!  The number 1 question I am asked: "Where do you get your merchandise?"  And the answer is: "I buy my merchandise from various wholesalers!"  But the reason all those other steps are necessary first is because you can not buy from a wholesaler without the Retail (business) License!  That would be illegal because wholesalers don't charge tax {the reason for the tax exemption form} so you have to be buying it with the purpose of reselling it {and charging sales tax at the point of sale} in order for it all to be legal!!

6.  Then, the follow-up question usually is: "Well, which wholesalers do you purchase from?"  And my answer to that is very simple:  I have 2 favorites, though I have purchased from many others!  I buy mostly from The Lookbook Wholesale based out of L.A. and Miss B, a small wholesaler based out of Atlanta, GA in America's Mart, to which I will be going in person in August and I am SO EXCITED!!  You can google search wholesalers and hundreds will pop up!  You will then just have to choose your favorites!!  Make sure to check where their warehouse vs. their headquarters is because I get charged a $4.99 fee every time I order from one particular wholesaler... They have a warehouse in New Jersey, so you get your merchandise pretty quickly!  However, they are based out of France, so the charge is an international one, and most banks/credit unions charge a fee for international purchases!

7.  Next, you need a platform on which to sell these products you have now purchased!  A website of any kind will do if you market it correctly!  Etsy works for some (though I didn't like selling through them much), and I know of one VERY SUCCESSFUL boutique that sells via Instagram exclusively!!  As long as you have a way of getting your merchandise in front of the eyes of your target market, you can succeed!!  I personally use Squarespace for both ADL and Demure!  I love how user friendly it is, how great the customer service/tech support is, and honestly, they are just really pretty sites {very stream-lined, which is something I value}!!

8. Advertise and Market yourself like CRAZY!!!  Social Media is truly, very important to this!  And I would like to say that all you blogger babes reading this already have an advantage that I didn't have!!  3 years ago Instagram was JUST taking off as such a valuable resource for marketing!!  But I was so slow to the game... I didn't even start an Instagram for Demure until I was 8 months in!!  And then, after that it took me SOOO long to catch on to how it worked, how to make it work for me, and honestly, I would sometimes go a whole month without posting!!  I only had 400 followers on Demure's Instagram page until November 2016... I've tripled that number since then - in just 6 months I've tripled the number of followers that I had gotten in the previous 2 years combined!!  It makes me so sad really, when I think back on it...  I don't even know how much farther I would have gotten had I truly understood the importance of the social media influence when I first started... But I was also probably too young to have started a business then, so God has me right where He wants me right now!!!

Ok ladies, this post is already too long as it is!  I will stop here for now, but PLEASE leave your questions below!!  There is really an infinite amount of stuff I could tell you, but it would be so much easier for me to continue this in a series if I have exact questions to answer, so I could condense my thought into what is relevant to y'all, specifically!!

I hope you've enjoyed reading what I've had to say so far!  And I look forward to reading and answering your questions!!!

XOXO - Rachel

P.S. To celebrate being in business for 3 years, I am holding an Anniversary Sale - 40% off your entire purchase!!  Use code: HAPPY3RD at checkout to receive it at http://www.mydemure.com 

Casual Romper for the WIN

Hey Ladies!  I have a great one for you this week!!  A fabulous romper from LOFT that I bought on my birthday shopping trip to Charlotte 2 weekends ago :)

Y'all this romper speaks for itself!!

Its so comfy that almost nothing else matters LOL!!

But, of course, more things do matter, so here are my thoughts:

1. Have I mentioned that IT IS SO COMFORTABLE!!?  Literally like wearing pajamas people!! 

2. The back is incredibly cute!  I mean, who doesn't love a good back detail!?  It adds character without trying too hard :)

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3. I was able to go down a size! **Way to make a girl feel good LOFT** I bought an Extra Small instead of the Small that I usually wear at LOFT!

4. And honestly, the way its designed (mostly because of the back) it could be worn with flip-flops (obviously) but you could also put on a statement necklace and some wedges and wear it out to a nicer restaurant!!

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But now-a-days, the world just loves to put in as little effort looks-wise as possible - they just throw something on and go... And this romper is the perfect compromise to that!!  Its cute AND takes very little effort to be so!!

I do need to note that this romper is Lou & Grey (the more expensive side of Loft) and that even though Loft constantly does 40% off sales, this romper will rarely, if ever, be included  **I'm frowning as I type this**

BUT ITS SO WORTH PAYING FULL PRICE!!! (I did)  Its $69.50 and you can get it HERE

Wedges - HERE ($29.99)

Necklace - HERE ($21)

Have a great Sunday Funday Ladies!!