What is it like to be a modern woman on a mission and what do you get for the modern woman on a mission in your world? Melanie Hernquist, Atlanta native, is here to help answer these questions, talk social media and Etsy, and share about the expectations and joys of being a mother and a business owner.
Tell us a little bit about your product.
We offer joyful, colorful, and inspiring graphic T-shirts, stationary, greeting cards, coffee mugs, and personalized items. I like to say we have gifts for the modern
woman on a mission. That’s kind of our little thing. We have a personalization shop where you can order makeup bags, tumblers, stationary and notebooks. Different things that you might want for your office, yourself, or a gal that you might know that is just kind of crushing it in life. We also offer a little assortment of jewelry, just because I believe that a modern woman's go-to outfit is probably a graphic tee and a cute pair of statement earrings.
How did you decide on the name Lucky + Lovely?
I came up with the name because I owned a stationery shop in Pasadena, California that was called Lucky Papery. We did wedding stationery and gift wrapping, cards, books, and all kinds of cute things. So when I came back here to Atlanta, I didn’t want to name my store Lucky Papery because I knew I wanted to make it more of a general brand. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do. Then Sarah Jessica Parker came out with a perfume called “Lovely” — I love Sarah Jessica Parker, and I was like ‘Aw, that’ll be cute to put together.’ So that's literally how I came up with the name Lucky + Lovely.
Do your customers send you pictures or leave reviews?
Well, reviews not so much, although I would like that. But there are a lot of social shares. We will encourage customers to share on their social media and then tag us, and that's when we are able to see the different configurations and things they're putting together. They get very creative! They’re better at it than I am, and I’m a designer! It’s fun to see that stuff.
Before Melanie launched Lucky and Lovely, she worked as a graphic designer specializing in brand identities and websites for female entrepreneurs. She started making T-shirts around 2016 before officially opening Lucky + Lovely in 2018. She started with Etsy.
Tell us about your Etsy and Shopify experience.
Etsy was fine. It’s a marketplace, as you know, so it didn’t allow me to stand out as a brand, but it's great for attracting traffic. And it’s gotten worlds better now that you can have ads and stuff. But I knew that once I discovered Shopify, it made sense to move my store from Etsy to Shopify because it’s a standalone site. I mean, nothing against Etsy! I do love Etsy because it’s an easy entry point where anyone can just start selling anything, to make their own business as a side hustler and then turn it into their own creative career.
How does social media factor into your business?
I mean, that's how I sell everything and connect with new customers. Most of our trafficking customers and sales come from Instagram and Facebook, and I just started a TikTok, so we will see what happens with that. I just put one video up there, and I’m like, ‘I don’t even know what I should say, should I be salesy or whatever?’ Haha, so I’ll just keep playing with it until I get a groove. You know, you just have to stay current on marketing strategies that are working and converting for other stores and boutiques.”
Melanie started her business in her home, and she found Saltbox through social media. Lucky + Lovely started in an office, but Melanie has recently moved into a warehouse suite.
How has your experience been here at Saltbox?
I mean, it's been great because I have room to stretch out and have fulfillment come and work and fulfill orders. It’s a great space, it's vibrant, full of energy, and great help with you guys, so yeah, it has helped tremendously for sure. It’s nice to have a separate space where my kids can't mess with everything.
What’s it like being a parent and a small business owner?
As a mom and a business owner, you have a lot to juggle. Some days can feel like, ‘Ooo yeah, crushed it!’ And some days you're like, ‘I just want to lay here with a cup of coffee and read a book.’ As women who are mothers and wives, society expects you to do a lot of things that are unrealistic — there’s not enough time in the day to get your kids together, get them to school, get yourself together, work out, be hydrated, moisturize, drop it like it’s hot, come to work, you know. Build a successful business, get a million dollars, then go home, cook healthy, and keep them off screens. No. It's a lot of expectations, so it's hard… But it’s mostly fun and fine. My kids like seeing that their mom is independent, successful, and creative. My son is like, “Mom, you’re such a good designer!” They’re very protective of me and the shop, and they like to wear the things that I create. I make things for them all the time, and that's cute for them too.
Any words of wisdom for someone wanting to start a business?
Hahaha. I’m a hot mess, uhhh no. Well, I always get asked this for different things, but I would just say go for it and don’t be overthinking every little aspect of sh*t. You have the internet and you have so many resources and tools — Google, Youtube, and Reddit are your best friends. I wouldn't worry too much about being perfect and making every single solitary thing perfect, but just launch with one thing and then build on it from there. I totally didn’t think, ‘Oh, I want to have all of these things that I have now,’ I just thought, ‘Oh, well, people want T-shirts and mugs, so let's just start with that.’ And I just kept adding. So just go for it. Just give yourself permission to try.
Check out Lucky + Lovely on their website, Luckyandlovely.com, and on TikTok and Facebook at Luckyandlovelyshop.
For more stories about small business owners making waves in their communities, follow Saltbox on Instagram: @joinsaltbox
Pictures by Hannah Lozano
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