104 | Turning a Hobby Business Into a Thriving Retail Shop with Audrey Woollen, Urbanic

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Hey Friends, have you had the chance to visit the famous Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Los Angeles? This mile long street located in Southern Venice is home to amazing creative galleries, internationally recognized brands and one-of-kind local shops like, Urbanic Paper Boutique. Audrey Woollen founded Urbanic thirteen years ago, and since then, her original lifestyle brand and retail shop has attracted a great deal of press, a large social media following, and has developed collaborative signature lines with some of the nation's top designers.

On today's episode, Audrey shares how she discovered her passion for paper and product based business. She tells us how she got started, how Urbanic has evolved over the years, and how she turned her weekend hobby into a thriving retail shop. Audrey also talks about the challenges she faced along the way, including an IRS audit in her third year, and the store getting robbed at times. Audrey brings us into her journey, talking about the passion she has for her industry, the creative community which she's in, and why creating a strong customer experience is so important to her and the brand.

ON TODAY’S EPISODE:

  • The inspiration and motivation behind Urbanic

  • How Audrey found her true passion in Los Angeles  

  • The benefits of working festivals and farmers markets

  • Establishing a customer base and curating your brand

  • Giving up a big paycheck for a bigger dream

  • The types of products merchandised at Urbanic

  • Choosing specialty items that keep things exciting  

  • Making the most of a small space

  • How Urbanic has evolved since opening 13 years ago

  • Creating events that bring the LA design community together under one roof

  • The power of a positive  customer experience

  • How Audrey balances business and motherhood

  • The challenges of running a brick-and-mortar store

  • Seeking out new lines, tradeshows, and what Audrey looks for in submissions

  • What’s up next for Urbanic and what Audrey has planned for next year


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KEY TAKE AWAYS

“Ever since I was a little girl, I had a huge passion for paper products, whether it be sending people cards or picking out my back to school supplies. I took that very seriously.” - Audrey Woollen

“I remember having the moment, literally stopped in my tracks, and tears came to my eyes, I'm like, "This is what I wanna do." I would feel so happy to create an environment for people to come shop, and to be able to curate that.” - Audrey Woollen

“It was all really a hobby at that point, it was just something I loved, and it wasn't generating much income at all. But it was pushing me closer to wanting to do more.” - Audrey Woollen

“I was getting more and move involved in the industry, and seeing what was out there, and falling more in love with what I was finding, and wanting to have a, create a bigger experience.” - Audrey Woollen

“When we're in a corporate job or a freelance job and we're trying to build our business on the side, there's no perfect time to go all in the business, right? There's usually something that pushes us over.”- Katie Hunt

“Because I was on Main Street and Santa Monica, I was able to set up at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market each Sunday. I could do more in that day than I did, like, an entire week.” -Audrey Woollen

“It was completely a huge risk. But the spot opened up, and I just sorta got there at the right place and time, and just sort of went for it.” - Audrey Woollen
“I knew that if I was gonna continue just doing that for a paycheck, then I was gonna lose out an opportunity to do something that I really wanted.” - Audrey Woollen

“We have a customer base of people that are faithful to us and have made it a destination even in greater LA.” - Audrey Woollen

“In the industry that I'm in, and this avenue that I picked, there's always something that is a feel good moment, not to mention babies and birthdays and celebrations and weddings, it's like all the best stuff in life.” - Audrey Woollen


CONNECT WITH AUDREY WOOLLEN

Website: Urbanic Paper | Facebook: @UrbanicPaper | Instagram: @Urbanic | Pinterest: @Urbanic | Twitter: @Urbanic


Connect with Katie Hunt

Katie Hunt is a business strategist, podcaster, mentor and mama to four. She helps product based businesses build profitable, sustainable companies through her conferences, courses and coaching programs.

Website: prooftoproduct.com  |   Instagram: @prooftoproduct

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