6 tips for small businesses
the wild gem
By Audrey Zuck

This article is brought to you by High Cotton Brewing Co. Check out their brew!

Introduce Yourself!
My name is Audrey and I am the owner of The Wild Gem. The Wild Gem is a vintage clothing boutique for the modern woman.
I have grown up collecting vintage pieces and never wanted to wear anything I might possibly see a stranger wearing. I have loved fashion since the day I was born. My family could tell you, I changed clothes at least 5 times a day, just to create something new and feel a different way.
What pushed me to make a business out of my love for fashion and vintage in particular, was a friend I met in San Francisco. She couldn’t believe I wasn’t sharing the things I would find and the outfits I would put together. I honestly never thought about it. I would just get so caught up mixing and creating my own outfits. She encouraged me to just go full force and start a business! She actually created my logo too! A couple years later and I am doing flea markets around the Dallas area and selling my finds out of my loft in Deep Ellum.
Have you always loved fashion?
Oh, growing up I was a day-dreaming, fashionista cowgirl. I was literally always changing clothes like it was my job and asked my daddy every day to video me while I danced around in each outfit. Then, I would make him play the tape so I could watch (yes, there were still VHS). My most popular attire was a one-piece bathing suit with a tiger face on it, big clip-on earrings, red lipstick from mom’s bathroom and cowgirl boots – always cowgirl boots.
How Did You Choose Your Business Name?
At the time I started this business, I was living wild and free in California. I was unsure of where life would take me next, but I knew I had something to offer. A family friend would always tell me that I am more precious than rubies. That has stuck with me through the phases of my life and I wanted my business name to reflect something that meant rare, wild and one of a kind. One day it just literally hit me. I remember I was in a coffee shop making a mood board and I was like “ok, the wild gem. done.”

I go out and hand-pick vintage pieces from Levis to lace dresses, to mod jewelry and more. I try not to limit myself to one style when I’m hunting. I think what sets Wild Gem apart from other vintage boutiques is that you will never find 2 of the same piece and I don’t limit to one color scheme or era of vintage, yet everything is made to mix and match.

6 Tips for Small Businesses

1. Follow your passion, even when it gets hard!

This has been SO fun to create and rarely feels like work. Some obstacles I faced in the beginning though, was how much I was moving around California while trying to create my brand, survive in LA and buy out of pocket for all my inventory. Learning how to file sales tax was not super fun either. (Shout out to my finance advisor aka Dad). There were also a lot of vintage sellers in California, so I had to determine how my brand would stand out from the rest. Being a business owner is not easy, but don’t ever stop learning or give up on your dream!

2. Don’t be afraid to stand out

You’ve been given a beautiful gift and a unique soul. Boldly share that with the world and those around you! No one else can do what you do, quite like you can.

I feel like The Wild Gem takes a rare approach to vintage fashion. It’s vintage with a modern twist. I have not seen many other vintage stores with quite the same vibe.

3. find a way to relieve stress

For me it’s exercise. Dancing. Sitting on my porch with a glass of wine. Scrolling through Interior Design/Fashion magazines.

4. Ask for help when you need it

Oh, I have absolutely asked for help in this process and continue to ask questions. It was hard to do at first, but you just have to humble yourself and take in all you can. I think of it as hearing from others who have crossed bridges you haven’t crossed yet. I also think it’s important to hear what has worked for other people and what hasn’t; then taking that info and applying it to your own business plan. Having a support network is everything. I am often in communication with other small business owners and have certain people on speed dial when I need a pick-me-up or need advice. It’s imperative for women to support other women. I’m a firm believer in that.

5. Specify your goals

Short-term and long term. Speak them into existence! Give yourself deadlines and write them on a calendar devoted solely for business.

6. Organize your money

I have spreadsheets for everything! I also have many folders where I keep receipts for expenses, cost of goods, monthly sales, etc. It’s super important to stay organized with the financial aspects of your business and to stay on top of this throughout the year and not just when taxes are due. If you can afford to hire a financial assistant though, by all means do so. Thankfully, I have a Dad who helps me out with this 🙂
The Wild Gem – Also Featured on Voyage Dallas Magazine

A Couple of Our Brews

IPA

When we founded High Cotton Brewing Company, we didn’t want to just create beer whose name paid homage to our Southern Heritage, but brew it in a way that did as well.

 

The Monroe Taproom

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Memphis, TN 38103
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