Welcome to Shop Nelly! I am so glad you're here! Kicking off the first blog post on the site, I hope you get to learn a little bit more about me && how Shop Nelly started!
My name is Kirsten, and I started Shop Nelly in December of 2019. This sounds very cliche, but ever since I was little I always wanted to own a clothing store. It wasn't until the beginning of college that I started to research and really dive in to how I could make things happen. I initially started my college career playing golf at Regis University in Denver, Colorado majoring in Health & Exercise Science to become a physical therapist... a lot different than where I am at career wise now! After one short semester, I knew that Denver wasn't where I was meant to be (although it was beautiful) && playing a college sport was not what I was meant to be doing (even though playing golf as my job was still so much fun). I transferred back home to the University of Nebraska at Omaha and changed my major to Business Administration with a focus in entrepreneurship -- I was ready to take the leap and start my business alongside getting my degree. For the first semester that I was home, I started researching A LOT about how to start an online boutique. I watched YouTube videos, read the book 'How To Start An E-Commerce Business For Dummies' from front to back (& to be completely honest I hate reading so this was huge for me), and I got a small business mentor at the Small Business Association of Nebraska.
In March of 2019, I started to share my idea with friends && family. I even printed a Shop Nelly crewneck for myself as a reminder to keep pushing && working towards this idea. Looking back on the crewneck now, I laugh a little bit, because although it is a super cute idea... the style is not what Shop Nelly ended up being at all. BUT I do still have it in my closet and it is something I think I will keep forever as a memory. With all of that being said, this leads me up to how I thought of the name 'Shop Nelly Boutique'. I named the store Shop Nelly because my last name is Nelson && I have two older sisters, so given that we all get married, the name 'Nelson' will no longer be passed down. I thought this was a good way to hold the name with me forever.
After daydreaming and planning for over a year, I decided to launch Shop Nelly in December of 2019 when I was 19 years old. I named all of the first clothing items after my best friends && family members who influenced the beginning of Shop Nelly in some way, shape, or form. I brought on 19 brand ambassadors to signify the age that I was when I started Shop Nelly. In the first few months of being in business, I would launch a handful of items once a month. From there, I continued to learn about running the store as I continued school and managed the business on the side.
My first year in business was amazing but also very challenging (in ways that I am extremely thankful for). Three months into business, COVID shut down businesses in Nebraska and I was honestly very unsure of how Shop Nelly would come out of this global pandemic as a brand new startup. To be completely honest, our customers really showed up during this time and made those few months the best that I had seen since opening Shop Nelly. During this time, I was also helping manage Fossil at the outlets part-time, working part-time at another small business named Fluff Interior Design, and still taking a full load of school credits. It took a while for me to get in the groove of fitting Shop Nelly into that schedule && I had to sacrifice a lot of experiences that a college student usually has in order to care for and nurture my business (but I don't regret any of it). This past Winter, I was able to start working on just Shop Nelly full-time (but I haven't fully given up working remotely for Fluff because working for another small business is amazing, so I still help run their VIP sales page on Facebook). During that time, we celebrated one whole year of Shop Nelly! In that year, new arrival launches started becoming more consistent with more variety of items. Although I love every Shop Nelly item, I truly don't think I started to express the true style I was striving for on Shop Nelly until around this time.
Really, that brings me up to right now! After we celebrated the New Year, I have been working on getting into more pop up events so I can see my customers in-person this Spring & Summer. I have a semester and a half left of school, so as long as everything goes accordingly, I will graduate from UNO in December of 2021. From there, I plan to open up a Shop Nelly storefront in 2022 and continue living the life I always dreamed of -- being a boutique owner! If you made it this far, thank you for reading && learning more about Shop Nelly! && thank you for being here!!