Entrepreneur Love King works as a full-time hospital administrator, overseeing doctors and nurses and ensuring patients receive top-notch medical care.
But King wanted to do something on the side that was totally different from working in a busy medical center. So she thought that starting a business in the online retail space through which she offers women’s clothing would be fun – and give her some extra income.
Fittingly, King is the proud CEO of Loving Yourself, LLC in Boston Massachusetts. It’s a one-woman operation with King running the small business entirely on her own. She formally created it in June 2014, and she can manage it from the convenience of her own home since it is web-based.
Located online at www.loveityourself.com, the retailer offers a variety of elegant and casual dresses, tops, and other items for female shoppers. Pricewise, they run from about $20 up to $75. While it specializes in selling clothing for women, King plans to offer items for men as well.
“My clothing can be worn by women ages 18 and up,” King says.
The entrepreneur is a native of Liberia, a West African country. She emigrated to the United States 12 years ago. Since setting foot on U.S. soil, she always had the goal of achieving the American dream in the back of her mind.
“I had always wanted to have my own business since coming to this country,” she explains. “I started thinking about what I could do to get into a business. I just thought about it and thought I could have an online store where I could buy items from a wholesaler and resell them. I love clothing, so it seemed like a good option for a business.”
According to King, serving her customers will ultimately make her new small business profitable and sustainable long-term.
“My customers come first,” she says. “I have to treat them with lots of respect and make sure I help them with everything. Customer service is so important in any small business.”
Starting a business can lead to lots of enjoyment for entrepreneurs in various ways. For King, she really likes the challenge it has presented her in using a different part of her brain.
“It’s something totally different from what I’m used to doing every day,” she says. “There is a big learning curve and learning process. The whole experience is just very interesting and enjoyable.”
The clothing industry is quite competitive with so many retailers out there offering similar options on clothing at similar price points. King feels there are a few key ingredients to gaining an edge over her competition to get more customers to shop on her website rather than clicking over to other sites.
“Like any small business, you have to have high-quality products, the best prices, and offer discounts at times,” she says. “Customer service is also a big priority for me. Customers want more one-on-one support, and they can get more of this from a smaller company like mine compared to a bigger store.”
All entrepreneurs, regardless of industry, are faced with a multitude of unexpected challenges when starting a business for the first time. Some of them are exciting, while others are a little scary. King talks about the challenges she has endured.
“Getting the customers by getting people to know about the business has been my biggest challenge so far,” she says. “Once I get them on the website, I have to find the best ways to get them to buy my products.”
Based on her experience as a newly crowned small business owner, King wants to give some words of wisdom for anyone who has an interest in starting a business.
“You need to have that enthusiasm for the business,” she says. “If you aren’t enthused, it won’t go anywhere. Failure is not an option, especially if you’re trying to support yourself. Sometimes your business will stall and you’ll get down on yourself. You have to find ways to keep it going and be persistent.”
She adds that there are both advantages and disadvantages to self-employment.
“The biggest advantage is being your own boss,” she says. “But because of this, you have to do a lot of thinking for yourself since everything is on you. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with smart people.”
King is a client of 1-800Accountant. She offers praise to the national accounting and business consulting firm in terms of how the company has been able to assist her with her taxes.
“I’ve been very satisfied with 1-800Accountant,” King says. “One of my other accountants had me owing a lot of money to the IRS, so I needed something different. I’m very grateful for 1-800Accountant. Everyone I’ve talked to has been very nice, helpful, and understanding of my specific needs. I would recommend the firm to others seeking accounting services.”
Photo credit: The photograph of Love King was provided by Loving Yourself, LLC and is used with permission.