Lady Fuller is the Founder and President of The Blues Jean Bar, recently rebranded as Denim and Soul. We first featured her in a January 2014 Dream Catcher profile, and we recently checked back in with her to learn how her business has evolved since that time.
Has your business model changed since we first spoke with you? Our business has undergone an unbelievable transformation, shifting from urban fashion into a modern, laid-back luxury boutique after partnering with Marcus Lemonis of The Profit on CNBC.
What has shifted for you and your business as you have evolved from being in a startup and growth mode to running a mature business? Our business is 11 years old and we have seen it all. The ups, the downs, the craziness. The most important thing that I have found is that you’re never as good as you think you are and never as bad as you think you are.
Has your team grown? If so, tell us what that looked like. I believe in creating an internal ladder that everyone is aware of and can climb. That way everyone is motivated to stay on the team and move up as necessary. Outside talent is also great to keep our culture a learning culture. Skills can be taught, but for me attitude is everything.
How has your social media strategy evolved? We used to use Hootsuite and worry about all platforms, but as of late we have been relying solely on Instagram. It packs a wonderful visual punch and concentrates our media focus.
How has the competitive landscape of your product or industry changed since you first started your business? Denim in recent years has faced competition from the “athleisure” market, but denim is a tried-and-true staple among all of us. Jeans are an american product and very much part of our culture. For many people, it’s the center of their wardrobe.
What does your schedule look like? Tell us about a day in your life. Any productivity tips to share? I have two young children, Annabelle and James, as well as two dogs, so I am constantly on the move. I am trying more than ever to be present with my kids since they are growing up so fast. I try to work out first thing in the morning so I don’t stress about it all day. I also try to write down each night the three most important items I need to check off the to-do list each day so they don’t get lost in the shuffle, are addressed early, and can allow me some creativity in my afternoon with work.
The road to success is paved with obstacles. What are the biggest that you have overcome? What risks have you taken that didn’t pan out? I have started many companies and lines of business and have taken many risks. The vast majority didn’t work out, but I tried and believed in myself. I always knew that if I let failure educate me rather than define me, I would be OK. The transition from Blues Jean Bar to Denim and Soul (as showcased on The Profit) profiles that change. The takeaway from this recent failure/success story was that in the worst of times if you can let go a little bit, and life has a way of working itself out. This was a very tough lesson.
What has been the true personal cost to you of doing business – beyond sleep and a steady paycheck, what have you had to give up? How much time do you have?! I think the major difference of a CEO/Entrepreneur and everyone else is the brain power needed to live your life while continually shouldering the burden of making payroll, creating success, and fulfilling the obligation to your shareholders/stakeholders/
Tell us about the accomplishments and successes that you are most proud of since we first profiled you on ltd365: Denim and Soul is without a doubt the most exciting concept and business I have ever been a part of. Working with Marcus Lemonis and his team is a dream come true. I realize now that my business journey was one of self-discovery and challenge that was always supposed to lead me to the current business.
Tell us what you’re most inspired by right now. I am inspired by the changing leaves. We are in the midst of fall in the mountains and the mix of colors is amazing. It’s inspiring that there is so much beauty in dying leaves – I like the metaphor.