Our story began when I took a job in college that little did I know would change my life forever. When I was in college, I studied criminal justice and was hoping to either become a criminal defense attorney or become a crime reporter. During my Junior year, I ended up setting up my schedule to only have class two days a week and reserved the other three days to take on a law internship. When I went to interview for the law firm, I was hoping it was going to be fast-paced, and more of something like you see on "Suits." However, when I showed up to the interview, I was informed that the position I was interviewing for was for contract law, which wasn't what I was passionate about. After I left the interview, I never called them with my schedule, and they never called me either! HA!
So here I was with all of this time, and nothing to do. To most college students, this would be a dream; however, I have always been someone who enjoyed having a job because I felt like it gave me purpose.
One day when I was in a sorority meeting (Go Chi-Omega!), our sorority advisor announced that a local gift store called The Containery was hiring part-time. Up until that point, I had never heard of or stepped foot into The Containery, but for some reason (a total God reason), my hand flew up when she asked who was interested. The day after the meeting, The Containery called me in for an interview. When I stepped inside, it was as if I stepped into this sense of belonging that I knew my heart had been searching for. I worked for The Containery the rest of my time in college, and up until I decided to move to Dallas.
When I moved to Dallas I had no job and nothing but a family that was willing to support me until I found my calling. (which was actually everything.) Three months went by of looking for a job and I couldn't find anything that I had the skill set for or even interested me. After three months of searching, I decided to change gears by studying to get in to law school. I enrolled in a Kaplan course in order to prepare me for the LSAT. Between the time I signed up for the course and the time I took the test, I kept wondering if law school was actually for me. I knew I enjoyed studying criminal law but I knew deep down that practicing law was not where I belonged. In that moment, I honestly didn't know where I belonged or what my purpose was.
A week before I took the LSAT, I was chatting with my Aunt over ice cream and I had a much needed breakdown. I was anxious about the test, I was anxious about not knowing if law school was right for me, and I was anxious about my future. The best thing she did that day was offer to pray for me. By communicating with her, she was then able to pray for my specific needs.
After our conversation, I felt like a huge weight had been taken off my shoulders and I was able to let God take over. When I was able to do that, things started coming together.
The day I took the LSAT was one of the most comical days of my life. I had the worst testing experience that I could have ever dreamed of. It was so bad that I actually had to write a formal complaint email of every detail that went wrong. There were so many details that during the test I found myself just laughing to myself because it would only happen to me. It was because of the conversation that I had had with my aunt a week prior that I was able to feel completely unbothered by all of this.
After the test, I gave myself several days to decompress, after all, my test scores wouldn't be available until 6-8 weeks later, so there was no reason to sit around stressing.
I have never considered myself to be creative, but during the 6-8 week period that I was waiting for my scores, I was the most creative I had ever been. On a drive from Sherman (where my family lived/lives) to Dallas, suddenly all of these ideas and dreams of me owning my own store came to mind. I thought about things like "what I would name my store?" and laurel e. came to mind, "what would my logo look like?" and the logo came to mind, "what would my store front look like?" and my storefront came to mind. Needless to say that after that car ride, my mind had never been more on fire.
I went home that day and researched everything it would take to start a boutique. I started a journal of all of the ideas I had, and wrote down brands that I already knew I loved because.... what if?
I didn't seriously mention the idea of owning a boutique until I went to a Chi-Omega reunion at my college and mentioned it to some of my closest friends. I will never forget how they automatically said "Yes! That is so you. You need to do it!" Honestly, if it weren't for them being so encouraging, I wouldn't have had the confidence to believe that I would even be good at something like owning a boutique. They had ignited my fire.
After I went to the reunion, I casually mentioned it to my parents and when they didn't act like it was a totally outrageous idea, I told them I was serious about it. My mom, (the entrepreneur) immediately started thinking of ways to bring my idea of owning a boutique to life. From the moment I told my mom and dad about it, they were so supportive of me following my dreams.
When deciding on where to put the store, we all knew where it should go. We knew that laurel e. was meant to be in a building on the downtown Sherman square that my parents had bought back in 2006. The whole time that they had owned it, it had been vacant. It's crazy to think about because it was as if all of those years it was just waiting for me to give it life. I whole heartedly believe that God had laurel e. in his plan for me way before I ever dreamed of owning a boutique.
Once we had the location, next we needed all of the legal paperwork. We reached out to one of our family friends who agreed to help us with getting my business established. ( Which surprisingly does not take long at all!) Laurel e. was already set up as an LLC before I even got my scores back! HA! However, I did eventually did get my scores back, and although I was not going to Harvard, I did better than I thought I did given all of the circumstances. This made me feel good because I knew in my heart that I was already on the right path of what I was meant to be doing. Not one ounce of me wanted to pursue a law degree because I had finally found my passion.
Although the legality of the business was easy to set up, it took much longer to get up and running. I spent hours reviewing clothing brands, researching the price of wholesale costs, meeting with an architect, making up business plans, spending hours on the phone with one of my best friends who worked for a wholesaler and was able to give me insight, and having meetings with other boutique owners who were able to give me all kinds of business advice.
Once I had everything finished on my part, I had to wait for all of the renovations to be done. The renovation process took almost a year and set back my opening date not once, but three times. It was disappointing but after the second time, I gave it to God and realized that the store would open in his timing.
I am so glad I turned the store over to God, because there is nothing better than his timing. The day before I opened, I sat in the store and cried because it looked exactly how I had imagined. All of the hard work had paid off, and God's timing was the best timing.
To this day I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me get to where I am. My fiancé, my family, my employees, my customers, my mentors, and my friends. I could not have done this without you. Thank you for believing in my dream.
xx Emmi Wilson