What is your full name, title, and business name?
Allison Jayjack, Owner of Ladybird
Give us a summary of your business in 200 words or less.
Ladybird is a fashion destination nestled in the heart of the Short North Arts District in Columbus, Ohio. We want to be the place where you find and refine your personal style, and have a real good time doing it. We are a small team of fashion lovers. For us, business, like style, is personal.
What was the turning point for your business? Was there a moment you knew you had something special?
Ladybird has energy. We always say, “once a bird always a bird” and I believe the culture of Ladybird is our special sauce.
What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneur and business owner?
I love working for myself, getting to know my clients, and developing relationships.
What does the city of Columbus mean to your business?
Columbus is a very exciting place right now! Not only with the major retailers in town, we have very educated shoppers that appreciate independent designers.
Are you from Columbus? If not, please explain what brought you here and ultimately what made you stay.
I am a Columbus Native! I grew up in Dublin, Ohio. In high school, I interned for Principessa, a boutique in Grandview, which was one of the first of its kind here in Columbus. I attended Marshall University on a soccer scholarship. Upon graduation, I moved to NYC for a quick stint, then got a job with Abercrombie which took me to Toronto and finally Chicago. My sister and I were working remotely on my business plan for opening a boutique. Once she had her first child, I decided to move back and get serious about finalizing my plan. I called Chris from Principessa and started as her store manager the following week. I had my mind set on Charlotte, NC for a location, but when Ivy Hill (former tenant at 716 n.high) decided to move, I jumped on the opportunity. I signed the lease in October of 2008 and opened Ladybird in November.
What’s the number one piece of advice you’d give to anyone wanting to start a business?
Dive in! Whether it’s doing a little bit every night when you get home from your FT. Make time for your dreams. Don’t wait till everything is perfect to launch, your business will evolve.
What’s the most challenging part of your business (i.e, what keeps you up at night)?
It’s a 24/7 job, so being okay with saying “no,” setting boundaries, and honoring my capacity has been a major advantage for me.
Every business owner has a flaw. What’s yours?
I sometimes take on more than I believe I can handle. I need to honor my limits.
Why do you think most business owners fail? What has made you different?
The mid-western work ethic is strong, and I had no problem committing 8/10 hour days.
What tool has helped you the most for your business (invoicing, accounting, shipping, plugin for website, etc.)?
Our point of sale, LightSpeed. It connects to our website with our in-store inventory.
What is something that you did that was a game changer for your business?
Linked up with Garmentory, an online source for emerging and contemporary fashion. They offer a curated marketplace of indie boutiques and designers, which gives you direct access to the rad people and the amazing stuff. We now ship worldwide!
What is something you’re working on now that you’re very excited about?
We are working on a few collaborations, some of our own greeting cards, and branded items for the holiday season.
What form of marketing is the most valuable for you?
Social Media, particularly Instagram. It is a great way to stay connected to my customers and share with them what’s new and further develop a more personalized relationship.
Who do you vent to when you have a business problem?
Fellow entrepreneurs. I am fortunate to have wonderful friends/family with whom I feel comfortable pouring out my ideas and issues.
Where do you see your business in the next 10 years?
Looking to expand online presence, pop-up locations in different cities, expand to in-house label, beauty, men’s fashion, and even home accessories.
What is your revenue range?
Under $100k – $500k
When you’re stressed or overwhelmed, what do you do to overcome this feeling?
I work-out. Getting in a good sweat helps clear my mind.
What’s one component of entrepreneurship that’s much different than what most people think?
Being your own boss means that sometimes I feel guilty taking time away from the business. It’s hard trying to find that work/life balance.
What’s your end goal with the business? Is this something you want to pass down to your kids or would you like to eventually sell?
I want to grow ladybird into a brand.
How would your business fare if the economy hit a nasty downturn like it did in 2008? Have you prepared for this?
I opened in 2008. In hindsight, this was the best time just because I didn’t know any better.
What other entrepreneur do you look up to most?
Jesse Kamm, a designer. Her work/life balance and the timeless styles she designs and produces are incredible.
If you had to tell a visitor one thing to do/see/eat in Columbus, what would it be?
Come hang out in the Short North! Walk down High St. where there is plenty to do: shopping, eating, and drinking!