Monday, August 3, 2015

5 Questions for Lauren - #GirlBoss at Made in Mechanicsville

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Remember when we had five questions for Jacqui Nelson,  #GirlBoss at Swanky J Boutique? We've brought it back in order to get to know Lauren Anderson, the awesome gal behind Made in Mechanicsville, a shop chock-full of adorable, handmade jewelry just outside of Richmond, Virginia (and 15 minutes away from my little college town, Ashland!). These interview are so that we (you and me, readers! Future #GirlBosses) get an idea of how equally tough and rewarding it is to own and operate a small business.

Got big dreams? Good. You're in the right place.

PS: YOU get 40% off at Made in Mechanicsville until the end of August -
use code PDXMADE at checkout.

1. What was the motivator behind creating Made in Mechanicsville? When and how did you become interested in running your own online shop?

Made honestly began out of a yearning for a creative outlet. I have a sales job during the day, which requires travel to a three-state area and between long drives and the demands of selling, I was itching to work with my hands. I wanted to create something that I love, would be willing to wear and that I knew I could use as a vehicle for philanthropy. One night, when I was sitting at home sipping wine and crafting some earrings for myself, a light bulb went off and I knew it would be the perfect fit. I know there's a ton of competition, but I truly believe Made is set apart by our customer service, our unique offerings and willingness to go above and beyond to make a woman feel really special. We also are striving to find ways to give back, whether it's through the online shop or our new "Made Sample Sales", which donate 10% of in-home show sales back to the charity of our hostess' choice.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about the "Made to Shine" project?

Made to Shine is inspired partly by the song by Natalie Grant, "Burn Bright". In it, she talks about each woman being made to shine, even when sometimes there are dark days or you feel like you're never going to get out of the dark spot you're in. It can be financially difficult for families of women across the country sending their daughters off to their first prom, or to fund their dream wedding day. We thought this would be an incredible way to play a very small part in those special moments of life. By nominating a deserving and needy woman, Made provides jewelry to compliment their chosen attire for that day, and in some little way, helps them burn a little bit brighter. We've had an overwhelming response to the program, so we're still trying to work out some kinks, but I consider that good pressure for us to step up to the demands of women in need.

3. What would you say is your mission behind the shop? What are you striving to do - what's the end goal?

The mission is fairly simple: create fun, handmade, affordable jewelry, connect with our customers and turn those relationships into friendships and ultimately, give back to the Richmond community. The end goal is also simple -- give as much as we receive. I challenge everyone to step out and give more than they think they is possible. Something incredible will happen -- you'll see a return greater than before. We are a testament to this concept and we'll continue to strive for better offerings, and more giving.

4. What has been the greatest challenge in running and owning your own small business?

Honestly, the greatest challenges are my website and balancing our home life with Made. I am totally not tech savvy. Why I thought I could just run an online shop without anyone's help was a little crazy. My husband and I are also expecting our first baby, so balancing sending out orders, creating new designs and trying to enjoy every moment of this hugely exciting time has been tough and required giving myself a lot of grace for mistakes. I do believe that when you're honest with your customer base as a small business, you can take a step back if you need to. We closed our shop for a month, reopening this weekend, and we've actually had more customers follow us on Instagram and Facebook and had pre-orders for when we return. People really respect when you don't put up a front that your business is run by the 'perfect squad'. They want to know you're a human, too. I think it pushes other creatives to kick start their own business idea, knowing it's possible to do so without having it all together.

5. What's your favorite item in the shop currently?

My favorite item in the shop are our Summer Daze Hoops. There's definitely going to be a hoop invasion this fall.


  1. May, thank you SO much for interviewing me! I am so humbled and grateful that you're featuring me and Made on the blog. I can't wait to see your blog grow. xoxo

  2. Those hoops are beautiful! Thank you for the introduction to a great brand, I love supporting local (ish- I'm a bit north of Richmond) shops!