A few years ago, W&M was nothing more than an eclectic spread of random handmade things on a table @ a local Farmer's Market. Before we had our own Etsy shop & before demands grew us into our own website, we had no idea that this handmade business would one day allow me to work from home & raise our babies. There's a heaping handful of people to thank for getting us from point A to point B but there's one who made a huge impact when we were fresh on the market.
Enter: Stephy McCauley.
Stephy then was a friend-of-a-friend who heard that some girl in Seattle was making cool stuff & she wanted in. She tracked down my contact info & bought a bag from me (all you long-time sweet followers, remember the jute Leah Hip Bags? Yeah- it was THAT long ago.) But she didn't just buy a bag. She used the heck out of it & took every opportunity to spread the word about my newly blooming shop. She sent me cards & texts telling me how great my goods were & that she would do everything she could to help "get me out there." As a new girl on the block of the small business world, her words were pure GOLD. This infectious, loud blonde from Texas was singin' my praises, all because we had a mutual friend & she just legit gets crazy joy from breathing life into people's dreams. She's the kind of gal that wouldn't dare pass up a kid's lemonade stand & who would drop her own cold cash to buy a piece of art from a high school student just to make sure they felt like they were the bomb when putting themselves out there for maybe the first time.
We took the opportunity to interview her while we could still snag a spot in her busy schedule b/c her new business (52 days old of a babe to be exact) is EXPLODING & as you'll read below? She ain't slowin' down anytime soon.
W&M: So Stephy, tell us about your business.
M+L: My business is McCauley + Luck, we sell fun and flirty earrings at a fun and flirty price through social media, our website and pop up shops at fun boutiques, expos and businesses. I call it "slingin 'rings" ...it's the most fun business I've ever been a part of....probably because I made it - right?
W&M: You've only be open for all of 2 seconds- how's it going?
M+L: As of August 8th we have been open for 52 days. We have taken off like wild fire, and really it is me trying to keep up, keep it fresh and keep it fun while we continually gain followers, friends and attention over the DFW metroplex and over the nation through social media.
W&M: What are some things you've done early on that'd you'd attribute your quick success to?
M+L: God first. Without Him, there's no way this happened. I accredit a lot of it to who God made me to be...karma is a real deal - what goes around definitely comes around. I have supported a LOT of friends through different endeavors, and they in turn supported me more than I could have ever imagined. I knew I wanted to start something, I just didn't know what. So when I started an earring line - people could not get enough of it. My friends were my biggest advocates, I also accredit a lot of the success to my friends @Dallasites101 - Lily was my first customer and her and her partner Kara have featured me a more than a few times on their instagram with over 64k followers. Also, my friend Angeline - she asked me to be in her store, and that really legitimized me as a business owner to be in a storefront...I now am now in six. Without my girlfriends, I would not have started this business. They pushed me, supported me and are my biggest cheerleaders. I'm so grateful for them.
W&M: Where'd the inspiration for your business come from & how long did it take you to "take the plunge" & go for it?
M+L: McCauley + Luck started as an Instagram blog...so I had about 250 followers on it when I started. I wanted to make an instagram that left people greater than when they came. I had followed so many instagram accounts that left me with more foul of humor, and a negative outlook on the world ...I wanted to do the opposite. I knew I would find something to use the already branded McCauley + Luck - just didn't know what. Then I found a vendor on a Saturday shopping with one of my girlfriends - it took three of my girlfriends 2 weeks to talk me into doing it as a legitimate business - I left the vendor at 3:47 pm - was asked by my friend Angeline to do a pop up shop that @Dallasites101 was hosting, it started at 7:00 - by 9:00 I was sold out. And I said out loud "well...I guess I'm in the earring business huh??" My friends all laughed and a few teared up. I come from nothing. I paid my own way through college (still am technically - thanks Sallie Mae)...when I first moved to Dallas I worked 2 jobs to try and keep up with my friends who the majority were from very prominent families. Didn't bother me a bit, I love working...and my friends never even thought twice about how differently we were raised. I'm still close with all of them, and love watching them grow in business, in love, and all of their beautiful babies. I moved to Dallas in a beat up Kia Sportage, that made a weird sound - just picture the episode from bridesmaids pulling up to the big mansion and she doesn't have a cup holder lol.
I never thought of being an entrepreneur, I love my job - my boss and his wife and family are incredible (executive assistant in commercial real estate) - I just wanted to make extra money for my travel habit. I have killer hours, and I didn't want to increase them, so I didn't want to ask for a raise...so I made a side hustle that has not only made me a lot of money out of the gate - but I have met some of THE MOST incredible people. I have always been told God has a HUGE plan for my life, and it is to influence others towards greatness, I just didn't know the avenue he was going to use. I'm not made to be a pastor, I say whatever I want - and it's just in my DNA - I know this is what God has created me to do...the earrings are just a by-product. My goal is to treat people well, speak into their lives and let them know someone cares about them, wants their life to be epic and wonderful, and someone is here for them. I would definitely say my customers are actually my friends. I care about them.
W&M: You've got a bunch of "M+L Girls"- are all of your friends models?:)
M+L: RIGHT?!!?!?!? I'm so lucky. God has blessed those girls with not only incredible beauty, but I picked each one of them for who they were to me, or who they were to the community. You should see the photographer herself, Paige. She's a real gem - and a tiny little blonde who can handstand on top of the Eiffel Tower most likely. They are just breathtaking individuals. Laila is actually helping me find a house to purchase at the current moment. Brandy did all of my logos, business cards...she does my product photographs and is one of my biggest cheerleaders. There were actually so many more M+L girls I wanted in that photo shoot....all of my friends are just jaw-dropping.
W&M: Any hiccups thus far as a small business owner & how have you handled them?
M+L: I mean...yeah. Before my website, it was hard to keep track of what everyone was purchasing, have they paid, how did they pay...etc. So I totally sent earrings to people who hadn't paid yet. Whatever, what goes around comes around - no big deal. Maybe they needed a little package in the mail to brighten their day - who knows.
W&M: The "boss babe" world can be an ugly place of competition & false cheerleaders. You've gotten yourself a reputation of being one who rallies around people & encourages women to chase their dreams. Would you speak to that for us?
M+L: How lonely would life be if we were the only one chasing our dreams? We would have no one who could truly understand our struggles or genuinely cheer us on about our victories. We would have plenty of people to say "congrats" but none that are jumping up and down for us like we are deep down in our soul. People are my heartbeat. They are what get me up in the morning. The connection of soul to soul, is what we were created for. I sling earrings simply to be a part of their moments. I think that is why I love earrings so much - because they make people happy - they bookend our thoughts and bring joy to others who see it. I get to be a part of every moment when they wear them - and every photo of their vacation. People are why I love McCauley + Luck and THEY are what make up this company. I'm simply just the founder, they are the company.
So that's that. Learn how to spell "McCauley" b/c it's a name you're gonna need to know.