NextGen MilSpouse’s Military Spouse Entrepreneur Spotlight is a Q&A designed to celebrate the successes and acknowledge the challenges of being a military spouse entrepreneur.
Military Branch Affiliation: USMC
Years as a Military Spouse: 2.5
Business Name: Striving For Modesty
Year Established: 2015
Tell us about your business: Striving For Modesty is an online curated modest clothing boutique. We’re geared primarily toward Muslim women but also have Jewish and Christian customers who seek to dress modestly.
Unlike a lot of Muslim clothing stores in the United States, SFM carries Jilbabs and nursing friendly abayas. SFM runs on a curated basis as we strive to be exclusive.
Just like a curated collection in a museum, we carry select designs that are only available for a limited amount of time.
Once an item is sold out, it most likely will not be available for purchase again.
What’s your biggest lesson learned as an entrepreneur so far?
The importance of being your brand. When I first started SFM, I wanted it to be separated from me. I didn’t have my name anywhere in the site. I rarely promoted it among my friends/social circle. For some reason, I thought that the company would seem less legitimate if people knew who owned it and that I was just another person. I wanted SFM to stand on its own without me. I’ve learned though, that I am SFM.
Being personable and attaching myself to the brand and company makes it more inviting for potential customers and it also strengthen my commitment.
On managing work and life – is it all about blending or all about balancing? Why?
It’s all about balancing. This is something that I struggle with occasionally especially since I work from home. It’s hard trying to decide when work stops and “life” starts.
Do I go on vacation when my husband has leave even though I have “work” to do? Or do I pass and plan my own leave/vacation time? It can also be hard to be strict in regards to only doing work during set hours especially when there are so many other life obligations that constantly pop up.
When I’m gearing up for a release (as we’re curated, we release 3 to 4 full collections a year), I definitely prioritize work first but generally, about 2 weeks after the release, I am able to be more balanced.
Tell us the one thing that makes your dual-working military family successful?
Prioritizing. Recognizing that both of our jobs are equally important yet different.
I might not have to leave for months at a time or have a strict reporting schedule but my husband understanding that my job is just as important when creating family plans.
On my side, it means recognizing that due to his (often) constantly changing schedule, I might have to reschedule meeting with manufacturers or going to the fabric store or postponing virtual meetings. There are definitely times when it’s frustrating (i.e PCSing and trying to navigate adapting new shipping procedures, learning local laws) but we’re able to make it work.
Choose one – coffee, wine, water, soda: coffee
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without: My phone
Favorite app? Google Drive. I love being able to access all of my files on the go.
Must-have song on your productivity playlist? I don’t have a specific song but (I like listening to) my “Pitch Perfect” Pandora playlist
Leave us with some wise words…
Don’t just create a business because you want a business. Create a business out of something that you love and something that’s important to you. That’s what will help you get through the tedious work and hard times.