We are so excited about the first post in our “Trailblazer Series”, a new feature on our blog. Each month we will be sitting down for an interview with a woman that inspires us and asking her to share some of her knowledge, experience, and motivation with us.
We were thrilled to sit down for our first interview with Lindsay Liebherr. Lindsay and her mother, Angie Mathey, are the Co-Owners of The White Rabbit, a beautifully curated boutique in St. Louis filled with restored vintage furniture and a terrific mix of unique home décor, gifts, and jewelry. Lindsay sat down with us to share some knowledge and perspective that she has gained in her 12 years of running a successful business.
What is something you wish someone had told you about starting a company?
We would have saved ourselves so much money in the long run if we had spent a little bit of extra money on professional advice in the beginning. We should have had a lawyer help us negotiate our lease and we should have asked our accountant a lot more questions about taxes.
What advice would you give to a woman who is considering starting her own business?
Simply having a passion for something isn’t enough to create a sustainable business. Real success comes from sitting down and making concrete, reasonable goals and then figuring out what steps to take to reach those goals. Then you have to be willing to do your homework. I was intimidated by all of the unknowns at first but I made up my mind that if there was something I didn’t know, I would learn it. My best advice is to read articles, read books, search the internet, ask experts and read blogs until you have your answers. You can figure anything out if you decide that you will never stop trying to learn.
What’s the best career advice you ever received?
The best advice I’ve ever received was actually to not pay too much attention to advice! I’ve been told to raise our prices, lower our prices, get rid of our return policy, etc. Someone told me early on to consider suggestions but ultimately do whatever I believe is right for our business. They were so right. My mom and I talk things over with each other and then go with our gut. We are the ones who are accountable for the business and we have to do what we believe is right.
What do you love about running your own business?
It is so incredibly satisfying to be able to see results from all of your hard work. We have an amazing team of women working with us and it’s wonderful to see the direct impact they have every day on the business. In a large corporation, I feel like people can get lost and don’t really see tangible results from their work. In our business, it feels like we all make a difference in the company, in the community, in our customer’s lives, and in each other’s lives. I wouldn’t trade that for any corporate salary.
Who inspires you as a business woman?
I am really inspired by the older generations of women who insisted that they were worthy of careers and leadership positions while being told that they should be happy in entry level jobs. I try to imagine a workplace where all the men made lots of money and held positions of power while the women assisted them and were told to smile and be pleasant. Some of those women stood up and said that they deserved better and I am so inspired by that. We owe everything to them and we should never forget that someone before us had to fight for the opportunities we have!
How do you stay motivated through difficult times?
I was in the room when my mom was told she had breast cancer. The first thing she said was, “I don’t have time for this. I have a business to run.” While she knew she needed to take care of herself, her point was clear; this was not going to stop her from being successful.
She inspires me to face any challenge with strength and resilience. Any time we’ve faced a challenge, she will say something like, “well, that stinks. So what are we going to do about it?” She has stressed to me that bad things happen to everyone and the only thing you can really control is how you react to it so you may as well stop feeling sorry for yourself and fix it.
What’s been most rewarding?
The most rewarding aspect of running a business is the relationships you build. Our employees and their families are good people and it’s been so wonderful to watch them grow and change over the years. We have also gotten to know so many customers and their families that have inspired us with their enthusiasm and their kindness. I would miss the really sweet “regulars” and our employees the most if we ever had to close.
Who were you before you started your business?
I joined my mom immediately after college so I was a Psychology and Sociology student. I was young and sort of unsure what I wanted in a career. I thought working with her would be temporary but it turned into a passion and I just so happened to have some skills that she was missing and vice versa. We are so ridiculously lucky that our differences complement each other so well.
If you weren’t running your business, what would you be doing?
If for some reason we couldn’t run our business, I would love to be an independent consultant for other small business owners in the St. Louis area. I think it would be really fun to help other women succeed. Sometimes I see what other businesses are doing and I think, if only I could get in there and help them with this….Where do you see your business in
Fill in the blank:
1. Favorite Quote: Done is better than perfect
2. The best lesson I ever learned: Don’t make things about you that aren’t about you.
3. The bravest thing I’ve ever done: Not sure!
4. My greatest fear: Losing my brother
5. My top 3 guilty pleasures: Reality tv, coca cola, reading in the bathtub