“I was 45 years old when I discovered what I really wanted to be when I grew up,” Michelle Scheid laughs. And that was opening her own women’s clothing shop, Mainstream Boutique. She’s expanded to two locations…one in The District at Prairie Trail and one in Waukee.
Before she had children, she spent several years working full-time as a marketing professional. When her daughters were born she stayed home with them until they entered preschool. As the kids grew older, Michelle went back to work part-time. She also created jewelry that she’d sell on the weekends at farmer’s markets.
She valued every step along her professional journey. But she continued to have a feeling that she wasn’t doing all that she was meant to do. Her soul yearned for something more.
With many more working years ahead of her, Michelle knew she wanted to do something she was passionate about. And then she was introduced to Mainstream Boutique.
Time to Just Do It!
One of Michelle’s dear friends saw the potential for Mainstream Boutique with Michelle at the helm before she did. She shared, “You really need to do this. I think you will love it.” Michelle listened to the idea of opening her own boutique but really didn’t entertain it.
Michelle and her husband aren’t risk-takers by nature. This was going to push them outside their comfort zones. It would require a significant financial investment. It was something entirely new (Michelle didn’t have a retail background). And, there were no guarantees this was what Michelle was meant to do. But after putting the idea on the back burner for a bit the Scheids decided to take the plunge. They opened their first Mainstream Boutique in November 2015. They haven’t looked back since.
A Wonderful Way to Spend a Day
To walk in to Mainstream Boutique is to immerse yourself in special experience, thanks to Michelle’s vision and leadership. The boutique is light and airy, with a welcoming seating area of cushy upholstered chairs, an oversized floor-to-ceiling mirror and beautiful light fixtures. Guests are invited to have a cup of coffee, sometimes a glass of wine, while they take in the carefully curated mix of on-trend dresses, coats, tops, sweaters, pants, jeans, and jewelry. A wide range of high quality shoes, boots and purses (think Hobo collection) are available. Plus they have gift items like aromatic candles and sassy cards.
Michelle’s vision is making every woman feel special when they enter and beautiful when they leave with clothing that makes them feel their best. Her customer-focused philosophy has earned her shops a loyal following.
Lessons of Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship has taught Michelle a number of things. Through trial and error she has learned to keep a sharp focus on set business objectives and keep moving decisions forward. “Movement is really important,” she says. She doesn’t hesitate to seek guidance from other business owners. And she consults with those she trusts as mentors and advisors. She’s found there are things you just don’t love to do (such as year-end taxes!). So, it’s important to enlist others to help support your business when they have the expertise that you don’t. Most importantly Michelle has learned relationships are the essence of a business, particularly one like Mainstream Boutique that is so customer focused.
“I couldn’t have done it in my 20s and 30s,” she says. “Even though there are lots of entrepreneurs who do, I would not have been prepared. Having had some life experiences that built character and grit helped prepare me to be a business owner.”
People think that owning a boutique must be glamorous, but “it is not glamorous,” she laughs. In fact, she says it’s the hardest work she’s every done. But guess what? It is also the most rewarding. It’s work that clearly brings her great joy.
For example, when Michelle went to her first market to select brands and inventory, she had never felt more alive and in a place that she absolutely needed to be. Every time she gets to go to market, it’s a pure privilege, she says. “It’s one of the very most enjoyable things I’ve ever done in my life,” Michelle shared.
Until owning Mainstream Boutique, Michelle never felt quite like she had hit the sweet spot professionally. But it turns out her friend was right — owning a boutique is precisely what Michelle was meant to do.