Episode #9: Update on our Florida Bnb Projects

Hi there! This week’s episode:

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher.

Show notes:
If you missed our 2020 bnb announcement in episode 5, you can listen to it here. As a quick recap, we each purchased a home in an Orlando, Florida suburb to create family-friendly vacation homes. Emma’s is Harry Potter-themed, mine (Elsie’s) is Disney-themed.

Emma’s house: Here’s a link to Emma’s first Harry Potter-themed house update. And here are some photos—

In this episode, Emma gives a full recap of her 17 days in Florida where she fully set up her new bnb. Over the next few months, Emma has several more blog posts where she will share photos of each room of her new bnb.

Elsie’s house: In the episode, I talk about how I purchased the home furnished. Here is a photo from before we purchased it (you can see the same room below in a new photo with our quick mini refresh). We’ll be doing more renovating in April.

And here are a few photos from our recent trip.

In this episode, we also talk about our past retail adventure. Here are some photos of our brick and mortar store (RIP).

We both felt that our brick and mortar retail advice was a tad harsh, but it’s super honest and advice we truly stand by. I hope it’s not too sad! 99% of our heartbreaks in business have been retail-related, so if nothing else, it’s a sober warning. We completely understand why it’s a dream to open a boutique—we still get warm fuzzies every time we walk into one! Anyway, I’ll stop with the disclaimers now and if you’ve had a retail adventure of your own we’d love to hear about it in the comments!

xx- Elsie + Emma

Episode 9 Transcript

Emma: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast and this week’s episode, we are sharing a major update on our Florida House projects, which we first talked about in episode five. And we’re also answering a reader question about our past career in brick and mortar retail. Remember that you can find all the show notes with lots of extra links, photos, other information at abeautifulmess.com/podcast.

Elsie: We just got back from Florida and Emma. Were you there for 18 days?

Emma: Seventeen days, according to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. That’s when I realized it. When I got to the brick, whatever the place where you got your car. And they’re like, so, Miss Chapman, you’ll have this car for 17 days. And in my mind, I was like, oh, my gosh, I’m gonna be gone for…And it was like that was when I realized, yeah.

Elsie: So Emma was there for more than two weeks. I was just there for our long weekend. So if you missed our announcement in Episode 5, though, let’s quickly recap what why we were in Florida and what we were doing there.

Emma: The gist of it. In case you’re driving and you can’t go back and you’re like, please just tell me what’s going on. Is Elsie and I both bought a house right outside Orlando, Florida. It’s in an area called Davenport. We each have a house. It’s in the same neighborhood. It’s about a three minute walk. And we’re both going to turn them in to short term rentals. Elsie’s was already furnished and she’s kind of working with that. And mine was completely empty. And we did some kind of minor ish, I put it in the middle, renovations and we’re getting ready to list them. So last time we had just bought them, I had seen my house Elsie hadn’t even seen hers. And now the houses are kind of at a place where they’re getting ready to be listed. When we bought the house, we hadn’t even seen it in person. We had seen photos online and you’re the same way. So…

Elsie: It’s so crazy. I never thought I would do that in my life. Like I never expected to buy a house. I hadn’t seen. But in this type of situation, it’s not that big of a deal.

Emma: Well, we’d seen all the photos online. We had an inspection. So, yes, it is very different to be inside of a space over seeing photos of it online. But at the same time, we weren’t planning to live in this home. We were planning to rent out. So it’s just kind of a different thing. And also, I do recognize sometimes people have situations where they have to buy a house that they can’t see. You know, I’ve had friends who’ve been…them or their partner’s in the military and sometimes things like that happen. So, you know, it’s not crazy unusual. It was just kind of different for us. So wanted to point that out. But Trey and I did see the house one time before I went and lived there for two weeks. And we’d gone, it was completely empty. It was right after we bought it. And I got a lot of measurements. I was trying to figure out what size rugs and furniture things could be. So I don’t want to buy a couch that’s too big for the space. Things like that. Still, the timeline was after that initial visit. We then had our contractor, which his name’s Steve Dennis, and he’s great. So if you’re in the Davenport area and you need someone, send us an e-mail. Yeah. Some guy named Steve. Just kidding. That’s a that’s a callback to the some guy name Collin thing. But anyway, Steve’s awesome. If you need someone, email us. I’ll give you his number. He’s rad. But anyway, so we had contractor work done before I arrived. So what he did and his team, he has a few people he works with was take out and put in new floors throughout the first floor and paint basically all the walls. And we did the kitchen backsplash tile and a couple other things. And most of that, like 90 percent of that was done by the time I arrived. So he’d been doing that all of October. I arrived November 8th and I was there November 8 through 25th. And it was pretty much done. He had a couple minor things. He was still finishing up. But yeah, when I was there, my goal was to decorate, furnish light fixtures, paint a few more things, really just set it up in a way where it was ready for people to use it and live in the space.

Elsie: I just want to say just wanna jump in and say, like, if you’ve never done an air BNB, you would be shocked how different it is to setup a house when you don’t have anything to move into it from your previous house like most of us when we move. You know, we take a bunch of stuff from our previous home. We have a garage full of extra stuff that we don’t know where it goes for six months and all of that. But when you don’t take anything and you have to buy like even your pizza cutter and even your, you know, coffeemaker, every single thing, it really adds up both on the expense and also just the time it takes to set it up. When we did our Nashville houses, it took me several months. And I think I thought initially, oh, I can do this super quickly. But it was so many trips to target, like we would do a trip to Target, take a cart to the car, go back in, get another cart taken another trip to the car. And that really is what it’s like. When you’re doing one of these houses, like trying to set it up from absolute scratch.

Emma: These are two opposite feelings I had about it and they both existed within me while I was there. But they are opposites. So it’s kind of weird. But I felt both like this is such a strange and exciting thing I’m doing. I’m making a Harry Potter house. I’m doing it in two weeks. It felt like I was on a TV show, but nobody was filming it. So I was like, really cool. But then the other side of it was it felt very not boring, but like monotonous, like it felt like, you know, the movie Groundhog Day, is has Bill Murray, have you ever seen that? It felt like that where every day I would wake up and I would do basically the same thing, set up furniture, paint something, eat the same thing. Like, I ate the exact same meals all the time because there is no point in like cooking. No one was there. And it’s kind of an empty house. When I got there, I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor and I didn’t even really have like a side table or a lamp or all my silverware yet or this or that. And as the two weeks went on, by the end, it was like I had a bed frame and a lamp and silverware and pizza cutter, you know, and it just felt like a home and it just went from zero to ten in a way. And it was just funny and strange and it felt like a TV show, but it also felt like the most boring TV show ever if you had to watch it because it was just me sitting up furniture. Yeah, I listened to a ton of podcasts though. While I was setting up the furniture my my top two: How I Built This, which is like if you’ve never heard it, it’s from NPR. It’s people’s stories about how they build their businesses and it’s really rad. I listen to a ton of those and then I also listen to a good amount of My Favorite Murder which is a yeah, comedy true crime podcast. But my rule with myself was no true crime after 1 p.m. because I was living in the house by myself and I would freak myself out. So I was kind of like that was what was keeping me company as I tried to set up and I had texted you one time Elsie. I was like, I got a TV show idea: So You Think You Can Set Up Furniture? And here’s what the contestants do. They set up furniture and they could be different like challenges, like set it up as fast as you can set up by yourself when you really need a second person.

Elsie: Try not to curse try not to throw something.

Emma: Exactly. And that’s when I would lose. They would be like, oh, you yelled. You lost this round. Oh, you cursed. She lost. So, yeah, it was it was really fun. It was a strange experience, but really, really fun. And something I definitely will look back on and be like “that was, that was something”. Towards the end of my second week for about, I think five days, Keely came. And Keely, if you all don’t know, she edits this podcast. So she’s listening right now. And she cuts out all the garbage that we say or just like the awkwardness. But Keely came and she helped me set up some bunkbeds and some other things. And so I was really grateful to have someone there and just be a little less lonely. That was nice. And then at the very end of the two weeks around the time Elsie arrived, which she is gonna give you her update, too. But our photographer that we work with from Nashville, Amber, she arrived and you’ve probably seen her if you follow us on Instagram. She’s really beautiful. She has red hair, very talented photographer. So she came. So I kind of had a very like clear deadline on when these rooms had to be finished because I had had to photograph them and then leave town again. So that was. You know, a lot of pressure. But after a while, I felt like I knew I was going to make it. And then I. I was like, OK. Everything’s OK. But before that, I was just very like scrambling, going crazy, staying up till nine or 10, waking up at 6:00 a.m., like just trying to get everything done. And yeah, like driving to Target, driving to Wal-Mart driving to Home Depot. Over and over and over again. And I bought a lot of stuff online, too. So, you know.

Elsie: Well, I’ll just say what everyone’s thinking right now. I’m so proud of you. You did a whole house by yourself. Mostly. That’s insane.

Emma: Yeah, I did have some help, though. But yes, I was often by myself, too. And it was. I was getting scared towards the end that I was like hurting my back. I was very careful and I would like if needed, I would like open up boxes and carry furniture up in pieces up the stairs, because I was like, you know, I’m not going to hurt myself like that. I take that kind of thing very seriously. And I think everyone should. You know, you only have one back. You only have one body. And you should cherish and take care of it as best you can. But yeah, I could tell I was like, oh, I’m getting, like, really tired. This is a lot of work. It’s too much work for one person.

Elsie: But you did it.

Emma: It was fun. But the last thing I wanted to say about my update was I don’t know about everyone listening, but if it were me, I would be curious a little bit about, hey, how much did this cost?

Elsie: Literally all they care about is money.

Emma: I’m kind of like that too, I like to have numbers. Yeah. So I added it all up because I had a budget and a spoiler: I went slightly over budget, but I think I could do a better job if I ever had to do this again. But I kind of hope I don’t have to. But also, if I had a longer timeline, because then I think you can do things like thrift and, you know, buy things like off Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace friend that whatever. You know, there’s a lot of ways to save money. You have a little bit more time. But anyway, that’s OK. So I added all up. I spent right around $18,000 getting all of the furniture, all the outdoor furniture, silverware, blah, blah, blah. Bed linens, everything for this five bedroom house with eighteen thousand dollars and slightly over the budget. I was aiming for.

Elsie: Does that include like the painting…

Emma: No, no, I wasn’t going to share the labor just because if anyone does want to work with Steve, I feel like oh respectful to let him give you his quotes. So not trying to be secretive about it. I just don’t love to do that because I feel like any freelancer….

Elsie: So this just includes like, the stuff in the house.

Emma: Yeah. This is just furnishings, bed linens, silverware, kitchen stuff, shades, blinds, curtains, whatever. Just all that stuff. Towels, bath towels and a lot of towels…

Elsie: It’s a five bedroom house with what, three bathrooms?

Emma: No, I think there’s four bathrooms or bathrooms. Yeah, there’s four.

Elsie: So yeah it is. She did a good job.

Emma: Yeah. I’m proud of the amount. I’m not like…but it was a little more than I was aiming for. So I’m just a little bit of an overachiever sometimes. Now you I mean also I’m a very like, just get it done person. But yeah. So I was like, oh man, I went over budget. But it was kind of fine. And given the timeline and the size of the house, I think it’s I think eighteen thousand dollars is pretty understandable. But yeah, I would have liked to have spent a little more time thrifting and buying more stuff from Etsy. And I don’t know, just like giving it even more personality. But hopefully when people stay there, they can see how much. I don’t know. Love and magic I tried to put into this Harry Potter inspired house.

Elsie: So absolutely on the show notes. We will definitely put pictures of the highlights of the house. And if the listing is live, we’ll put it in there. And if it’s not live till later, then we’ll add it in when it goes live.

Emma: Ok. Tell us a little more about your update, because even though we’re both doing a house like literally in the same neighborhood and they’re both themed, I feel like your situation is still so different than mine. So how was it for you?

Elsie: Okay. Yeah. Our situations are completely different because when I found out we were doing this house, it was right around the time we got home from China with a baby. And I was on maternity leave for a few months when we were buying the house. I maybe was still on maternity leave. I don’t remember. And I’m so glad we got a furnished house that was truly a life saver for me, because I think that time-wise, it really, really, really is going to help me in the end. So I am doing a phase one and a phase two. And the trip we took this time was our phase one. So I’ll just tell you about the phase one and then. Yeah. Phase two is kind of a bigger makeover where the rooms have more themes and we’ll actually photograph like the tour and stuff like that. And that’ll happen next April. A few things about our trip. So we took our kids with us for a long weekend and my mom came and my mom would babysit the kids. About, I would say like maybe three hours a day and we would do in that time, like speed work, go to Target, go to the different stores we need to go to during their nap time. I would like put all the pictures in frames really quickly and things like that. And so we basically just took the house for what it was. It was an air BnB before, it was a very…I’ll put a few pictures you can just see. It was a very regular looking air BnB. Like if you just imagine the most regular family house ever. That’s what it looked like before we went. We had all the rooms painted white and also by Steve.And so when we got there, we spent most of our time hanging pictures, changing out a few pillows, changing out a few bedspreads and hanging all new curtains and rods. So that’s what we did. I spent about $3,500 on that stuff. I also bought some things you would see in the photos, not props like they were useful things, but things that would show up because I was shooting the listing photos. That’ll be up until we reshoot it in April. So I bought like a better looking coffeemaker and cute floaties for the pool and some things like that too. So yeah, we worked really, really quickly. It was super fun. I, it wasn’t too stressful. I was prepared for it to be very stressful and I was nervous me and my husband would be fighting a lot. But really, it was just I don’t know, we just kind of made it happen. And then at the end of the day, we were just drinking rosé and swimming in the pool with our kids. And we didn’t really have time to fight or worry about anything because we just had to just get it done. And then on the last day we had done our photos on Saturday and then the last day on Sunday we took the kids to Magic Kingdom. And my mom came and it was magical.

Emma: Yeah. Goldie loved it’s a small world.

Elsie: It was so cute.

Emma: I don’t know if you’ve seen the video online. But it was cute.

Elsie: Yeah. I don’t know if I can link the video. I will try to link the video in the show notes. But she was basically shrieking the whole time, like looking around and then just like having convulsions because she was so happy. It was…

Emma: She was like head banging to the music.

Elsie: She is a very musical baby. It was magical. So, OK. A little bit about Emma wrote down for me the question she would want to know. So…

Emma: Yeah, I was like, here’s what I think you should talk about, but no pressure. We do that to each other when we make our outlines. “Here’s what you should say.”

Elsie: I’m thankful because I can just talk forever about just like framing photos and everyone’s like, okay, move along. All right. So she said, how do you decide what to keep and want to get rid of from an already furnished home?

Emma: Yeah because I didn’t have to do that. It was empty. So I was picking whatever fit my theme. But you kind of have to think like, how is this going to fit my theme later or is this, you know, because everything in the house was functional because it was being rented out before? Yes, well, probably almost everything. There’s a couple of things that like it, but that’s what I kind of wanted to know. So I feel like that is so hard for me to get rid of something that I’m like. This is perfectly fine. But also it doesn’t really it’s not really something that I love or it doesn’t fit what I’m doing. Yeah, I just find that so hard. So I wanted to hear how you did it.

Elsie: Okay. Well, I will say this. It was a lot easier than, like if you’re cleaning out your own garage, then, you know, you come across, you know, an item like, and you think about the money you spent on it or the person who gave it to you. This was much easier. It was like I bought a furnished house. I know it’s not all gonna work. So when we got there, the whole garage was filled up with like all of the like fake plants and vases and art that had been on the walls before they painted. Steve offered to donate it and I basically had him take everything. So we kept like two mirrors and put them back on the walls and then everything else went bye bye. And it really was not emotional for me at all. And then there were some things that were kind of obvious, like the manager came by and she said, you really need to get all new towels. So we got all new towels. And there was like some bath mats that were like looking pretty shitty. And we, you know, got those.

Emma: Ew.

Elsie: Yeah, well there was there was a couple of things like that, but for the most part it was in good condition and there was a few things where I kept it were like I wouldn’t have bought it, but it was already there. Like there’s like this I don’t know, like 90s looking. Really ruffly high chair, and I’m just going to keep it because it’s like we can buy a better looking highchair, but like, does it matter? You know what I mean? It was just kind of nice for some things. It was just nice that they were already there and it was already functioning. And it was good for me being the Enneagram 7 to sort of like lower my standards and tell myself like not everything has to be a certain way. And I’m focusing on the big picture with this house, like I’m focusing on what people are going to, you know, Instagram like what’s going to be in their family pictures, the pool, the magical bedrooms for the kids. I’m not focusing on the kitchen basically at all. Just like letting it be an OK looking kitchen. So, yeah. That’s how we decided what to keep and get rid of. I love the furniture that’s there. There’s like this kind of elaborate set of pineapple dining room chairs. And I’m so excited to paint them when we go back, the furniture that’s there. It’s like not my style, but it’s kind of cool. Like it really works. And I will show before and afters at some point on the blog and you’ll see like the all the furniture in the bedroom that’s going to become the frozen themed bedroom. Totally worked. It was just crazy, you know, that we didn’t pick it out. But it’s there and it works. And we’re really just going to have to do like a snowman mural and some snowflakes and put up some cute art. So that’s actually been great for my situation of being a new mom and not having as much time and energy. Like if I had to do what Emma just did, I don’t think I could right now. So I’m really Greatful.

Emma: Well I was there seventeen days you would have. And I was away from my husband. And I mean, we don’t have kids, but like that would not be ideal…

Elsie: I could not do that now. So your next question was, how much did you spend on the Inish? Oh, I already said that. I said I spent like $3,500.

Emma: Yeah. But I wanted to know if you had a…and you don’t have to say it if you don’t know yet. But do you have a budget in mind for when you do the big makeover in April? And I don’t necessarily mean how much you’re gonna spend. If you have any contractor work, you’re gonna have done, or whatever. You know, that’s that…You can share that if you know. But I mean, more like furnishings, like, hey, you know, for everything that we’re going to do.

Elsie: I was going to say, including the contractor work, that’s the only way I know it. And there’s not a lot of contractor work. Collin and I are going together, so he’s going to install a lot of removable wallpaper so that, you know, price doesn’t factor in because he works for us. Anyway, I’m gonna keep it under $10,000. Around ten thousand. And I think that I can do that because I don’t have to buy mattresses and beds and stuff. I think that’s a very realistic budget. I am going to get a new couch. I’m going to get all new outdoor furniture, some new rugs. We’ve already done all the curtains in the house. And I want to buy a couple pieces of like special artwork…Like custom artwork. Yeah, like a big weaving. And then I have this. I think I’m gonna commission…and I don’t want to spoil it, but I think I’m gonna commission, a big art piece for the dining room. So yeah I’ll spend a little bit on those just because I think it’s special, especially when you’re spending a lot of money on Amazon, which I am, to just do a couple of things that are supporting small artists as well. Yes. So one more thing I want to touch on about our experience and our trip was just how it felt to be there as a family. And this is my favorite part. So we went for, I think, five days, which is kind of a lot for Florida. Like I could totally go for three days, go to the parks one day with our kids at the age they are right now, one day is totally enough for us. One park, one day. But anyway, it was incredible. Like, I really loved the experience of staying in the house, even though it’s not fully, fully decorated yet. I was kind of imagining it in my mind the whole time and then being able to like tell Nova that we were gonna come back. Which was really special for her. She really liked it. I told them that maybe we could come for their birthday someday and things like that. And yeah, it felt very special, like we were starting a tradition which I loved. It’s cool that we’ll have a place that we’ve put love and energy into where we can go for a quick weekend. And I mean, I love the Disney parks, but they’re not gonna be at an age for a long time where we want to spend like a lot of days or make it like a major family trip. We just kind of want to like pop in and pop out. It feels really good that we can do that anyway. We got a Mickey Mouse waffle maker, so we did make breakfast at home every day. And it is so special and magical that that like a meal is something that will repeat at that house. I love that. And anyway, the last thing I wanted to mention is just that we did swim in the pool at least one or two times every single day. We usually did a morning swim and a night swim. And our kids really, really love swimming in the pool right now. It has like a heated pool option, which we were using because it is was kind of chilly. It was perfect for a little family trip. And I’m really excited to go back after we’ve done the full makeover and sort of surprise the girls and like wow them with all the rooms.

Emma: I had a couple things to throw in there, too, with the family stuff. So I did not realize this until we were there. And I had been in the neighborhood, you know, while I was there, I realized as I was like driving out of the neighborhoods to go to Wal-Mart or wherever I was going, that there was like little playgrounds all around the neighborhood where our houses are. So twice, I went with one time with Nova, Goldie and Mom. And then one time with just me and Nova. We walked to one of the playgrounds from our houses and that was just really fun and easy. And it gave us a way to like get out of the house and have like an activity and swing on the swings, go down the slide, you know. So that was, I didn’t even realize those were there. And I was like, oh, this is great. This neighborhood is like all sidewalks. Super easy to walk. You can go to these little playground, super cute. So that was the family thing I wanted to mention. The other thing I wanted to note was I’ve only really posted one Instagram on my personal account about the Harry Potter inspired house. But when I did, I was surprised how many people were commenting about doing a bachelorette party there. Which I had not really had not occurred to me. I would totally have had a Harry Potter bachelorette party. I love Harry Potter. But so but anyway, I was just like, honestly, it would be a great house for a bachelorette party because has five bedrooms, it has a pool, has a hot tub. It’s got lots of like eating options around. And then if you’re the kind of group that wants to go to the parks, you know, then. Yeah.

Elsie: All right. So we’ll transition now to a reader question. Yes. This week’s reader question is from Katie. She says, I’m 20. So in an effort to figure out some sort of plan for my life, I’ve recently been toying with the idea of opening a brick and mortar shop in the next five to 10 years. I recognize how difficult and expensive this venture would be. But in an age where so many industries have gone digital, I crave the tangibility of brick and mortar. I remember when you owned Red Velvet and Emma had her little sweet shop inside. I loved the idea of combining food and retail. My biggest worry is that I have no idea how difficult staying afloat in this type of business would be, and that if I try, I would fail and lose a lot of money in the process. OK. This is like such a juicy question.

Emma: I know…

Elsie: Because we don’t talk about our brick and mortar as much. It’s not my favorite subject to talk about, but we’re doing it now.

Emma: Why don’t you tell? In case anyone doesn’t know that we used to have a brick and mortar. Why don’t you tell them a little bit about it? OK.

Elsie: So in our very, very early days of blogging, we actually had two brick and mortar shops. The first one was super small and tiny. And then at a certain point, we kind of upgraded to a nice large space on a historic street in our hometown, Springfield, Missouri. And we had we basically bought a vintage store from a woman who was ready to retire and then in that store…So it was a vintage store. We set it up kind of super quirky or what was, you know, trendy at the time. And then Emma also had a little shop in there where she sold cupcakes and bubble tea. So it was a magical time in our lives. It’s one of my biggest things, like if I want to go down a rabbit trail in my head, I think about like redecorating those windows. It had huge, amazing windows. And we had like lots of mannequins and lots of Christmas trees and things like that. It was a really, really magical, like movie worthy…Lifetime movie worthy store.

Emma: Yeah. You got married on the top floor.

Elsie: Yes, I got married. On a dangerous…Yeah we had to like build a stair rail just for our wedding.

Emma: We had a couple that got engaged at that store. They came like to shop and to go to the sweet shop and then they they got engaged there and he had emailed us ahead of time and like just done this whole special thing and that…

Elsie: Emma made them a special cupcake.

Emma: …can’t do that on online webs…web. Forget it. I can’t talk.

Elsie: So, yeah, what Katie’s question is saying, like just that having a brick and mortar store, is it more special and nostalgic than having an online shop? Absolutely. Yes. Like one hundred million percent. Every year or two, I go down a little rabbit hole in my mind where I want to open another store. It’s it’s like the greatest business to dream up. But I will say actually doing it every day was not my favorite job I’ve ever had.

Emma: Yep. That’s pretty much what I wrote down too is like there’s two things for me about it. So one, I think there is kind of a cap how much you income you can expect from that type of store because there’s going to be certain overhead. You’re only going to be able to reach so many people. I mean, you could have an online component, but…

Elsie: You have to pay your bills every month, your rent your utilities.

Emma: Right. And I do think having a food component can be a good idea because, you know, like today I’m going to go get lunch with a friend later. I can’t do that on Amazon.com. Right? I have to go to a restaurant in town. And so I think, like, you know, food and drink and things like that and experience, that’s something that online can’t really replicate. But at the same time, I think like retail, there is so much good retail online. So it’s difficult to compete in that way. So anyway, so that I think I would be wary of. But the second thing is I just didn’t love being stuck in my…Oh, by the way, I am having my autumn leaves removed so if you hear that I am really sorry. It’s hard to find time when Elsie and I can record and like no contractors are in her house. No noises are happening. It’s just a very difficult to process. My husband like cook our dogs to his office today so that it would be a little more quiet because they go crazy when someone’s here doing lawn stuff. Anyway, we’re sorry, we’re trying to be professional, but yeah, it’s not working out perfectly ok. Anyway, so the second thing I didn’t love about retail was I didn’t love being stuck to the store hours. So we had set store hours. I feel like it was 11:00 till 7:00. I want to say, but I forget it’s been years now. But if I wasn’t in the store or you weren’t in the store, somebody had to be in the store or we had to put a sign up that said, sorry, we’re closed today. So if you were trying to come buy something, we have to disappoint you. And I I just didn’t love the inflexibility of that. I really like. I mean, I still work like very regular hours, but I just feel like I have so much more like I can go to a dentist appointment or a doctor’s appointment or a hair appointment. And I don’t really have to schedule someone to be in my, like, literal physical space while I go do that. And I just really like that flexibility. So I didn’t love the store hours component of it. But that’s just me. I don’t think everyone would feel that way. Some people thrive on even more routine than I do. So that’s just a personal preference. But here’s my advice. And if you have other advice Elsie you should give it too. But here’s mine is you know, Katie, if you’re listening, what I would do if I were you is I would go work in a brick and mortar store. And I don’t just mean a part time.

Elsie: Like the cutest most adorable one. Yeah. Yeah.

Emma: One you’re really passionate about,.

Elsie: One that feels kind of like what you would want to do and see if you like that life of working there.

Emma: Right. Okay. This is my advice. It’s okay. Just kidding. (laughs) But yeah, for real though, like Elsie said I do think. Find one that you’re actually passionate about. If you’re passionate about big chain retail, go work at a Target. If you’re passionate about something a little bit more boutique but still national. Go work at Anthropologie. If you find something in your town that you’re super passionate about, work at a local boutique. It doesn’t really matter. Find something that you’re passionate about. But don’t just do the entry level part time position. You might have to start there, but work there long enough that you can really become an important part of the team at this at this retail store. And then also, don’t just clock in and clock out. Don’t just show up and do your shift and then leave, really get involved. Really understand, you know, how many customers they have, what ordering is like. What’s it like being the owner of that store? If you have access to them or the manager or whatever, the highest level that you have access to depending on what it is and just really, truly get involved and understand as much as you can possibly understand about that position, which I think would take at least a couple years for almost any job. And if after that you’re like, oh yeah, I’m still super passionate about brick and mortar retail. Maybe with a food component, whatever. Then I would think, OK, now you at least know you really like the lifestyle, you really like the hours, you like everything about about it. And you now have this super valuable experience that you got while making money instead of going into debt learning it all. Then I would consider doing it. But, you know, if you’re not and if you’re not willing, this is gonna be a touch harsh. I always hate to do that, but, I’m gonna do it. If you’re not willing to do that work at least two years at a brick and mortar that you’re passionate about. I really don’t think that you have what it takes to own a business because it is a lot of risk, sweat and stress. I love it. I love my job and I wouldn’t change it for the world. But I do think like taking the time to truly evaluate a situation and if it’s for you, is really, really important. Otherwise, you could spend a lot of money, potentially go into debt or just end up with a business that makes money, but you don’t love it at all. In which case, maybe it would have been better if you had just worked somewhere, and then you could have had more set vacation hours or benefits that you don’t have to worry about or you know. So anyway, that would be my advice.

Elsie: Okay, I have a little bit to add. Okay. That was really good advice. It was harsh, but honestly, like they asked the question and like this. That’s why it’s not my favorite subject to talk about, because I can’t say the whole truth without saying the whole truth. Right.

Emma: And nothing but the truth. So help us…(laughs)

Elsie: I wanted to say it how I would say it too, like if my daughter wanted to do this kind of business venture or like my best friend. Yeah, I would try to talk them out of it. And here’s why: you will hit the cap of what kind of money you can make really quickly within your first couple years if you’re doing a good job. And that is just that alone. To me, there’s a lot of industries that are that way. But I would try to like push someone I loved in a different direction where there was more potential to grow, because I think life is more exciting when you have more potential to grow. But what I would say about retail is if you love retail with all your heart. Try getting like a flea market booth at like the fanciest flea market in your city or something like that. Like try something like that. Try a pop up. Try any kind of idea like a craft fair, any kind of idea where you don’t have to sit in that shop every single day, even if no one comes in, because that’s the part of it that you’re going to hate. And I’ll just I’ll just leave it at that. Yeah, I think that it’s just so it can be a very heartbreaking business venture. And I know why so many people dream of doing it, because we did, too. I still do. I still like fantasize about those store windows. I promise you. But it was a heart…it was probably the most heartbreaking business venture of my life, too. So. Ahh. And with that.

Emma: So if you want to write us an email and potentially get some really soul crushing advice. The email address is simply [email protected] But for real. Thank you, Katie, for your question. I hope that wasn’t too. I mean, I hope it’s encouraging even though it may is discouraging in a way, because it doesn’t mean you don’t have something great to do with your life. You do. You absolutely do. But I think really evaluating some things before you spend a lot of money on a venture is a good idea.

Emma: I agree. There has to be a way to take what you love about that idea and make it something that can grow over time through the years for you. You know, that can keep you challenged.

Emma: Yeah. And I think if you find a way to figure that out, then you’re good. You know, it could be an online component of your retail. It could be that you’re really passion about more the food side. So you’re going to have a bar or restaurant that you’re going to then turn into a bigger franchise or chain or whatever. I think, you know, it’s obvious that a lot of those things can make money. I just think it’s a real uphill battle, which doesn’t mean it’s worth fighting it. It might be, but I think it’s just important to make sure that’s really what you want to do with your life, first.

Emma: Thank you for listening. Thank you for writing in emails. And thank you so much for sharing this podcast. We see you sharing it on Instagram and other ways online and it means a lot. If you have a few minutes right now and you can leave us your review, we would really, really appreciate it. And we thank you in advance.

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  • Ah! In LOVE with the Disney vinyl album covers! We have a few children’s records framed in our playroom/piano room. I wish we had more!

  • Hey! This looks so much fun! I had no idea you guys are doing Florida bnbs too now! I was wondering, is there any way to listen to your podcasts on apps e.g. spotify etc or is it only here? Sorry if i missed it somewhere!
    xo April

  • I’ve been reading this blog for years and years, but the podcast has been a game changer. I feel more engaged to the blog and to you guys. I have even listened to a couple of episodes two times just because I loved the subject matter and wanted to take notes! Well done, ladies!

  • Emma, I’m super curious if the amount you shared included mattresses! Also curious what kind you usually use in your Airbnb’s. We never really get feedback about our mattresses at our Airbnb, but I’m wondering what y’all do as we think about updating ours.

    • It does include mattresses. But I’ll be honest, I basically bought a bunch of different brands, in part based off what would arrive in time as I had a deadline to get my photos done. Some were good and a couple I was not happy with and we’ll likely replace them in another year or so as we have the funds. Of course if we get notes from guests that may move that timeline up.

      One thing I now look for (having learned from this) is mattresses that are not 100% foam. I don’t usually love them, they feel flat, and also I noticed felt kind of hot sleeping on them (mattress covers help).

      In our personal home we recently got an Agility Bed. They are actually going to be a sponsor on the podcast next year. So, wanted to disclose that but this is my REAL opinion: I LOVE our new mattress. If that fits your budget I highly recommend. I am not sure this is active just yet but if you are interested we have a $200 off code: ABM

      But if that doesn’t fit the budget I would just look for something in your price range and mattress size that is not 100% foam. Good luck!

  • I am so obsessed with your podcast! I feel like we (Else, Emma and I) are just three friends hanging out discussing fun things, when I listen! In fact, the only thing I don’t like about this podcast is that there isn’t one everyday for me to listen to!! haha! Elsie and Emma remind me so much of my sister and I and it just makes me so happy to hear you both giggling and having fun! I have never in my life listened to a podcast before and now, and now I am obsessed!

  • I feel the same way that it sounds like most everyone feels. Love y’all’s podcast so much. It has quickly become my #1 favorite in a large library. It’s the perfect blend of casual, on topic, fun, serious, etc. I also agree that I feel like I know y’all now. I’ve been reading the blog nearly from the beginning, and I have such a better connection in this short amount of time. I also REALLY appreciate how honest y’all are. The retail thing was a great example. So many people fluff over everything and people need to hear the truth and real experiences. I’ve appreciated the honesty and authenticity so much. Love love love love love it. Also- both houses are incredibly cute and I’m SHOCKED once again about the power of white paint in Elsie’s bnb. Do you mind sharing what color it is? The most perfect warm but white, white! <3

    • Wow. Thank you! Jessica your comment truly made my day today. I was nervous this episode was too ramble-y or that our answer to that listener question was too long… anyway, really appreciate you taking the time to leave this comment.

  • Y’all really make mondays better with your podcasts! I’ve also enjoyed listening to them. I agree with the above comments- it feels like a couple of girl friends just hanging out and talking, as opposed to other podcasts, where I feel like I’m being talked to.

    I loved that y’all talked about your old brick and mortar stores.
    For the last couple of years I’ve actually worked at my mother in laws boutique and tea room. I definitely agree that to make something like that work food is always a good idea- it’s worked beautifully for ours. It’s a boutique up front and a tea room in the back. Another bonus is Jacksonville FL doesn’t have a lot of tea rooms anymore.
    I would add to yalls advice that in starting a shop, make sure you have a niche- something to make it unique to draw people in.

  • Hello ladies! I love your podcast and I look forward to listen to it every week. It’s so cool to listen to you both just having a conversation and sharing real life with us. Thanks for doing it this way.
    Emma: in this episode you said that you had to work with a tight deadline to put together your airbnb. Why did you give yourself such a tight deadline?
    Thanks ladies! Keep it up!

  • I loved this episode!! I cant wait to see/hear how the FL bnbs unfold in the future. I would love to hear more about the financial side of having properties like this. I love hearing about the numbers and what kind of planning goes into it! Love you guys so much, and I’ve been really really enjoying the podcast so far!!

  • I love this episode! I remember going to your store right after it opened when I visited a friend! You two were so friendly and lovely! I looked at these show notes and I’m in the one of the photos my friend Mary took! Hahaha love that day. ????

  • Hey guys – Katie here! Thanks so much for answering my question. I truly appreciate your honesty on this topic. It’s super insightful, and don’t worry, my dreams aren’t crushed. 🙂 It really helps me to have a better lens to view this topic through.

  • Hi Ladies! Love your podcast, website and all you do! Have been a big fan since the subscription stationary days!

    Just wanted to mention that I live and work very close to Davenport and have experience in this area and with rental properties and management companies. If you’re ever in a pinch and need someone here to check on something, accept a delivery, recommend a vendor, etc – I’m happy to assist if I can. I’m sure that seems random – but just wanted to put the offer out there. I’m sure its a challenge to get things done remotely! Sounds like you have a great contractor though – thats SO important! 🙂

    Hope 2020 brings more good things your way! Looking forward to following along! 🙂
    Jessica
    Kitlife

  • Hi- My family is about to start planning a Disney trip in November. I know my girls would love to stay at Disney themed house. When will it be available?

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