Act 2: You're On!

Mother & Daughter Team, Debbie & Baylee Donovan, Create the Successful Baylee Bee Boutique

November 21, 2022 Kate & Rhonda Season 3 Episode 7
Act 2: You're On!
Mother & Daughter Team, Debbie & Baylee Donovan, Create the Successful Baylee Bee Boutique
Show Notes Transcript

In a conversation that will not only inspire but warm your heart, you get to meet Debbie and Baylee Donovan, the remarkable mother-daughter team behind a charming little but hugely noteworthy boutique called Baylee Bee. These remarkable entrepreneurs have always shared a deep interest in fashion - not couture, per se - but affordable, fun fashion and the duo saw an opportunity in their hometown. After a lot of hard work and planning - they cannonballed into business. The boutique has been a phenomenal success - not only financially but also personally for the twosome. Baylee Bee opened in November of 2020 - and despite the pandemic - Baylee Bee has not looked back; in fact, they are in the midst of negotiations about opening up other sites. With an exceptional vibe and a savvy finger on the ever-changing fashion industry, Baylee is one of the few boutiques appropriate for every generation.   

Learn how the store has helped Baylee find her voice, providing Debbie with the dream of thriving alongside her daughter, and collaborating on something they love. Settle in for an inspirational reinvention and transformation story.

Highlights Include:

“...if you want really want to do something, you’ve just got to do it. You can't wait; you have got to make it happen. And it's so much work. But…it's so worth it. I mean, we're here, sometimes 12 hours a day, but if you love it - I mean, we love it. So that's great. But…you’ve just got to do it.”
- Debbie

“If you're trying to open a business or just in general, I think being confident in yourself is helpful, also self-talk… I know, that's weird to say. But sometimes, you just have to look yourself in the mirror and say, “Hey, you got it today.” I think that like changes your output on yourself and your outlook…even if  something's hard, ask for help communicating…and then just go from there.”
- Baylee

For more information :
Links:
Website : www.bayleebee.com
Facebook: @bayleebeeclothing
Instagram: bayleebeeclothing

Support the show
Rhonda: Welcome to Act 2:

You're On. Join Us Weekly at our studio roundtable as Rhonda

Kate:

and Kate invite spectacular guests to weigh in on staying vibrant and healthy.

Rhonda:

Launch your next great app with authenticity and purpose

Kate:

Summon your courage superstar and step into the limelight. So grab a coffee

Rhonda:

or a martini

Kate:

and let's set the stage for a grand entrance. It's Act Two.

All:

You're on.

Kate:

Greetings friends and welcome I'm Kate Leavey and I have the great pleasure of podcasting with my dear friend and dynamic cohost

Rhonda:

Rhonda Garvin Conaway here and we of course are joined by our very talented producer Cathy Carswell.

Kate:

Friends, I speak for our entire A2YO team in studio here when I say how thrilled we are to talk to our two guests today, Debbie and Bailey Donovan, the remarkable mother-daughter team behind the success story behind a charming little but hugely noteworthy boutique called Baylee Bee. So let me tell you about these remarkable women these remarkable entrepreneurs. Baylee Donovan graduated from Dean College in 2017 with an associate degree in general studies and went on to earn her culinary certificate. Debbie Donovan holds a business degree from Salem State University and an M Ed from SSU. They both have always been fascinated by fashion. Seeing an opportunity for Natick and recognizing their town needed a local boutique, they dived in and went for it and Baylee be opened in November of 2020. So that's gonna be an interesting part of this conversation. And Baylee Bee has not looked back. If you have not visited this charming boutique, it is a destination spot, and well worth the trip. Nestled in the bustling downtown of Natick, Massachusetts, it's a great place to visit. Snuggled with other charming shops and surrounded by great restaurants and coffee shops. Baylee Bee has a great collection of clothes for all women to relax and snuggle up in. The clothing ranges from cozy casual to funky, Bohemian and work ready combos. The store itself is inviting and it also has clever gift items, making a perfect destination for shopping for self or others. Welcome to the Baylee Bee duo.

Debbie Donovan:

Hi.

Baylee Donovan:

Hi, everyone.

Debbie Donovan:

Thank you so much. Oh, that was such an introduction. wonderful introduction. Thank you, Kay,

Kate:

well, we are super fans here and often decorated ourselves right from Baylee Bee. In fact, our producer, I don't know that she owns any other clothing except for the clothing of Baylee Bee

Rhonda:

It is true. She walks through the threshold. We love that. Where do you get it? Baylee?

Kate:

It's such a cool place. I really I can't tell folks - you have to go. It really is a destination spot. And I what I personally love about it is that it's one of the few places besides you know, if you go to the dreaded mall, where I can go with my two daughters who are 16 and 18. And they're very cool. And I'm not. And I can find clothing at Baylee Bee. And they can find clothing and they have very different styles from each other. Yeah. And it's unique and it's reflective of each of us. It's a really savvy place. Or they are we can get cool jewelry or if you need to get an item for a housewarming. It's just Yeah, it really is. It's a remarkable shop.

Rhonda:

Thank you so much. Yeah, well, we're definitely having a lot of fun with it. Right, Baylee? Yeah. You're silent there. When we first opened it was during the pandemic, which was it was definitely a little crazy. But and we started off with just a lot of casual wear and a lot of cozy fleece and sweatshirts and loungewear. And we weren't quite sure how things were going to go. It just we just decided we were tired of thinking about it. And we just jumped right in. And sadly, there were a number of vacancies downtown because of the pandemic and one thing just kind of led to another and it's snowballed into, into Baylee Bee. We weren't going to go with Baylee Bee for a name we just, we had struggled so hard to find the right name, and we call Baylee "B" the way, Her nickname is B and we've called her b since she was a baby but I have two other daughters. So we were trying to kind of incorporate like the whole you know, all three of the girls and then our last name is obviously Donovan, but that sounded like a pub. Like Donovan's. When push came to shove, we just said Baylee - it's going to be it's going to be your name. And it's kind of caught on.

Kate:

Oh, it's so adorable. It rolls off the tongue. But when did you decide you know we want to be in fashion we want to be we want to open up boutique, and I kind of want to know the story behind that store that idea for the store.

Rhonda:

So Baylee has her culinary degree certificate- right Bales, so we were - she wanted to really try and open like

Baylee Donovan:

a bakery cafe type thing

Rhonda:

Opening during a pandemic with any business but forget it you just it wasn't feasible with a cafe or a bakery, but we wanted to definitely open something Baylee had had been furloughed from our jobs. And we just figured let's just, let's just see what happens. But we've always I have two other girls, as I've mentioned, and we've all loved fashion, but it's not high fashion that we've always loved. I mean, who doesn't love high fashion, it's been always been very whimsical and fun and clothing that makes you smile, really, when you come in. And as you see, we don't have a lot of your basics in the shop. It's a lot of patterns and prints and color. We wanted to make it affordable. We originally from Marblehead, which is all boutiques. So we've been shopping in boutiques for a long time working in them too. But you can't go into a boutique typically and, you know, buy something for you know, under $75. Yeah, that's kind of the story behind it. And I'm the type of person that once I get something in my mind, I just jump right in. And let's just see what happens. You know what if you don't, you're gonna regret it if you don't try it. So

Kate:

Indeed. So that's great encouragement, sometimes you just have to jump right in. So Bailey, here's a question Who does the buying and the layout for your store.

Baylee Donovan:

So it's usually both my mom and I - we do the bind together, our employees will help us out too. So there's Reed and Sammy, and another girl named Bailey. And they'll also pick out clothes that they like as well. And it's all different styles, which is great. Sammy likes more of the neutral colors. Reed loves the fun. - Yeah, pink in ruffles and lace. And then there's Bailey, who's more, she loves bohemian type clothing. So it's really cool to have everyone all together kind of bring up ideas and the layout - I want to say that's more of my mom and Sammy who do that.

Rhonda:

Sammy is amazing at merchandising her eye for color, and, and just - the way she visualizes things is is remarkable. It's really remarkable. In fact, if she doesn't do it, I'm sad. Like you just come in and fix the store make it look great

Kate:

Well, this collaborative approach totally works. Because there's a great vibe there. The moment you walk in, there's just such interesting design of the store itself, but there's every kind of I don't know, it feels very trendy, but it's also somehow functional. And I feel like your windows are really welcome the layout of the store. And you have these beautiful, the most adorable giant murals on the walls of I mean, these enormous bees they are so cute. The the artistis amazing.

Rhonda:

The artist is a friend of ours that did that. I've known him since he was a little guy and he came in and did that. I don't know couple of hours freehand just got up on a ladder and painted the bumblebees.

Kate:

That's insane. And does in what's his name? And does he do mural work?

Rhonda:

Lyndon Walker Yep, he does murals. He does. Graphic novels. He's incredibly talented. Yeah, They are so striking and adorable. It is environment you don't want to leave when you're in? Well, that's our I think that's what we really wanted. Right? Baylee, we wanted it to be inviting because again, a lot of times I've been into boutiques and you feel like you're kind of sneaking around, you just don't feel really comfortable. Nobody talks to you. And just even if they're not buying or not, you know, just first time people come to you just want them to feel like okay, maybe that's stuff and there's not my style. But we'll come back sometime just to look around again and say hi, or you know, I mean, we'd like it to be just an inviting space. I mean, we get a lot of - on Wednesdays when school is a half day- we probably have 20 kids in here sitting on the floor. And they got all that like we have these crop charms and they're all out like, it's just it's so cute. Or you know, what I love is how many different people have already heard you mention and the collaboration that goes on to make this store something special. I'd love you to share a little bit because I'm super curious about what it's like to collaborate as mother and daughter and work together in this business with one another. Really Why don't you answer that? Because I think you should answer first can wait. That'll be great. Okay,

Baylee Donovan:

So for me, my mom and I have always been very close. She's some one who I talk to a lot and just kind of figure out like, oh, - what looks good with clothing wise to just like works, especially with events. Last year, I had a ton of weddings that I had to go to. So my mom was someone who helped me figure out what I should wear - which has been great. We do get on each other's nerves a little bit. But that's any mother daughter

Rhonda:

I get on your nerves more than anything, you don't get on my nerves daily at all.

Baylee Donovan:

But we make it work and we just kind of get has worked out in the in the good more than in the bad.

Rhonda:

There's nobody else I would rather have a partnership with. And she's amazing. And she's learned so much and has truly floored me on how much she's I think you've surprised yourself to Bales is and how much she's learned and capable of and just her she's been kind of a quiet child most of her life. So I think that the store has forced her to use her voice, you know, in a lot of different situations and just kind of get herself out there and talk to strangers is something that you are not always comfortable, comfortable doing. And now you're like you're an old pro. When I don't talk over you. I've enjoyed it all. I think I probably drive her crazy, because I'm a little bit of a perfectionist, the windows or anything that's wrinkled, or it just, it makes me crazy. So I think the girls, I can definitely drive them all crazy. But more so Baylee, because she's with me every minute. So I'm like, females get that be get that. You need to do this, you need to do that. But I think overall we get along really well.

Baylee Donovan:

Yeah, we do. Yeah.

Rhonda:

What's the secret to that? Well, Baylee is literally like an angel on Earth. So first of all, she's literally the sweetest human on the planet. And I've told my daughters who are amazing, but they'll say the same exact thing. She's literally the sweetest person you'll ever meet in your life. So she makes it really easy. She makes it very easy. And I've actually learned a lot from her too, because I am kind of all over the place and lose focus sometimes. And she has taught me a little bit to like slow down and just, you know, it's not doesn't need to all get done in a day, we can take our time and it'll get done. That's just one little bit have learned from her over the years. So she's, she's an amazing, amazing person.

Kate:

Well, from the outside looking in, you seem to have such a lovely, graceful relationship. So thank you for you know, showing us behind the scenes, your relationship really sets the tone for the environment. And it's such a pleasure to be in there. I love to come in and I find antique shopping can be very, I don't know, intimidating. I think of the Pretty Woman moment where, you know, you have these snooty people there's snooty style and you feel like why am I in this store. But they're I don't know, I feel very empowered. And it's the right amount of assistance, but also just kind of letting you browse. And I love that.

Rhonda:

Oh, good. Thank

Kate:

you. And it saves me from having to go to the mall. But what's the biggest challenge your company has faced to date?

Baylee Donovan:

Definitely. COVID has hit hit the hardest for sure. Just because when we first started out, we literally were in my parents house. And we had boxes everywhere. And we had no store yet. And everything was like just crazy.

Rhonda:

It was it was so up in the air for a while because of because of the pandemic. That was definitely a challenge. And even though we you know, we decided we're going to do it. It's just - then there were all these different regulations. And then then you start thinking, oh, gosh, you know, we hit the ground running in the sense that we opened right before the holidays. So and people were at that time were so desperate just to get out of their house. So we would have only had six people in the store. But it'd be like 20 degrees out and we'd have a line waiting to get in. And you know, everyone's masked up and, and you can't try clothes on. But the support was it was remarkable. It was remarkable. And we were so appreciative of it and then we kept waiting like okay, maybe this was just because people were so desperate to get out and actually feel close again and not order everything online. And then it just kind of continued you know that we had to hire girls to help us and we just couldn't keep up with everything. Especially because I'm old and the whole Instagram and all that - I mean I was I was okay with it. But it's just so overwhelming. Just that whole things we have Baylee was pretty good on it and then Reed - one of the girls - has really taken that load off for me but that's how you mark it now. I mean it's the Tick Tock the all the social media It's just as you guys know, right? Yeah, it's just everything is for everybody to see. It's incredible. Starting a business and working as an entrepreneur, what lessons you learn every single day, and venturing into the great unknown. I love Debbie, how you've talked about what you've learned from your daughter, and Baylee, I'd love you to share a little bit maybe about what you've learned from working with your mom.

Baylee Donovan:

Oh, of course. So what I've learned from my mom is sometimes it's okay to be a little bolt, especially when it comes to customers - not in their face type bold, the more like, power of suggestion, if you see someone wanting a dress, and you know, something, that has sold well - suggest that dress to them, and usually 10 out of 10, they'll buy it because they like how the fit fits them pretty much. Being confident, she's helped me with confidence, a ton. I don't give myself credit, when I should, sometimes it's nice to hear from someone being like, hey, you've really have been doing a great job, you should give yourself more credit and more confidence in yourself. So I think just owning a clothing store, generally, and just dealing with all sorts of customers has definitely built my confidence for sure. When you're welcome customers in, like, welcome in to the store. And just like, you know, kind of make it feel like a home to them. Just watching my mom have has been doing that for a while. So learning that from her has helped to

Rhonda:

Baylee, you've also sometimes customers are not always the nicest, and are a little abrupt, your skin's a little bit thicker now to where - they're not attacking you. They're just maybe having a bad, bad day, or a lot of women we see come in they've, they say, Oh, I don't like myself, you know, it's just me try and find something that's, you know what, so what we all put on a little bit of weight over the pandemic, try this make it something that makes them feel good. You know, it's just, you've been like, amazing at that, like assessing what somebody might like or what what's not going to work for them. But yeah, so I think most of the customers have been, you know, they're amazing, so sweet. And it's families. It's not just, you know, it's mom, grandmas. It's generational is what that's what our focus we really changed to after the pandemic. And we people were starting to go out and had weddings and events and they were like, Can we get some dresses? And I'm like, Oh, my God, yes. Do it. And then we went crazy. Now I feel like oh, we have our dresses. Anyways, I don't even remember what you were you were asking Baylee what she learned for me and I took

Kate:

This was such a beautiful exchange. Because in one moment you're saying this is been a place where your daughter has found voice. And then in the next she saying my mom has helped me to be more bold. And it's that was just a lovely thing to witness. And also, I do need a dress. I'll come down - Now!

Rhonda:

I just say yeah, that will you just modeled and Kate you did a beautiful summary of that. My first time coming in the boutique. I met you both and I don't know what made me turn to you, Debbie and say is this your store and without skipping a beat? You gestured. This is my daughter's store and you are so gracious in empowering one another to have ownership over this beautiful thing and community. It was a lesson for us all. Aw, thank you so much. Thank you. I'll never forget that moment. It's quite beautiful.

Kate:

And I think you are adaptive. Like I think your store is always changing and adapting. And you've lived through this really challenging time to open a store and just the way it's changed - but the one thread that has always been right from the beginning is this tremendous sense of welcome, which definitely helps me as a shopper.

Debbie Donovan:

Thank you. I'm glad to hear that because that's really was a focal point for us just to make it very inviting and happy place.

Kate:

Well, you have achieved that for sure. I'm getting the signal from my friend Cathy Carswell back there. And that's that we are reaching the point where we shift to the...golden nugget. So Baylee and Debbie, this is a segment of our interview where we invite you to weigh in on what you think our listeners might need to know to be successful in their next great act or if they're at a point of transition. It could be anything from you know, a family mantra or something that you've learned from opening up Baylee Bee but something that our listeners might really benefit from hearing.

Rhonda:

Do you want to go first daily?

Baylee Donovan:

Sure. Oh, I would if you're trying to open a business or just generally, I think being confident in yourself, also self talk to like, I know, that's weird to say. But sometimes when you look yourself in the mirror and say like, Hey, you got it today. Like, I think that like changes your output on yourself and your outlook. And also just, even if it if something's hard, ask for help communicate with whatever's going on, and then just go from there.

Kate:

I think those are - that's excellent. Mm hmm.

Rhonda:

Nice job, Bailey. Thank you, I think pretty along the lines of Bailey in the sense that if you want really want to

Kate:

It's a great mindset. And a great tip that that self-talk do something, just got to do it. You can't, you got to make it happen. And it's so much work. But it's so worth it. I mean, we're here, sometimes 12 hours a day, if you love it, too. I piece is important. You heard it -you were saying of people mean, we love it. So that's great. But it's just you got to - you just got to do it. After a while thinking about things. It's just, I don't know what I was starting to feel like, we're just we keep talking about this. But we need to make it happen. coming in and having negative self talk. And often clothing So I think just jump right in, and just go for it. See what happens. jump right in. If it fails, it fails, then you can try again, try something different. does bring us to that point, looking in the mirror and self talk. I mean, we the way we will speak to ourselves. And it may be talked to ourselves like, you know, we're looking at a friend in the mirror. I think those are great tips. Thank you so much.

Rhonda:

Those are amazing tips. Thank you. Before we go, I am actually the person today who's in charge of saying it's that time, but we would love to hear what's coming next for you both for the store. What's on the horizon? Well, we are trying to grow the business, obviously. So we've been reaching out a lot to trot. We're hoping to do a fashion show. So that's one thing that we're we've been working on for this summer and pop ups. We've been trying to get into the seaport. I mean, we're just really trying to focus on growing the business. But we'll see. We'll see how it goes. I mean, yeah, yeah, just really a lot of people have asked if we're going to open another store. So I don't know. We'll see. Let's see what happens. Maybe. Yeah,

Baylee Donovan:

Maybe - we'll see.

Kate:

yeah, you've got a special something to offer. I think that's fantastic. So maybe a franchise, or we're so grateful. Maybe an empire I still like the idea of the bakery. I'm stuck on that idea.

Rhonda:

We have to find some way to incorporate Bailey's baked goods. They're incredible. Her chocolate chip cookies. They're unbelievable. Yeah, we had them in here. But we we you know, we couldn't sell them just because of the pandemic, obviously. And even when we had them as samples, there were very few people that would even, you know, try them. So maybe now it was we always have our candy dish. Right, Bailey.

Kate:

I appreciate that. No, I'd like that. Baylee's bakery. Sounds good. Next door. Well, yeah, thank you both for this conversation. Debbie - Baylee.

Rhonda:

Thank you for having us.

Kate:

Thank you for joining us today. Great rolemodeling. So lots of wisdom.

Debbie Donovan:

Thank you.

Kate:

Well, it's our pleasure. Thank you so much.

Rhonda:

And we will be on the lookout for what comes next. And I'm sure all of you listening will be listening and wanting to know more. So here's how you can keep in touch. Learn more about these extraordinary women at their website. Bayleebee.com Let me spell it for you. It's ba y. L ee. Bee.com. And you can follow them on Instagram and of course on Facebook.

Kate:

And we must say a special thanks to the talented and very well-dressed producer behind the scenes here- Cathy Carswell - big fan of Baylee Bee. And so it is left to me to say go forth and be brave like Baylee Bee live well and do good because it's act two

Rhonda:

you're on.

Kate:

Act Two you're on was brought to you by act 2 Share our stage. You can find us at a 2 y o.com and also on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Rhonda:

Please download listen and subscribe. Wherever you find your podcast. You can support us using Patreon for buy us a coffee.

Kate:

I do like coffee.

Rhonda:

No no, you don't need any more caffeine, Kate. Buy us a coffee is a platform that folks can use to support entrepreneurs oars and artists like us

Kate:

so we can keep providing resources for the doers and dreamers to find connection, purpose and the skills needed to create a sustainable, fulfilling life to better serve the world. And also - so we can buy more coffee.

Rhonda:

Oh Kate, thanks for listening, everyone.