Once Upon a Life in Pink Story

Once Upon a Life in Pink Story

Welcome to Life in Pink Boutique, beautiful! My name is Hillary, and I am the owner and creator. A little about me you might find interesting is I actually have a Bachelor’s in Chemistry and  Master’s in Biology degrees. Whaaaat?! Yup! So how did I do a total 180 from science and get into fashion you might ask? Well, I still work a full-time job in a laboratory because science research will always have a special place in my heart and has made me who I am today. BUT, I have ALWAYS loved fashion and shopping and PINK since I was a little girl. Some things literally never change. Right before the pandemic, the idea of starting a boutique and shopping for a living became a dream of mine. I thought to myself, “I can do this!” Then the pandemic struck and the uncertainty of the economy and the financial risk didn’t seem like the right time to start a business. Now looking back, I think I would’ve been okay. However, a year or two past and I couldn’t get the idea of starting a business out of my head. I had all of these visions of the types of clothes I’d sell; fun, colorful, feminine, happy, uplifting, cute, quality, affordable and so much more. I thought if I don’t do this, I never will, and I did not want to live with that regret.

The next thing for me to do was come up with a boutique name; one that wasn’t already taken, jives with the brand I was trying to build, was short and sweet and easy to remember. Not as easy as you may think. Seriously went through about 50 iterations and ideas before I found one that was just perfect and had all the components I envisioned. 

With an available business name and domain, I registered as an LLC with the State of Illinois at 10:31am on October 18, 2021 with the intention of opening strictly online at the start of 2022. At 10:59am the very same day, my mother called me on the phone to share the terrible news that in the beginning of December she was scheduled for a bone marrow (stem cell) transplant due to suffering with a rare form of bone marrow cancer. My whole world stopped in that moment. For anyone that knows me, you know I am extremely close with my mom. We have always been kindred spirits, and we even look alike! She has been a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, never has judged me and always has she supported me my entire life, so I knew I had to put my dream on hold to be there for her. I moved back home while she was in the hospital to help take care of her every day. Even during her weakest moments, she still wanted me to continue working on Life in Pink and making my dream become a reality. I vividly remember when she was feeling nauseous from all the chemotherapy, medications, and having no immune system, she would look at clothing vendors with me online to find ones that were suitable for my brand.

Luckily, and by the grace of God and her amazing doctors and nursing staff, she survived the transplant, was able to go home, and now, more than one year later is CANCER FREE! Seriously as I’m writing this, tears are running down my face. There was no greater gift than that.

Once my mom came home from the hospital, I spent hours designing a logo, building an online website, creating social media profiles, and shopping for my first clothing pieces, shoes and accessories. Shortly after making my first order (I made my sister-in-law who was also staying at my parents helping with my mom at the time, hold my hand when I made that first big purchase), the items came in, and I moved back home to receive them and unbox. It was SO exciting and opening new arrivals still makes me happy every single time. My best friend who owns his own business played such a big role in my story. He was supportive in more ways than I can really say, but one in particular was allowing me to take up space in one of his offices so that I could set up a backdrop, have an office for filing and running the business, as well as a place to store inventory. He’s taught me so much and I will always be grateful for the love and support he’s given me. Not to mention, I needed someone to take pictures since I was planning to do the modeling at first. It was so much harder than I thought. I always thought I was a secure and confident woman for the most part, but those original photos I felt out of place, insecure, awkward, and very vulnerable. I felt like I was just opening up myself for judgement and that not only would the pictures not portray the quality of items I was trying to sell, but women wouldn’t want to purchase due to not being good enough. As time went on I gained more confidence with photoshoots and learned a lot luckily, but it definitely has been a journey. To put it plainly, I had no experience in modeling or photography. I had to let some pedantic things go and realize I was probably just being overcritical of myself. So, after lots and lots of pictures, editing, writing product descriptions, inputting the items on the website, and lots of stress mixed with excitement, I launched www.shoplifeinpink.com on February 18th, 2022.

The encouragement and support I got from my family and friends were outstanding. However, the orders didn’t just come flying in. Apparently, there is so much more to running an online business then I ever imagined. It was day after day of waiting and posting on social media and telling anyone and everyone I could about Life in Pink and asking them to share the news too. It was incredibly stressful. I decided to reach out to a few social media content creators, and one agreed to work with me. It was such a sigh of relief and I felt okay, someone who doesn’t know me or love me has faith in my business and understands the brand! Slowly, and I do mean slowly, my online women’s clothing boutique finally started to grow. In June I did a few pop-up shop events at local fairs and that really helped too. They were a lot of work for just one day but were overall fun and definitely good for business.

Because the pop-up events were such a success and so fun to showcase the clothes in person, I knew the next step was really to open that brick-n-mortar I always dreamed of. Originally, the plan was not to open a storefront so early in my business, but a great space was available at White Oaks Mall, in Springfield, IL, that I didn’t want to pass up on the opportunity. I was at that point where I knew it was time to take another risk. This time a bigger one! However, the planning as stressful as it was such a thrill. I’ve always been an artsy and creative person and so designing and putting together the storefront that represented my brand came naturally to me. Everything fell into place so beautifully and I feel so proud of myself for all that I have accomplished.

Life in Pink brand aesthetic is uplifting, happy, fun, feminine, colorful, cute, trendy but unique, classy but chic, simple by loud, and everything I imagined it would and could be. I love to find tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, and accessories that people say, “Oh my gosh, that is so cute!” While I love the color pink, we carry more than just pink clothes. We have those sexy tops that when you put it on you think, damn I look good. Or that cute little skirt that makes you feel so feminine. We have dresses for many occasions such as BBQ’s, weddings, dances, graduations, bridal showers, etc that have that “it” factor, or are just great for bringing out your inner twirling, girly girl. The Life in Pink brand is for that young woman who is bubbly, not afraid to take risks, but wears many hats in her life. She’s a working girl, a gym junkie, a little bit gypsy, a little bit country, a girlfriend or wife, a mom even. She’s busy and her style changes on the daily. She’s fun, optimistic and has a sense of humor. She wants to look cute 100% of the time because it makes her feel good, even if she isn’t leaving the house because it’s a cleaning day followed by a glass of wine and a movie. No matter where she goes or what she does, she wants to be confident, feel good, and always remember she’s a woman to be revered. Life in Pink represents more than just clothes, it represents all empowered women. Pink is not just a color, it’s a positive and uplifting feminine lifestyle. So ,when you shop with us, you live your best LIFE IN PINK 😉



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1 comment

What an inspiring story, Hillary. Your heart is as beautiful as you are. I remember those days that you worked so hard developing your business and I can say too that as I was reading this it brought tears to my eyes. I’m lucky and thankful to have you as my daughter. With your talents and drive you are destined to succeed. Live your best life, in pink, beautiful one.

Jennifer Rikli

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