Wise Women Wednesday: Jenny Stilley

Photo by Heather Joyce James

Photo by Heather Joyce James

It's Wise Women Wednesday, each week I interview a woman that I believe is inspiring, living abundantly and following her passions.  These are all women who live a life of abundance and bring creativity into the world.

Q. Who are you? What is your background? 
A. Hey, ladies!  I am Jenny Stilley, owner of BohoBlu.  I’m from Eastern North Carolina, went to Appalachian and now live in Summerfield.  I’ve done a little bit of everything in my career including PR and insurance.  I’m a serial entrepreneur – BohoBlu is my third business.  Of those three, one was a dud, one was successful and BohoBlu is my only focus now.

Q. What is your work?
A. My husband, Patrick, and I own and operate 6 retail stores in the Triad.  We offer a boutique experience at affordable prices.  What started as a personal frustration turned in to a great business.  When shopping for dresses to wear for parties before my wedding, I was frustrated that everything was so expensive.  I could afford the dresses but just couldn’t bring myself to pay $150+ for a dress.  While on our honeymoon, we stumbled upon a boutique that was filled with dresses under $70.  Needless to say, I left with two dresses which are still in my closet.  Shortly after returning home, I reached out to a few clothing manufacturers and the rest is history. 

Patrick and I were both happy in our careers.  He worked a full-time job that had him traveling very regularly and I owned an insurance brokerage, which I loved.  When the idea to open a boutique came around, we knew we couldn’t work it every day.  I thought it would be cool to get “free” clothes so I did a little research on shared retail spaces.  We opened our first 10 x 10 booth at Daisy’s Designer Alley in 2012.  Three months later, we had 2 booths and three months after that, we had our first retail store!  Six stores and one distribution center later, we couldn’t be happier.

Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. I finally feel like I have time to focus on things that I’m super passionate about.  Most importantly, I am passionate about giving back to this community that has given us so much.  We just launched our own accessory line, Grateful Bracelets.  Each quarter, my team and I select three local charities.  For every bracelet purchased, the buyer gets to select their favorite of three.  That charity is given $1 for each bracelet sold.  We have only been doing this for a month but I’m so excited that my little dream has become a reality! 

Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. I’m not scared by much.  I guess I’d say the purchase of our Corporate Headquarters.  Almost a year ago, we found a 12,000 sqft building on Old Battleground Road in Greensboro.  It was a hot mess!  With creative minds, a ton of patience and an awesome contractor, we made it into an office, distribution center and warehouse that we are very proud of.  I am SO GLAD we did it because I get to see my team every day – our warehouse team, marketing, buying and management all share our new space.

Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it?  If not why not what's stopping you? 
A. I want to empower women through fashion.  With that said, I am so proud of my team.  We work every day to remind women of all ages to love their TODAY body, not the body they used to have, are working towards, or dream of.  We keep our prices affordable so we attract customers from their teens to their 80’s.  It makes my heart happy to see multiple generations shopping together.  Even better than that is when our shopping friends (customers) end up helping each other in the fitting rooms.  Our stylists are there to help but when the atmosphere is welcoming and fun, that’s when the magic happens.

Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. You’re doing fine!  Don’t freak out.  The hard work you’re doing will pay off. 

Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. If you aren’t helping, you’re hurting. 

Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. It is super rare for me to not feel like working/creating.  I love my work but I totally believe in mental health days.  You can’t predict when you’ll need them but you have to be willing to give them to yourself.  If it’s Tuesday and I’m not feeling it (meaning, I’m hurting because I’m not helping), I take the day off.  I have a little place at the lake that is my retreat.  I highly recommend finding a place or thing that really allows you to put the laptop away and clear your mind.

Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. I’m super proud of YOU, Alisha, for taking the leap!   

Boho Blue Corporate office 

Boho Blue Corporate office 

Q. What's your favorite yoga pose? 
A. Child pose or corpse pose. 😊  My last yoga class was over 10 years ago.  It ended early when I looked over at my friend and said “Can’t we just have tacos?”.  She quietly rolled up her mat so I did the same.  I never went back.  Oops.

Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. Getting to work for myself and with my husband every day is such a gift and I never take it for granted.  My amazing team at BohoBlu makes it possible for me to live a life of abundance.  They give me such joy with their customer stories, feedback, encouragement, ideas, constructive criticism and love.  They allow me to focus on the business side of things without worrying about the customer.  I know that if a woman walks into the store and says, “I have a baby shower to go to tonight and my favorite color is blue,” my Stylists will jump on it like they are her best friend and they won’t let her leave looking less than fabulous.  Whenever I need a reminder of how great my life is, I go to a store and hang out with our sweet customers.  They give me life.

Jenny's Lake escape

Jenny's Lake escape