Female Feature Friday: Nicole Gorman
It is no secret that I am passionate about women's empowerment and women in leadership positions. As women's history month ended in March, a new series emerged here at The Honest Mama blog. Each week throughout April and May, Female Feature Fridays will spotlight local female entrepreneurs in Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities.
Meet Nicole Gorman, a boutique owner and former fashion blogger who believes in the power of faith and community.
Name: Nicole Gorman
Business Name: Above Able
Tell us about yourself!
Hey, ya’ll! Nicole, here. I am a wife, mama to two, and I own Above Able Boutique.
What made you decide that you wanted to start a clothing boutique?
Oh, man. Ever since I can remember, I've loved fashion. But, I would say the catalyst to taking the big leap was starting a fashion focused blog in 2017. This experience gave me the confidence to branch out into entrepreneurship, and to put my own spin on a boutique business.
When did you open your business?
You took such a brave leap when you left your full-time job in social work to transition into building your business full-time. What was your thought process like when you were making this decision?
All the feels. I worked so hard to get to where I was at the VA. I had my “dream job,” checked all the boxes, and should have been happy. My heart was leading me in a different direction, though. Despite being a little scared to give up financial security, I had an unexplainable peace and felt an abundance of excitement about what was to come.
What do you think the average person may not know about what goes into owning a clothing boutique?
It is A LOT of work. From the outside in, the boutique world can be glamorized, but 90% of it is actually the opposite. Running a boutique is also just like starting any small business, there are NO days off. During this season of growing and scaling, the average work day is easily 12-16 hours.
What makes you unique within the clothing boutique industry?
Great question. It is hard to stand out in this highly saturated industry, but I think Above Able is unique because we are so much more than clothing. We always prioritize people over purchases and I believe because of this, we don’t have a customer base per se, we have a die hard, loyal COMMUNITY.
Above Able is also driven by faith based values. We hope through our personalized notes, warm interactions, and genuine connections, we are the light in dark places. We give God the glory for any and all success! There is NO way we could do this without Him.
How did you decide what you wanted your clientele to be and how you would connect with them?
Our clientele is mostly women ages 25-35 years old, with some younger and some older. Since I am 34, I can relate to the stages of life many of our customers have walked/are walking through. This allows me to connect on a personal level because I understand the ever evolving mom body, the importance of work to weekend clothing (bang for your buck), and the desire to age gracefully/remain stylish FOREVER. :)
As a public figure with a large social media following on your business account and blog page, how do you handle the inevitable criticisms and setbacks that come with that?
Honestly, in 2020, not well. I am a person who wears my heart on my sleeve and am 100% a people pleaser. But, due to several interpersonal and business obstacles (which I am now thankful for), I can confidently say the 2021 Nicole is new and improved. I survive with a lot of prayer, an amazing support system, and am laser focused on my priorities. Nothing is worth losing beauty sleep over. ;)
How do you balance “mom life” with two young children and creating your own empire at Above Able?
Again, not well. LOL Jk. Um. I do okay-ish. To be very honest, i deal with mom guilt probably 6/7 days a week.
I have no earth shattering tips here, but try to make your business work for you, rather than you being a slave to your business. :) My working hours are extremely odd, but allow me to show up for my children in ways I always dreamed of.
What would you say to someone who is wanting to start their own business but is hesitant?
YOLO. Life is SHORT.
You will likely never be fully prepared to start a business, but as I tell the AA team every single day, “You will always figure it out.” Owning a business involves endless trial and error, which may come with headaches and unexpected challenges, but this is what makes success all the sweeter.
Take a chance on YOU because you 100% got this.
You can find Above Able online at www.aboveable.com, on Instagram @aboveableshop, and on Facebook groups at Exclusively Able.