Behind the Scenes with Parris Chic Boutique
March 10, 2015
Behind the ScenesAt Work
Alyssa of Parris Chic Boutique is not only sweet as molasses but she's equal parts business savvy and design extraordinaire. It's a kickass combo that almost doesn't seem possible until you catch a glimpse of her in action captured by Love & Light Photographs along with a film by Between Sleep & Awake.We're chatting about her inspiration and some of the things she's learned along the way on her journey with PCB. And coming up next? A tour of the pretty abode she calls home.
SMP: Tell us a little about your business.
I stated Parris Chic Boutique on a whim. My husband and I had just moved into our first apartment and we had absolutely no choice but to make everything. We were DIYing everything from our furniture, to our décor, and especially the pillows. After my hubby kept encouraging me to sell every craft I was making I finally gave in a listed a few pillows on etsy to see how they would sell. Fast-forward almost two and a half years later and I’ve turned this hobby into a business.
I spend my days designing and making any type of home décor you could dream up. Pillows, aprons, totes, and candles are some of my favorite items. I have a lovely team of dedicated employees, mostly made up of family and friends, who are passionate about seeing PCB grow and I couldn’t imagine running the shop without them. This line of products goes deeper than pretty things to decorate with. Overall, my goal with Parris Chic Boutique is to help you celebrate the love and relationships in your life. Whether that is celebrating a new marriage, new birth, love spoken from Scripture, or celebrating your family name, I want you to be able to show it off with the items in my shop. Relationships have proven to be most important in my life again and again and that alone is a reason to celebrate.
SMP: What did you think your dream job was before your dream job found you? 
I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do before starting this business so it certainly came about at just the right time. I was a year out of high school and knew I wanted to dabble in the art world and focus on something creative, but struggled with the idea of what that looked like in reality. Soon enough I had built this business where I could be creative every single day, in my own way, and at my own pace. Even though I had no idea what my ideal job looked like at the time, Parris Chic Boutique really is my dream come true!

SMP: What's your favorite quote that describes your creative process?
You know the “Keep Calm” quotes? I had a framed print in my office for the longest time that read “Keep Calm and PCB on” and truly, that is my favorite quote that really describes my creative process. There are so many instances where I find myself over whelmed trying to balance the daily business life while still creating new products which keeps the job fun for me. Whether it’s the case where my head is spinning and I’m trying to get hundreds of orders out the door, or simply the fact that I’m stressed in this creative world of comparison “Keep Calm and PCB on” has become my motto. Most often I need to just slow down, take a deep breath, and just make what I love to create.
SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
I don’t think I would change one thing! This entire process has been the biggest blessing. If you were to tell me 3 years ago that I would be where I am today, there’s no way I would believe you. It has been the craziest, busiest, challenging, and certainly most rewarding years yet and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  

SMP: What is your favorite item in your home?
Besides my husband and precious little pup? I love our comfy chaise lounges in the living room. Some of our favorite dates are when we move them to the center of the room, pile every single blanket and pillow we can find on top, and cuddle up with our favorite movie.
SMP: What's your best tip for balancing work and personal life?
When 5 o’clock comes around the workday is over. I recommend turning off any work notifications you might get and forgetting about work emails completely until morning. I like to give myself the boundaries most other professions have and be consistent in taking the weekends off and away from anything business related (as hard as that can be!). It’s difficult to leave work “at work” with a job like mine, but it is so crucial in order to enjoy the other things I love and to spend time with my family. Take it from a girl who’s been there, not separating the two is seriously draining and will burn you out fast. Balancing work and life have become a huge part of my success.
SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel like it was going to thrive?
Honestly, I never saw this one coming. This business has developed from a hobby where I was simply creating what I love in my free time. My first “office” was literally our living room floor in our apartment. I would camp out there a couple evenings a week, pull out the rubbermaid bin I stored all my supplies in and make pillows right there on the carpet. When I first started selling some of my products my husband consistently encouraged me with goals and dreams. He would say things like, “Imagine one day you could do this as your full time job!” or “if you can just sell 6 products a day this can be your profession!” I smile when I think of those conversations now because I would brush off his comments thinking there was no way that would ever become a reality. It took a solid month of sales here and there for me to realize this could really become a business and that the more time I dedicated to my “hobby”, the more it would pay off.
SMP: What is the hardest lesson in business you've ever learned?
I’ve learned there is so much more to owning a business than creating and selling pretty things. There are so many foreign components of business that I had to learn (and am still learning) along the way to run and own a successful boutique. I’m so grateful I learned quickly to take on help and not go at this whole thing alone – owning a shop is hard work!

SMP: Stranded on a desert island question... what's the one cocktail you would take with you?
Anything with champagne

SMP: What color do you think will stand the test of trend time?
Cream. My favorite. You can’t go wrong with a classic neutral. Ever.
SMP: One thing every style savvy homeowner should have?
Cozy throws. They add so much comfort and texture to a room while being completely versatile. I’m an enabler for all neutrals, but switching out different hues as the seasons change or simply moving around the placement of the throws in a room really add style to any space.

SMP: If you could buy yourself a single gift of any cost, what would it be?
There is a pretty tufted sofa on my want list currently. Classic and elegant; I’m convinced my pillows would look there best on a tufted sofa.

SMP: Three things every home should have?
Can coziness count?, something that reminds you of a fond memory, and a sweet pup!
SMP: Your secret to success?
To simply be honest and true to myself with what I create. Original products and unique items are what sell. I have found that letting my passions and true self shine through bring forth my best work and that is what people want to see!

SMP: One small design change that can make a big impact?
Natural light. Open up your space by using lightweight and light colored window treatments. Whenever you can open the windows and doors in your home to let the beautiful natural light shine through. It makes all the difference.
SMP: Number one interior design tip?
Design for yourself! There’s no right or wrong way. What are things that you love? What are design elements that represent you and your family? A house becomes a home once we stop trying so hard and start integrating items and décor that make us smile. Be unique and let your inner designer shine through. For me, what’s important is relationships and I’ve tried to show that through both my business and my home. When you walk into my house I want you to feel the love that lives here. Everything else falls into place.
SMP: Advice you’d give to your younger self?
Don’t stress about what the future. Everything will fall into place and I truly believe that God has an amazing plan in store for all of us. As much you may not be able to see it or make sense of it all, He’s got this. There are amazing things in store. Just sit back and create…do what you do best!

SMP: Your favorite instagrammer?
This one is so tough! Instagram has been such a great outlet for my business and filled with so much inspiration. I have so, SO many favorites, but I think I would have to say @dreamywhitelifestyle because hello! dreamy + white.
SMP: What’s one thing you really want to do, but have never done?
There are dreams in the works of holding a conference or large scale workshop for women who own small businesses. Those of you who are in the same boat as I am know that it can be incredibly draining on a daily basis. I think talking with others and working through some of the business struggles together is completely refreshing.

SMP: What’s a typical work day for you like?
A typical work day includes answering emails, collaborating with other creatives, making and filling orders, bouncing new ideas back and forth with my new PCB partner-in-crime (my husband) and blasting Pandora while my sister helps package up the products and get them out the door. The day ends by dragging (literally) all the packages to the post office, which conveniently is just three houses down the road.
SMP: Why do you think your business has done so well?
I put my heart and soul into this business and the entire shop has become a true passion of mine. I realized very early on that the more work and time I put into PCB, the more I would get from it. If I continued to let it be a hobby, that’s all it would ever be. If you have dreams of building a brand for yourself, put your mind to it and make it a reality! Anyone has the capability to thrive on something they are passionate about, but it takes a dedicated person to do something about it and stick through all the trials and errors (because trust me, there will be errors!).  
SMP: The best advice you’ve ever received?
“Get help!” For the longest time I wanted this business to be my own. I wanted to have a complete part of each and every product, every step of the way. I thought keeping it small and quaint in the smallest room of my house was the best way to go about a hand made business. Boy was I wrong, it wasn’t until I realized the full capabilities of what this business could become that my bigger dreams were coming true and the products I always dreamt of came to life. People told me from the beginning I couldn’t do it all myself (and stay sane) but I wanted to learn that the hard way. My shop is running better than ever now with my husband helping me manage it full time and a team of help I have hired on. I learned very quickly it’s not all crafts and decorating and now I’m able to focus on the parts of the business I truly love and have a passion for.

SMP: Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’m along for the ride! Just seeing where the Lord takes me with this business. Maybe there are some mini PCBers in the picture? I’d really love to travel with my calligraphy classes and take on some exciting new projects!

SMP: Best moment of your career so far?
I have absolutely loved adding the element of hand lettering and calligraphy to my products. I start off each item by sketching a quote or saying and then putting the ink or brush to paper and making the designs come to life. When I first started this business I couldn’t find the exact fonts that looked right for the quotes I was using and really wanted to fine tune my hand lettering to achieve the perfect look that truly fit my brand and style. It has become my favorite part of the whole process and I have fallen in love with the art of calligraphy. Not only does it make my products uniquely my own, but this brand completely fits me with every last detail. And stemming from that I have been able to now travel and teach calligraphy workshops which is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to do! This career is always taking me new places and though it’s a daily learning experience, it’s exciting to be along for the ride!
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