Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing and accessories but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lauren Rubbelke, owner of The Colette Collection, located in Chicago, IL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Some of our customers say we specialize in cute! The Colette Collection is an affordable women's clothing boutique specializing in trendy and affordable fashion for women of all ages. We handpick out everything in the store with the customer in mind. Our apparel is soft, comfy, and chic. Our accessories are one-of-a-kind pieces you can not find anywhere else! Our customers are ages 8-80; we truly have something for everyone! You can shop with us in our store located at 2858 N Clark St in Chicago, online at, or on our free app Colette Boutique!

Tell us about yourself

Fashion has always been a passion of mine. As a young girl, I often dreamed of being a designer. I would even practice making clothes for my American Girl Doll, which is ironic because my first job after college was with American Girl Place as an intern! I worked at American Girl for about five years in different manager positions. After getting laid off from the company in 2015, my dream of opening a boutique came to light. Of course, you're never ready to open a business, so I worked another retail manager job for a year while spending my days off researching starting a business. Then the dream became a reality in March 2016! I officially opened my brick-and-mortar store! The business has definitely shifted over the years, especially with COVID. When I started, less than 10% of my business was online and since have shifted to close to 35% of the business being online. We have learned to adapt to the needs of our customers and focus on their wants, but the customers are what motivates me every day! Every 5-star review, Instagram comment, new follower, sale literally puts a smile on my face. There is no way I would have survived COVID without these amazing customers, and I am thankful every day!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Still being here, waking up every day and showing up even on the days I don't want to. When I first opened my business in 2016, I was an anxiety ball waiting to explode at any mistake or failure. The last six years have taught me to roll with the punches, and if you can own a business, you can do anything!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Not giving up, not comparing yourself to other people. There is always going to be a business bigger than you (unless you are Amazon), but that doesn't mean you should give up or feel discouraged. I spent so many days (and sometimes still do) comparing myself to bigger boutiques and bigger businesses instead of focusing on the wins and success of my own business.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Do it! Stop thinking about it and do it! It won't be easy, you will work more than you've ever worked in your life, but it is so worth it!
  2. Surround yourself with positive people; I learned over the years when I cut out the haters or the negative people, my business grew.
  3. Ask for help (I'm still learning this one)! You are only one person, and you will feel burnt out if you try to do it all. It's ok to ask for help, take a day off, take a vacation. A burnt-out person is only going to accomplish a fraction of what a refreshed, renewed person will!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

So many days, I feel discouraged in my business, frustrated, or like I'm not accomplishing enough. However, stepping away and reflecting like writing this article really put in perspective how proud I should be of what I have accomplished in the last six years. Owning a business is not easy; if it were, everyone would own one. However, if it is something you have thought about, do it! It is better to say you did something (even if it fails) than to regret not doing it at all.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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