The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Local businesses share journeys

Photo by Photo from instagram @sabiboutique

Sabi boutique founders stand outside their store. 

Every small business starts as an idea, but most people don’t see the work that happens behind the scenes to make those dreams a reality.
Entrepreneurship brings a variety of challenges, both financial and emotional. Over 20% of new businesses fail within their first year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Small businesses like Sabi Boutique, Abra-Ca Designs and Northgate Juice Joint shared their journeys from concept to creation, as well as some tips for new entrepreneurs hoping to break into the industry.
Salina Novotna-Williams, Class of 2020, said her business, Abra-Ca Designs, is still in its early stages.
“My business is still forming into its own entity,” Novotna-Williams said. “Abra-Ca started off as an upcycling business where I would take old clothes and upcycle them into something new.”
Her goal began to shift, which Novotna-Williams said led to using Abra-Ca for more than clothes.
“There’s always that kind of question of what you want to do for the rest of your life, and the more I thought about it, all I wanted to do was create,” Novotna-Williams said. “Whether it’s painting, creative directing or designing.”
When starting a new business, Novotna-Williams said it’s important to convince people the idea is attention-worthy. There is a learning curve that comes with figuring everything out, and Novotna-Williams said she would sometimes work hours on a design that would end up being difficult to sell.
“Don’t expect it to work out overnight,” Novotna-Williams said. “It’s going to take a lot of twists and turns, but at the same time, don’t let that discourage you. You have to put your time into it, and as long as you’re putting the work into it, eventually it’s going to pay off.”
Students who want to keep up with Abra-Ca designs can follow @abr.aca on Instagram.
Co-owner of Sabi Boutique Meredith McAuliffe said the shop began as a website before moving to a physical location.
“We started out online, and then we started doing trunk shows at friends’ homes,” McAuliffe said. “We would go in and set up shopping days in the College Station community, and we were really well-received because we were bringing something new.”
Creating a business is not an easy task, McAuliffe said, and there are often days when she sees the sunrise after working late nights in the shop. But, McAuliffe said she never stopped believing in her work and giving back to the community.
“We truly believed in what we were doing and the mission behind the business,” McAuliffe said. “But, of course, when you’re starting something new, there’s always a lot of emotion to it. Hopefully people will come; hopefully people will support Sabi and, hopefully, they will love it.”
Sabi Boutique is currently looking for interns and sales associates, which McAuliffe said is a great way for students to learn how to run a future business and gain college credit.
“We have interns that are working with us every semester, and it really is a great opportunity,” McAuliffe said. “We do a lot in e-commerce and we have a website, so there’s a lot of different avenues to learn.”
Students looking to intern at Sabi Boutique for university credit can visit the store’s website.
Lisa Bradway, owner of Northgate Juice Joint for nearly seven years, said new business owners should focus on advertising their businesses, especially on social media.
“There is so much social media now, and there’s different types of people on different social media depending on their age group,” Bradway said. “Older people and businesses do Facebook, but now are beginning to do Instagram. That’s a challenge.”
Bradway said it’s important to know which social media platforms will appeal to a business’s intended audience and to do as much as possible to capture interest. Advertising is still tough for Northgate Juice Joint, especially after moving from their Northgate location to Bryan. However, Bradway said the biggest struggle overall was College Station’s regulations for businesses. New business owners should look up the rules and regulations for any city in which they want to create a business, Bradway said.
“My No. 1 challenge is dealing with the city, which I never found pleasant,” Bradway said. “Northgate seemed like such a good idea, and we owned the property … Financially, it was difficult to do any renovations there unless you met these rigid requirements. You aren’t allowed to build unless you go up and out.”
Students wanting to learn more about Northgate Juice Joint can visit the business’s website.
“The more you try, the more things you do. The more you fail, the more you’re learning,” Bradway said. “Because as much as I know about the business environment, I still learn from trial and error.”

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