I started my business out of my house about 8 years ago. I started it because I needed to decorate my own space and I couldn’t afford to go to a local designer to have the work done. I remembered that way back in the recesses of my brain that I knew how to sew. I went and I bought some fabric and started making my own drapes and from there my friends would come over and see my house and would say, “Who made these drapes and who made these pillows? I did.” That combined with the fact that I loved fabric and there wasn’t any way I could possibly use all the fabric I had bought in my own house. That is what launched my business. I think the biggest thing that sets our business apart from other design companies is that we are very transparent about the design process. In most design companies, you meet with your designer and your designer works on your space, designs your space, comes up with ideas, and then all of a sudden your finished product just appears. Most people don’t see the other side of the business which is your drapes, your Roman shades, your bed skirt; all of those items being produced. Those items typically have been produced in a workroom that is behind the scenes and that workroom is not visible. It’s not visible to the consumer. Our workroom is right out in the open. The reason we did that is because my background is sewing and for me it was a matter of if I didn’t have a client to meet with, then I was working on production. As I gained more and more clients, I started hiring people to help me with production and that production was out in the open because it was an easy transition for me to go from doing design to actually producing the products that were then going back to my client’s homes. We’ve really kind of torn down that wall between design and the people who actually do that work. Those laborers, those women in our case are incredibly skilled and they are equally as part of the process as the designer, as I am when I go out to do the job. That really sets us apart. I just want people to come into our storefront and be surprised. Feel a sense of. “wow this is in Lynchburg? Why haven’t I been here before?” I want people to feel a sense of welcoming. Oftentimes in design, people are afraid to walk into the design shop because they feel like they will be judged. They’re not wearing the right outfit, there can be intimidation around design shops, and ours isn’t that. We just want you to walk in and see the space, experience the space, and then know that you can come back to us for small items like birthday gifts and come back to us for larger items like having us help you with a project. It’s amazing to me that people still walk into my business and their surprised by our workroom. The workroom was kind of the foundation of the whole company and it still surprises me to this day that people walk into my space and they come around the corner where that workroom is and they ask, “What is this? Look at all those sewing machines! What do you actually do here?” That still surprises me to this day that I need to continue to reinforce that that is such a large aspect of our company. I love good design. I love good architecture. I love flowers. I love food. I just had the opportunity to go to Europe and I was there for the last ten days. I just got back. While I was in Europe, it’s just fun to see flowers in the middle of the street. You know, bikes covered in flowers and great pastries and great old buildings that they’ve repurposed and they’re now using as a new space. I think you can find inspiration everywhere. Oh, there are so many challenges. You know, I really thought, I just want to make pillows. I just want to make people’s spaces pretty. I want to make curtains and I was very involved in the creative side of the business. As a business grows, you have to start realizing it has to make money. If the business doesn’t make money, then really, you just have a hobby and you are going out there and you are paying to design people’s spaces. That’s a tough thing to understand. When I first started, I thought, “well let me go ahead and look and see what Pottery Barn charges for their pillows.” So, I set my price point to be the same as Pottery Barn’s pillows. It wasn’t until I really backed up and understood what is my cost in materials, what is my cost in labor, and now let’s take that together and let’s figure out what my retail cost can be. So, understanding cost, understanding business, understanding how you have to implement that in order to have a business was really one of my largest hurdles. The hardest part about being an entrepreneur is that you don’t always want to be an entrepreneur. Sometimes you just want to work for somebody else and get a paycheck and have somebody go, “Hey, here’s your paycheck and your medical expenses and here’s all of it wrapped up in a nice little package and you can come in and work forty hours a week and go home.” Being an entrepreneur means that you are working seven days a week, that you are putting out a lot of fires, and that you are juggling a lot of hats. The other day, I received an award from, I’m not even sure. We received an award and later that day I was cleaning the bathrooms in my store and I was still wearing the same clothes that I had worn when I was receiving an award in the city. So, we just laugh about that. You know, how many different hats you have to wear. So, you have to really roll up your sleeves and get dirty. I would say that one of my perceptions of a successful entrepreneur is that they know exactly what they are doing and that they have all of the answers and that their business is running smoothly. I think that a good entrepreneur lets your think that that is true. In the background, they’re just trying to figure it all out and put out as many fires as they can and have people be happy as they walk away. Success changes everything. You know it changes. It can be the small things like understanding how a fabric works. Understanding how to make that fabric work well in a client’s space. Working with my team. My team is such a huge part of the business. When they have successes, we all celebrate it. So, it could be something very simple all the way up to receiving awards and being recognized for our contributions to the community. So, it really comes in a lot of different ways. I try not to value it by money because it comes and goes so quickly. So, it’s really that ongoing process. I think probably one of the most unique challenges Lynchburg has is that in retail, we tend to shop up. So, what that means is, if I am the kind of client that I want to have or the kind of client that usually comes to me, often times those clients are also going to Richmond or there going down to Raleigh-Durham. They’re going to larger cities and they’re shopping up because they think that they can’t get it locally. So, educating the public that you can buy locally, that we have the same products locally, that we have the exact same items that you can buy in larger cities are here in Lynchburg. That tends to be one of the largest challenges we have in retail. Lynchburg is just incredible. I came to Lynchburg thinking that I was only going to be here for about a year. Especially if you have children and a young family which I do. To be in Lynchburg, there is a sense of community and a sense of family. I don’t have other family in Lynchburg and yet I feel like I have family here. I go to the grocery store and I know people. Sometimes it’s hard to go to the grocery store because you know so many people. What I think is great about Lynchburg is if you are honest and if you are good and if you love what you do and have a passion for what you do, your contemporaries, your friends realize it and they see it and they want to give you an opportunity with your business. And I don’t know that you can find that in too many other places where you have. We’re not a small town, but for some reason it feels like a small town and that makes all the difference in the world. If you’re going to start a business in Lynchburg go for it. Be passionate about what you do. Love what you do. Know that what you do is you’re going to have to learn a lot of other aspects of business life than just what you do. So know that you’re going to need to spend time at city council meetings, you’re going to need to spend time networking with other individuals. But, if you are truly passionate and know that there is a whole in the market for what you provide, then go for it.
About Rebekah Moody
Rebekah Moody is the owner of Southern Provisions Company.
|Date Added||June 1, 2017|
Welcome to the Launched In Lynchburg Series! Each month, we feature a different local entrepreneur. This month, we're featuring Rebekah Moody, owner of Southern Provisions Company.
About Southern Provisions Company
Southern Provisions Company is an interior design firm located in Lynchburg, Virginia that seeks to transform homes into spaces that feel both luxurious and well lived in. The 4,000 square foot space on Langhorne Road is outfitted with an Atelier for design consultations and an in house workroom where our seamstresses specialize in custom window treatments, pillows, and bedding.