I recently filled out an interview to be featured on the Pearls and Twirls blog. I love when others want to feature me or my story because it makes me have to sit and think how I honestly want to answer all of the questions. If you were to ask me these same questions just a few short years ago, I promise that many of my answers would have been different. Since I have a few new followers and readers, I figured this would be a perfect post to share more about myself, my background and my current outlook on what I want out of life. Grab some popcorn cause it’s pretty long…
I love that you’re also a boutique owner and blogger! It can be such a hard thing to balance sometimes! But let’s start with Southern Jewlz. How did it get started and where is it today?
Southern Jewlz started during my college years and I didn’t even start it to be a business. I was simply hand making my own jewelry creations for myself and then others wanted to buy my designs from me. That’s when I decided to make it a small business. I filed my first DBA as a sophomore in college over 10 years ago. Throughout the journey, I went from a hobby business, to traveling and setting up as a vendor on the road, to opening an online store, utilizing social media before this was even a “thing” for businesses, to having a kiosk in the mall where I legit had to beg the security guard to watch it for me so I could use the restroom, to opening my first retail doors, to expanding into a bigger retail space, hosting a yearly charity fashion show that would give almost $20,000 back to my community, two store renovations and facelifts, then moving to an online only business, and now back to having a small in store offering in College Station. Along the entire way, I have kept this a fun and upbeat personality based business where I view myself as the ideal customer.
How was transitioning from a storefront to online? Did you have doubts?
I actually started online only first before I was ever store front, so while I had natural human doubts about making a big change, it was almost like getting back to my roots. Southern Jewlz grew so big that for a while I was basically managing all the people who ran the company rather than having my own touch to create and cultivate the special parts that made my company unique. The online transition also came at a time when I was getting married, and I really wanted to be able to enjoy that special time rather than worry about my store. I think it was the perfect balance at that time in my life. Plus, social media became more and more demanding and online became more end more competitive, so I needed that year to give online my full attention over the store front.
You made the decision to scale back on work to focus on what was important to you which was getting married and being a great wife. But I’m sure that was still a hard decision to make! Did you have an aha moment that lead you to that decision? Or ultimately what helped you know that was the right decision?
I wouldn’t say this was as much of a “hard decision” as it was an “adjustment” for me. Balancing more of my personal life and putting into my relationships, with my marriage being the most important of those was basically a new life and mindset for me. I have been a “worker” since I was 15. Learning to slow down, to balance and to be a wife took a lot of adjustment, effort and training. I’m still working on it, but every day I’m getting closer and closer to who I want to be! I justify things by how I will feel at the end of my time. I don’t think I’ll ever wish I had worked more, but I will wish that I had spent more quality time, enjoyed more real life, traveling, going on adventures and leaning in to those that I love the most!
What is one thing you miss about having your storefront?
Well now that I have a small store front within The Beauty Market in College Station, I do get some of the in-person styling and customer relationships that I was missing. I am more efficient and can reach more on the internet, but I do still love to occasionally get to work in person with my customers!
What’s your favorite part of running a boutique? And your least favorite part? (I love hearing these responses from others!) 🙂
My favorite part of running a boutique is being able to direct it whichever way I want. When I started, I did far more jewelry and had more of a western vibe, but now I focus more on solid, timeless, closet staples while promoting a cleaner, crisper and girlier twist on the overall feel of Southern Jewlz.
My least favorite part doesn’t pertain with just a “boutique”, but basically running any type of business. This would be employee management. Unfortunately there are very few people who work as hard as I do, are as helpful as I am, or are as trustworthy as I have been raised to be. This isn’t to pat myself on the back, but more so I think we need to expect more and do a better job of pushing ourselves, other employees and upcoming generations as a whole. This can be very challenging in a college town because I now have employees whose moms will try to question my leadership or management. This can be very disappointing and is by far my least favorite part of running my company. Managing less people for me is so much less stressful, so that was another reason to scale back on my company. Now don’t get me wrong, I have and do have some wonderful employees and models, however the good ones are becoming more and more scarce.
Ok and what about the blog? How did that come about?
So I have had a blog within the Southern Jewlz website for as long as I can remember. Dating back to 2008, the year after I started my hobby business. My personal blog came about when I was realizing the power of influencer marketing and how people were more likely to trust a “person” over a “brand”. This coupled with the fact that I was entering a new phase of married life, it was kind of the perfect storm for me to step out from behind the brand and share more about me, my style and my own personal brand and the lifestyle I live.
What’s your favorite thing about blogging?
My favorite thing about blogging hands down is having a positive and uplifting impact on others. I also find it very rewarding that so many trust me and value my opinion. I try so hard to make my blog 100% honest, because there are so many bloggers today and I feel being trustworthy and selfless is so important. I have gotten so many messages from people who have gotten back in the gym, made it an effort to put more into their marriage, and so on. This is SUCH A GOOD FEELING OF FULFILLMENT! I also really love documenting so much of my life in words, pictures and videos. Again, I feel when I’m 80 that I will love to look back on the evolution of my life.
What’s one of your biggest challenges in juggling both the boutique and the blog?
To be honest, the struggle would be having enough time to balance it all. I’m still working on becoming leaner and more efficient with my work time. Content creation alone can be a full time job, and it is actually only a small percentage of all that it takes to make Southern Jewlz Boutique and the Randa Carrabba Lifestyle Brand and blog operate. There are a few professional photographers I work with occassionally, but on the day to day and majority of my blog content it is all captured and edited by me with the help of my insta hubs!
I love that you’re really real on your blog and social media. You share a lot of no make up selfies, real life stuff which is totally inspiring! How do you decide what “real life” stuff you want to share with your readers and how do you have the confidence to do so?
I hit on this a little earlier in the interview, but I feel being real is so important. Both my husband and I believe that our word means everything in this world. I want to be honest and very trust worthy. I also do not want people to look at my stuff and think that I always “look perfect”. I work out so much and do so much online work, which can keep me in my workout clothes all day while never even getting a chance to put makeup on. I would rather be more influential and productive than look 100% all day, every day. During the week you will only find me all dressed up if it’s picture time for the SJ website, blog content creation time or if I’m hosting a special event or going on a date. I also have focused so much on being healthy from the inside out, so I have gotten my skin in the best shape of its life, too! This gives me even more courage to brave the world bare! I want to be relatable rather than intimidating. I don’t want people looking at my social media thinking less of themselves because I am “always at my best”. I mean you’ll even catch me video’ing with my retainer in at bedtime. Life is a journey and we really are all in this together. I would really say I don’t hold back on too much except for relationships that wish to remain more private rather than be exposed on my blog. I also try to do a good job of communicating so much with Grant to make sure that he is comfortable with everything I expose about “us” as I never want him to feel his privacy is jeopardized. I mean you’ll see a naked bulldog post after a shower, but you won’t see anything like that from Grant and I – keeping it PG people!!!
What’s one of your crazy/big goals?
Oh gosh I have so many crazy/big goals! I don’t have many people ask me this, so don’t mind me while I elaborate and go on and on and on haha.
- I would love to have my own reality show that focuses on balancing marriage, life, business, influencing and so forth while capturing all of mine and Grant’s funny quirks, sayings, adventures and memories.
- I would love to have a billboard in my hometown that reads “The Home of Randa Yezak Carrabba” haha. No particular reason, I’ve just said this since I was 18. I feel all the really cool people in life have one of those in their hometown, plus I think it would encourage a few more people to check out my little hometown rather than just passing through.
- I would love to have my own Randa Carrabba brand of clothes including active wear, casual and even statement dressier pieces. Then maybe one day I could even branch out to shoes, home decor, beauty, jewelry, accessories and gifts down the road. I can see my brand being in all the big department stores and some of the most elite boutiques, too!
- I aspire to travel the world with my husband. I want to see so much of God’s creation and learn from so many different cultures and places, while sharing these precious memories with the one I love most.
- Another goal would be to get my recent fitness transformation photo shoot and story published in Women’s Magazine. I should find out in the next week or two if they want to feature my story and content!
- I would love to be a modern day version of an Oprah, but think far more Southern, blonde, bubbly and more conservative. I would love to have a talk show that features incredible people, journeys, stories, life lessons and so forth. Maybe even add in some children features or things that are positive in the world like Ellen does. Having an outlet where I could give to people who are well on their way to making their own dreams come true would be incredible! I can see it now, there’s the RC list that every brand would want to be listed on rather than the current O list that Oprah has. I also would love to write a few of my own books. I just love life and all that it has to offer and I want to do and empower so much. I truly believe with my own life I can leave this world and some of the people that I touch to be better than they were before.
Being your own boss can be tough at times, what’s one of your best girl boss tips?
STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE, believe in yourself, block the haters out and do whatever it takes to stay positive. Cultivate a group of friends who support and encourage you in all that you do. Life is busy as a girl boss, so there is no time for self doubt or unnecessary relationship drama from a friend, employee or even a family member. Remember to always be the energy that you want to attract.
Fitness is another big aspect of your blog! AND you have even been through a few rounds of the Faster Way To Fat Loss! Tell us a little bit about your fitness journey and why it’s such a big part of your life?
I started my fitness journey a little over 4 years ago. I truly feel as if I’m aging in reverse and I am ready to brave the camera (with or without makeup) basically every single day. It started because I really needed to lose weight that I had gained from focusing on my business rather than myself. Then I was dating Grant and I wanted to look hotter and hotter for him. Our wedding was then another big push for me to keep on path with my fitness journey. I started working with Lindsay Rene Fitness in January of this year to see if I could get some toned abdominals for our 1 year anniversary trip to Cabo. I am now 14 weeks in and am now accepted a position as Lindsay’s ambassador for the program because I have had such incredible results and believe in it so much. If I had to sum up why fitness is so important to me now while also sharing a hint of my personality, I would quote Elle Woods and say, “Exercise causes endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands, they just don’t.”
Basically I am on a journey to continuing to be the best version of myself and now that I’m 30, aging is becoming more of a “reality” to me. I want to be healthy from the inside out so that I can live a long and luscious life!!!
Tell us one thing people may not know about you and your brand?
I don’t think there’s anything that people don’t already know, because I share so much and am so honest. But I will say, something really big is coming this Fall! Nobody except a few select people know about this, and I will not leak the secret until it’s go time! So stay tuned!!!
What’s one thing that’s making you extra happy right now?
Cuddle time in the morning and evenings with Grant and Bucky! They are my favorite moments of the entire day. I’m also reallyyyyyyyy excited with the fact that we are about to add 2 pygmy goats to our little family. I cannot wait for Bucky to have a new brother and sister that bounce around, but that live outside only to not compete with him. I think they will help extend Bucky’s life and we will be able to tell people that we do in fact have KIDS. Lol!
I told Grant anytime I feel stressed or need an escape that I will be outside playing with Bucky and his goats.
What are 5 things you can’t live without?
- God’s Love, Grace and Blessings that he undoubtedly gives me.
- My Family
- Bucky the Bulldog
- My Friends
What’s your most favorite recent purchase?
My Sony 1000XM2 Wireless Noise-Cancelling headphones. I straight up get in my zone and slay in the gym and my office with these bad boys on. I shared a review just yesterday on my instagram live about this big splurge I made!
Cocktails or Champagne?
As long as it’s luxury champagne or pretty pink cocktails, I would say both. I don’t like to drink one certain drink on repeat, I like to try all the specialties a place has to offer!
Date night out or a night in?
I’ll be the rebel and say “day date out” and being home early to still get a night in. Can you tell I try to get the most out of life? More is more.
Summer or Winter?
SUMMER HANDS DOWN, even though shivering does burn more calories than sweating.
Pink or Glitter?
BOTH, duh! I really do want to have it all!
Morning person or night owl?
Naturally I’m a night owl, but with lots of work and discipline I’m slowly becoming more of a morning person.
I hope you all enjoyed learning a little more about me and my current place in life. When the Pearls and Twirls blog post goes live, I’ll be sure to share it with each of you!