Storage Sense is thrilled to play a vital role in the communities in which we are located. Our storage facilities take pride in supporting our tenants, whether it’s by offering storage units for local businesses or providing a secure space for storing personal belongings. In our latest tenant spotlight, we are featuring Jessica Smith, a local business owner and tenant of Storage Sense in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Read on to learn how Jessica uses Storage Sense in Waukesha for her business inventory!
Can you tell us a bit about the history and inspiration behind Flippin’ Fabulous? What motivated you to start this business?
After working in Corporate America and getting tired of being treated like an employee number instead of a person, I felt a desperate need for change. I decided to take a leap and start a small business. Flippin’ Fabulous started on Earth Day of 2016, with a primary goal of repurposing pallet wood into signs (which was all the rage at the time), repurposing household items into home décor, and refinishing furniture which would otherwise end up in landfills.
I started out by leasing a small space inside an antique mall that I used as a storefront. My customer base quickly grew, and I expanded to an adjacent space in the antique mall. I also branched out and leased smaller spaces inside antique and handmade stores located in Oconomowoc, WI and Richmond, IL. I then started working with local artists and small business owners and sub-leased my space inside the antique mall to other small business owners and entrepreneurs. The exposure from working with other businesses really helped my business take off.
When Covid hit in 2020, the store was faced with a mandatory shutdown. I utilized that time to build my own website, which helped pivot my business to the online space. Business picked back up after Covid and was doing great. Unfortunately, the owners of the antique mall decided to sell the building and listed it for sale in the spring of 2022. I wasn’t ready to close my business, so I did some research and decided to open up my own brick and mortar in Downtown Waukesha in the fall 2022. I received the “New Business of the Year” award from the City of Waukesha Chamber of Commerce in March 2023 and the rest is history.
Can you tell us about your inventory at Flippin’ Fabulous?
Most of my inventory is handmade from artists in Wisconsin and throughout the USA. I also make some products including soy candles, wood signs, coffee mugs, apparel, and gifts. I still refinish furniture when I have the time to as well. Rather than doing consignment with the artists, I purchase their items wholesale so that I can control the look and feel of the store. I then resell the products to the public at affordable retail prices.
Can you share some of the challenges and rewards of running a small business?
Running a small business storefront is A LOT harder than I had anticipated. The biggest challenge for me is balancing work and home life. When I had a leased space in other small businesses, I wasn’t required to work at the shop, and was free to come and go as I pleased and restocked my inventory as needed. Not having to work at the store allowed me to travel freely and work on my own hours creating new products and brainstorming new ideas. Owning my own storefront requires me to be there physically during store hours, as I am not quite ready to hire employees. I also handle all the accounting, social media, inventory management, marketing, and more. All of the behind the scenes work is done by myself. This business really is a labor of love – both physically and mentally.
Despite its challenges, one of the biggest rewards is being a part of a community that understands the importance of supporting small business. I get to meet my customers face-to-face and build relationships with them. A lot of my customers have become my friends. It truly feels fabulous to be able to see pictures of my products in my customers’ homes, hear stories of how much my customers love giving and receiving the products in store, and overall establishing friendships with people who would otherwise be strangers.
How has Storage Sense helped meet your storage needs?
I am able to secure my off-season inventory and displays in a safe, clean, and secure environment in close proximity to my storefront (less than 5 minutes away). Storage Sense offered a tremendous value compared to other local storage facilities. As my business grows, I will need to increase the size of my storage unit. Storage Sense offers multiple units at affordable prices with an easy to understand, no-frills contract.
What features or aspects of Storage Sense do you find most beneficial?
I love the 24/7 camera surveillance with locked and secure faciliities. As a woman, I feel safe and comfortable going into the warehouse to load/unload my storage unit at any time day or night. I also love having the monthly fee automatically withdrawn from my account. One less thing to worry about!
For those who may want to visit or support your boutique, can you provide links to your website and social media channels?
Absolutely! My website is www.flippinfabulousllc.com. I also have a storefront on Etsy and Amazon. I am on several social media channels as well, all of which are linked below:
“As a woman, I feel safe and comfortable going into the (Storage Sense) warehouse to load/unload my storage unit at any time day or night.”
About the Author: Paige is a Social Media Coordinator at Storage Asset Management in York, PA. She brings the most useful storage tips and tricks to your social media feed and loves a good self-storage pun. Beyond work, Paige spends her free time traveling extensively, her most recent trip being the Andes Mountain region of Bolivia.