If founding one multi-million dollar e-commerce clothing line is an accomplishment, what name do we give it when someone has founded two? Answer: Erin E. Hooley.
Yes, with no degree and no formalized training (she doesn’t even know how to sew) this Texas-based mother of six is the founder and CEO of both Bailey’s Blossoms and Peyton Bre. Married at 19, Hooley had six children by the age of 28. Having overcome her feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, this dynamic businesswoman is now passionate about empowering entrepreneurs and mompreneurs to succeed.
With Mothers Day on the horizon, we chatted with this super-preneur, who now lives in Rhome, TX with her husband and their children.
Why did you start Bailey’s Blossoms?
It started as something to “keep me busy” in the evenings when my husband moved to Michigan for a new job, leaving me and our then three children in Arizona to finish out the school year and attempt to sell our home.
This was amid the 2008 recession so money was tight and economic circumstances far from ideal. Without fear or expectation I launched Bailey’s Blossoms – “Bailey” after our eldest daughter, and “Blossoms” because, at the time, I was making hair flower clips.
What is the goal of the business?
Our exclusive clothing designs are priced affordably, offering a way for boutique fashion to be more widely accessible, without sacrificing quality or dedication to service and customer satisfaction.
The majority of all images on our website and social pages are not models, but the customers themselves who share their photos with us and become an integral part of our brand story and identity.
What was the biggest challenge you had starting out?
Starting the business was simple. I didn’t have any idea of what it could become so I didn’t overthink every tiny detail, or let fear get in the way. I embraced the learnings and welcomed the feedback and even critique of those I served.
Not until it began to truly scale and I understood the potential of what we had created did I begin to struggle. My husband quit his corporate career in 2017 which put an added pressure on me to “make it work.”
How did you “make it work?”
I had to get to a place where I realized that the only thing in my way was me. I started identifying the road blocks in my way as either a skill set which I could learn, or a mindset I could change. That’s not to say that I don’t still have trying days, but I have a deeper understanding of how to break apart challenges that helps keep me grounded, regardless of what comes next.
What do you enjoy most about your job now?
I love designing and creating so staying in one place for long has never been an option. Bailey’s Blossoms went from hair accessories and tutus, to costumes, DIY kits, rompers, and finally a full fledged clothing line with mommy and me styles in addition to our classic infant and toddler designs.
Our sister brand “Peyton Bre” was launched a little over a year ago for tweens and teens, and we are launching a women’s line, “Alredine” this summer.
What has changed both at work and home for you since the onset of the pandemic?
Oh goodness! What hasn’t changed? Much of our staff is working remotely and, with our six children home from school, my husband and I are tag-teaming responsibilities at home and the office. Distribution within the supply chain has slowed down as well, but amidst it all we have been greatly blessed to see continued growth over last year.
If businesses can see people as people, rather than dollar signs, it would serve them well. That’s where loyalty happens on both sides.
What are your three favorite things to do on your down time?
I love music! I am always singing or dancing and have playlists on my phone for every mood. Belt-worthy show tunes are my favorite!
The outdoors is where I long to be. If you drive by my house you’ll often see me out rollerblading or playing a game of street hockey with my kids.
And, whenever I have a “down day” I cook en masse – I love food and even more so preparing food for those I love. I’ll make a dozen lasagnas or chicken enchiladas to freeze so I can whip them out with little notice for an impromptu get together with friends.
What one thing would you like people to know about you?
I have a passion for education. Maybe it’s from the years of feeling inadequate for not having a college degree, but I am dedicated to showing those who aspire to create something beautiful that they can achieve whatever it is that they set their minds to, regardless of their paper credentials. With this in mind I launched the “Conquering Chaos” podcast and erinehooley.com and look forward to continuing to serve both seasoned and aspiring entrepreneurs in the pursuit of their goals.
Cover: Erin E. Hooley. Photo courtesy Brooks and Pine Photography
Julie Tereshchuk is the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Lifestyle Magazine.