Let’s start this off with some honesty – tassels are the top of our most coveted list, and The Providence Story has the perfect tassel for every single tassled need that we have (that’s a thing, right?). Started by business woman, mother and girlboss extraordinaire, Alison, The Providence Story continues to weave its way into our hearts and closets, as well as onto our purses. Alison is chock full of creativity, wisdom and a splash of humor – all the best things – and we are beyond thrilled to share her story with all of you today. Take a breath, hide your wallet (actually don’t) and get to reading, we promise you will feel freshly invigorated to take on the day!
Tell us about what prompted the creation of The Providence Story? What was the inspiration behind the name?
After I had my first baby, I wasn’t planning on going back to work. I started missing the feeling of working for my own paycheck pretty quickly though….I had been working since I was 14 and was so used to making my own money. After seeing some of my craft and DIY projects that I had been doing my spare time my cousin suggested that I start an Etsy shop. I was a little uncomfortable with the idea – I was so scared of ending up on Regretsy! But I thought about it and decided to give it a try. I expected absolutely nothing to come of it. My husband actually came up with the name for my shop! We were in the process of buying our first home – on Providence Road – and our wedding song is “The Story” so he just meshed the two together and I thought it was pretty good, so boom! The Providence Story was born in August of 2012. I started off selling crocheted scarves and baby sweaters and the response was great!
We love your cheetah print tassel, and we know it is super popular; how did the idea for it come to you?
Thank you! I had been really into tassel jewelry for a while and one day the idea just came to me that tassel keychains made from the cheetah print hair-on-hide leather would be super fun….AND a great way to use all of the scraps that I had been saving from making bags. I don’t like when any leather goes to waste so I felt really good about being able to finally use them. I did a bunch of Internet searching before marketing them because I wanted to sell something unique….luckily I couldn’t find any others…at the time! I started by making only one size because as a scatter brained mom one of the most frustrating things that happens during my day is fumbling around inside of my diaper bag for my keys….they get swallowed up and lost every time. I was sure that an obnoxiously large keychain would do the trick, and it does!
What are some of your favorite ways to style your tassels?
One of the reasons that I love the tassels so much is that they look cool however you use them. Simple things like carrying my keys to the car suddenly feels a bit fancier. My favorite way to style the tassels though is to clip one with my keys onto the outside of my black leather purse/diaper bag for easy access and because it adds a little flash of personality to my look. I’m constantly changing tassels too! They’ve become way more of an outfit accessory than I ever thought they would.
What are your tricks to balancing a professional and personal life?
This is something that I am still figuring out! Every day is different, but I try to only work when my kids are napping or when my oldest is at school. Sometimes orders get crazy though and I try to squeeze some in when they are occupied with something… that usually doesn’t last long though! My oldest, who is 3, loves to help me and I always try to let her help. She’s the best at putting orders into mailing envelopes! On the weekends I take advantage of my husband being home and usually use a big chunk of time to knock out a bunch of orders. When I am not working I try to be as present as I can be with both my husband and the kids, but that is a work in progress and I am constantly striving to be better.
What is one thing that you have learned from entrepreneurship that you didn’t expect? What did it teach you?
One thing that has surprised me about entrepreneurship is how much of your heart goes into it. I suppose it makes sense, but until I was there I didn’t fully understand. It is unlike any other job that I’ve had. Every move is careful and full love. Before this, I equated entrepreneurship with just any other job really. But it becomes your life, in the best way possible. Every day I am looking for inspiration, new materials, marketing opportunities, etc. and I am excited to spend time in my little work space getting things done! The most exciting days are when new leather arrives and I quickly start assembling new tassels or bags to see how they look. I love day dreaming and working up ideas for new products. Even if for some reason this business doesn’t work out, it’s safe to say I will never go back to work for someone else’s vision – I am hooked on seeing mine come to life!
When you are outside of the office, what can we find you doing?
Spending time with my family! We are outdoorsy, adventurous people. We love running, hiking, and exploring. Of course now a days, exploring tends to look more like checking out a new playground or park, but we’ll get back to the big stuff when we can!
What is your favorite quote and why?
“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” – Lucille Ball
I grew up idolizing Lucille Ball and this one always stuck with me because it just speaks the truth. I think taking chances is the way to live your best life.
How would you describe your personal style?
This is tough, I’ve never tried to put my style into words before! Classic with a fun and easy twist? I don’t take myself too seriously so I am usually always comfortable while being put together, but nothing that requires much effort! I wear a lot of easy clothes like jeans and tshirts but then if the mood strikes I’ll put on an obnoxious lip color even if I have no other makeup on. I used to be afraid of doing things like that but it’s really fun! Anyway I usually gravitate towards clean, classic styles but will totally pick up a trendy piece here and there too. I just try to stick to the rule of spending the most money on items that will get the most wear.
Tell us about one of your quirks that people may not know of?
I don’t know why, but I cannot stand to spend money on haircuts! I have no problem (at all) spending money in general, but I might only get a real hair cut once a year. I’ve been doing it myself since college and I’m fine with the outcome. I think that’s a little weird!
What word represents the twenty-something years?
For more on Alison and The Providence Story visit her here