Madison Conn is this week’s featured entrepreneur in our spotlight series. Conn is the owner of Conntempo Boutique, an online women’s boutique clothing store based right here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Conn launched Conntempo Boutique in 2016 and the business has become a family activity with her husband Brian and young son Morgan helping her along on her entrepreneurship journey.
What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne?
Fort Wayne is an amazing community. Supporting local businesses is important to me as a resident and something I strive to do no matter if I’m buying carpet, a gift for a friend or a new outfit. I have many friends in the community that are like me – busy career women that need the convenience of online shopping but absolutely love the boutique experience. Having both of these options in a boutique that is local to Fort Wayne and that offers free shipping – that was on my wish list and that is what we offer at Conntempo Boutique.
What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community?
I have found that other local entrepreneurs here in Fort Wayne have been incredibly helpful. I’ve walked in to many locally-owned stores and have found the owners and managers always willing to talk, share their experiences, etc. The Fort Wayne community really wants others to succeed and that has been instrumental in helping me grow and learn as an entrepreneur. I also think the power of Facebook is helpful! When local residents find something that is based in Fort Wayne, they are always so willing to try something new or to lend their support. I love how local residents support local businesses!
What person has helped you the most in your journey?
My husband and my son have helped me the most. When I decided to begin this adventure, it was with their backing 100%. I already had a demanding full-time job, so to add opening and running a business was just taking a little more time away from the family. They have been so understanding of this dream of mine and lend their support with many tasks – it truly is a family business!
What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs?
Research, research, research! Starting your own business is daunting, but you can limit how overwhelmed you feel by researching other successful businesses first – get a feel for why they are successful and then apply what makes sense to your business. I spent six months doing significant research before we officially opened and launched and I never regretted one single second of that.
What would be the best thing Fort Wayne could do for entrepreneurs in your opinion?
Personally I’d love to see more networking opportunities. While I’ve been in business almost two years now, it’s been hard at times connecting with others and networking. I’ve learned a lot myself and would love to share that information with others that might want to start a business. With my business being online only, that limits my opportunities to network in person. I’d love to see more organized events.
What are some of the benefits and challenges with starting an online venture?
Opening an online business has its benefits – less money is going out the door for a store front (rent, utilities, etc). Having less money going out the door on those things, it gives you an opportunity to invest more of that money into the business. An online venture also provides the ability to be a 24 hour/ 7 day a week operation. That’s a benefit and a challenge both! Without opening/closing storefront hours, it does offer some added work-life balance. Challenges that I face with an online business include understanding eCommerce – where to advertise, what social media platforms to target, etc. There is a LOT of competition out there, so it’s finding a ways to differentiate your business and build a loyal customer base. That takes a lot of trial and error – you can’t be afraid to make a mistake (believe me, I’ve made many!)
Looking for more local entrepreneurship information? Check out our next edition of “This Week in Entrepreneurship” – coming out this Tuesday at noon on Living Fort Wayne.
Browse our website for a complete listing of past “Entrepreneurship Spotlights.” If you are an entrepreneur in the area who would like to share your story like today’s spotlight did, connect with us today!