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Meet Katie Barish of The Better Half Boutique in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Barish.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My Mom, Susie, and I had always wanted to own a gift shop of our own. We loved to shop, had a passion for decorating, and wanted to combine these two things together in our own store. My parents already owned another business, a party rental company. We decided to transform the showroom of the party rental business into our boutique and that is how we got our start and our name, “The Better Half.” After great feedback from that customer base, it became our goal to own a brick and mortar location of our own. 2 years after starting the concept of the boutique, we finally made our dream a reality and opened our own storefront in Long Beach in May of 2015. Three years later we continue to grow our shop anyway we can and love the community we are in. We carry a wide variety of fun, eclectic products. A lot of our products give back to different charities and we even do personalized gifts with engraving right in our store.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
With owning your own small business, I do not believe it is ever a smooth road. There are always bumps along the way. A major struggle we continue to face everyday is gaining the foot traffic one needs to succeed. We are constantly trying new ways to get our name out there and gain more customers, but a small shop can always use more business and it can be very hard and tiresome to gain it. Another struggle we often face, is competing with big box retailers. We often see items that we carry at “discount” stores and that can be very frustrating because we cannot compete with their prices.

The Better Half Boutique – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Our business is a gift store, we like to call ourselves, “A good time boutique.” This is because we like to carry really fun, unique products that you can’t find everywhere. We carry home decor, unique gifts, party supplies, specialty foods, candles, jewelry, and so much more! We are mostly becoming known for our engraving machine, which can engrave personalized gifts right on the spot within minutes! This has become a huge hit with our customer base for any of their gifting needs. Being able to personalize gifts right on the spot really sets us apart from any other business in the area. We engrave on items such as, cutting boards, picture frames, wall decor, coffee mugs, etc. What makes me most proud of our store is that a good portion of our inventory gives back to different charities or non-profits. For example, our bestselling candle line, Bridgewater, donates 3 meals to a child in need for every candle purchased. It makes me feel proud to be able to give back, while also doing what I love.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I personally define success by being able to do what I love and being able to make ends meet at the same time. At the end of the day we know our gift shop with probably never make us a millionaire, but if we can make enough money to stay in business and also support ourselves, while keeping the job fun and uplifting, that to me is success. We also find success in being able to provide a service to our customers that they cannot find else ware, we love helping our community be a better place.

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