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Meet Laura Keenan of Treasury Boutique

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Keenan.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m a Texan, born and raised. I worked in the service industry through high school and college, mostly at golf clubs. That was such a sweet gig. There are days when I definitely miss driving my golf cart around in the sunshine all day…selling refreshments to a bunch of hungry, happy people, playing their favorite game. Not bad! I graduated from the University of Texas in Austin in 2006, packed up my Honda Civic, and moved to LA two days later. I started out as an Assistant Controller of Craft Restaurant Los Angeles, in Century City, which was such a blessing in so many ways, including meeting my future husband there! I was there doing bookkeeping and HR for a few years before the executive sous chef and I began to realize how amazing each other were. He was promoted to Chef de Cuisine shortly after, so it was time for me to move on to something new. I worked with another amazing restaurant family for a couple years following that, handling all the finances, HR, and also helped with managing FOH staff in the restaurant. Then I started to get inquiries from other companies about small projects they were working on, and could I help them? I decided to start Treasury Boutique, offering bookkeeping, payroll, and HR services to small businesses. That was 2012. Most of my clients were restaurants and bars at first. Now we’ve since expanded to all sorts of industries and ventures, but still pride ourselves on being a valuable partner in the service realm. In November 2017, my husband John is actually leaving the full-time restaurant chef lifestyle and teaming up with Treasury Boutique to lead a department specifically focused on keeping a closely trained eye on expenses within our service industry clients. Vendor prices and invoice errors, kitchen efficiency, and accurate inventory services are going to be some of the places he will be focusing. As anyone in the service industry knows, the margins are extremely tough to hit. Our clients need all hands-on deck and we try to support them as completely as we can.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Ha! No!!! In the beginning I had to charge minimal rates, so I could get a strong base of referrals established. Once that happened, I had mentors in the finance world telling me to raise my prices. But the first few years were stressful and intense. I was the only employee at that point, trying to work more hours than I physically had available while paying my credit cards back for startup expenses. I was confronted with so many new challenges that come with being your own boss. Learning what it is that makes Treasury Boutique worthy of referrals, managing a vast array of client personalities, and establishing a functioning office were certainly a process. The process hasn’t ended either, as we are constantly trying to make ourselves better partners for our clients.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Treasury Boutique – what should we know?
We offer full scale bookkeeping, payroll administration and HR support for small businesses. We have extensive experience in the hospitality industry, but greatly enjoy mixing it up. I like to think that the human aspect to Treasury Boutique is one of our biggest assets. There is always new technology, and keeping up with that is important, but at the end of the day, doesn’t it just feel better to know there is an actual person making sure that technology is running well? We really try to be a supportive partner for our clients, as it is our intention to make their lives easier and more successful. For restaurants that means lots of communication with owners, managers, and staff. That means we come to you and pick up what we need, because you don’t have time to scan all those invoices into the cloud, or drive across town to drop them off at our office.

Sometimes it isn’t even finance related. I once had a chef’s car break down at the Farmer’s Market. He called me, not able to reach anyone else, and I went and picked him and all his produce up! If there is something a client needs that is anywhere within our wheelhouse of skills to assist, we’re there.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I’m thankful for so many people, I could never have done this all on my own. My husband John has been by my side the entire journey. When I first started TB and didn’t have a consistent income yet, he and his roommate let me move in with them to save on rent and expenses. He is always the first person to remind me that I am capable and worthy when times get tough. My family and friends have been my biggest cheerleaders when I needed encouragement, and the best listeners when I needed to scream! I was lucky to have invaluable mentors encouraging me and helping to guide my focus, some really incredible clients and colleagues who consistently send us new business, and amazing human beings working on my team. I can truly say that my employees have changed my life for the better, and there is no way I would be this happy without them. We all work together as a team on projects, and everyone is so gracious with their time and skills. At the same time, a healthy work/life balance is immensely important to us, and always will be.

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