This is an ongoing blog series to celebrate International Women’s Day! Each day this week, we will be highlighting a female business owner in #DowntownCG, hearing their stories and advice, and what it means to them to have a day set aside to recognize women around the globe. The questions asked are mostly the same, but the answers are as unique as the ladies themselves, so be sure to come back each day to gain even more wisdom from the women of Downtown.
Renee Clements is the owner and founder of Magnolias Bridal Boutique located on Broadway. Follow her on social media!
What inspired you to start your own business?
I double-majored in Advertising and Fashion Merchandising and knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry and on the marketing/advertising side which would end up taking me to a big city. But as you grow and life evolves, you realize that home is always with your family and that’s what we wanted to come back to. But we knew it was going to be a little bit more challenging to do that and still maintain a strong career in my field which didn’t seem possible here in the Midwest. That inspired me to create my own path as a opposed to allowing someone else to control it. So coming back home to Southeast Missouri and still wanting a strong career in this industry, was what really inspired me to go the entrepreneurial route. I took pieces of my past careers and molded them into a creation that eventually evolved into Magnolias!
What’s your favorite part about owning your own business?
I’m able to wear so many hats, and every day is so completely different! There will be office days where I get to play accountant. Then there are days when I place orders. And then there are days where I’m only with customers and get to work with brides hands-on all day. The majority of my days are a mixture of all of those things, and I think that’s by far my favorite thing which you can only experience by owning your own business. I’m able to do so many different jobs in one, and I love that! It keeps me energized and inspired. I’m constantly learning and challenging myself.
What advice would you give to a woman looking to start her own business?
There’s a lot to take into consideration. But the biggest thing is that women need to realize that we’re just as capable as any other human on the planet. There’s no reason that because you’re a female, you’re unable to take any journey that you want to take. Just run with it! There’s nothing holding you back.
Do you have any influences that have inspired you?
I’ve been so grateful to have worked professionally with so many amazing women, and I think the exposure to that has been great. Anyone you surround yourself with you can learn from if you allow yourself to. There have been so many women who have inspired me. But my family has also instilled in me to be myself and that I can do anything. I was raised by a very strong mother, and my father was just as equally present and strong. My family has always supported me in whatever I wanted to do.
What do you think is a woman’s greatest superpower?
I think that a woman’s power of emotion is our greatest superpower! With men and women, our brains literally think differently! We’re so gifted with emotions that a lot of men don’t carry. I think that allows us to be so powerful and successful in business, because we’re able to have empathy in a situation, but we also have the intelligence to support it. Our feelings and emotions allow us to be so much mightier than how others might perceive it. I think people often see emotion as a weakness, but I see it as a superpower! When you think of an entrepreneur and what they have to go through to build a business, emotion is a huge part of that. You have to work so hard and tirelessly, so you have to have emotion and passion behind you driving you forward.
What does it mean to you that there’s a day set aside to recognize women?
It makes me think of where I want us to move forward as women, and where I’d like to see us go. I’d like us to recognize that we are different from men, but we are still equal. We want to be treated as equals, but recognized for our unique differences and skills. Also, having a day like this allows us to sit back and recognize that it hasn’t always been this way. We can take a minute and appreciate how far women have come and how many women have went before us to allow us to sit and have this conversation today. So we can highlight women, but also reflect on how far we’ve come.
Thank you to all of our female business owners for being awesome! We hope this series has inspired and encouraged you to forge your own path and make a difference.