- Business: Wildwood Charm.
- Location: Dalton, GA and online.
- Interesting Fact about Wildwood Charm: It’s a debt-free business employing 7 women.
- Interesting Fact about Rebekah Conner: She used to be a high school English teacher.
If you told Rebekah Conner five years ago that she’d one day run a successful women’s clothing boutique, she would have laughed.
A high school English teacher and busy mom, Rebekah had neither time for nor interest in fashion. What she did want was to provide for her growing family. So when Rebekah’s side hustle took off, she went all-in. Her biggest challenge was finding ways to keep up with her rapidly growing business.
“I said to my husband, ‘I think I can sell women’s clothes to groups on Facebook. I want to put $1000 on our credit card and just see what happens.’”
From after-hours to full-time
For Rebekah, launching a business was a leap of faith.
Times were tight after the birth of her third child, so Rebekah began selling headbands and hair bows to friends in her social media circle as a way to make ends meet. It went well—so well, in fact, that Rebekah thought she might be onto something.
“I said to my husband, “I think I can sell women’s clothes to groups on Facebook. I want to put $1000 on our credit card and just see what happens.””
He agreed, and they invested in a few boxes of wholesale women’s clothing. After the kids were in bed, they hosted live sales on Facebook, showcasing the clothes to online audiences from their living room. Every night, they sold out of stock. And every night, Rebekah and her husband stayed up until 3 or 4am processing Paypal invoices.
“It was a lot of work, and we were so tired after having worked all day,” she remembers. “But—it took off like wildfire.”
That was January of 2017. A month later, her family’s new income stream was significant enough for Rebekah to resign from her teaching job and focus full-time on the new business, Wildwood Charm.
“I started this business to give my family more financial stability and flexibility, but also because it was going to allow me to spend more time with my kids than I ever could as a teacher.”
Business is Booming. Time to Scale Up
Though sales continued to soar, the operations side of Wildwood Charm remained small. Boxes of clothes cluttered Rebekah’s living room, waiting to be sold or shipped. All this inventory needed a home, so Rebekah found a warehouse and hired three people to run it.
Soon after that, she found a nearby space that was perfect for a brick-and-mortar store. She leased the space and staffed up the store, which meant adding three more people to her payroll. By the time the store opened, Rebekah was overseeing six staff at two locations.
Up until this point, she’d been using manual timesheets for payroll. One or two staff, she could handle. Six was a nightmare.
“It was so time consuming,” she remembers. “I would need to add everything up several times and I probably still made mistakes. Math is not my strong suit.”
Meanwhile, the business was thriving. And though she was thankful for its success, Rebekah was swamped with paperwork. This was not what she’d bargained for.
“I started this business to give my family more financial stability and flexibility,” she says, “but also because it was going to allow me to spend more time with my kids than I ever could as a teacher.”
She began looking for a solution to streamline her operations.
“ezClocker pulls up the hours worked in a time period for each employee, and gives me the total number of hours for that pay period,” Rebekah explains. “I check to make sure nothing looks ary. Then I hit ‘run payroll’—and I’m done.”
Finally, an Easy Way to Manage Success
It was a friend and owner of a children’s clothing boutique who first recommended a time clock app called ezClocker to Rebekah. Eager to solve her paperwork crisis, she downloaded the free version to test it out. The simplicity of the software appealed to her immediately.
“ezClocker pulls up the hours worked in a time period for each employee, and gives me the total number of hours for that pay period,” she explains. “I check to make sure nothing looks ary. Then I hit ‘run payroll’—and I’m done.”
What used to take her nearly two hours every week was now taking 15-20 mins with ezClocker. She upgraded her service plan, and has never looked back.
ezClocker is Part of the Business
Today, onboarding to ezClocker is an essential step in the hiring process of any Wildwood Charm employee.
“Along with tax forms and other paperwork, one of the things on my checklist is putting new hires on ezClocker,” says Rebekah. “They get an email and download the app. When they arrive at work, they clock in through their phone. If they mess up, they just make a note on the app, and I can fix it manually.”
What’s more, it gives her a macro picture of staffing—all from the comfort of her own home. ezClocker’s GPS function tells her where and when each employee clocked in, so she can keep track of staff in both locations.
Streamlining operations in ways like this aligns with Rebekah’s bigger vision of small business ownership: one where she is debt-free and spending more time with family than at work. “We never wanted to be in a place where the business is running us. We wanted a business that we could walk away from and be fine.”
So far, she’s realizing that vision, one day at a time.
Rebekah’s Tips for Small Business Owners
- Be a debt free business. Ever since paying off that first $1000 investment on the credit card, Wildwood Charm has been debt-free.
- Seek out good people. Find those who will support you and walk you through things that are a little more difficult.
- Know who your person is. My husband has always been my person. I can tell him anything.
- Starting a business can be scary. Take deep breaths and walk past that fear.