There are those people you meet who are filled with positivity and a vision. I met Greta Hollar (then, Crouch) while we were in college at Belmont University. Since that meeting, we’ve survived journalism classes, traveled to Ireland together, co-founded an arts/culture blog The Belmont Journal with two of our other college buds, and have explored more of Nashville.
Greta and her husband, Tim, recently opened Five Sparrows, an online boutique for the girl on a budget. I recently asked her some questions about her new business venture. Read more below and follow my spunky, fabulous friend here and here.
1) Why did you start Five Sparrows?
I started Five Sparrows because my dream has always been to start my own boutique. I shared that dream with my husband after we got married and it’s become his dream as well. We’ve been dreaming, planning and researching for three years but with student loans have had to put it off. We finally decided to jump it and start an online store and see where it leads us!
2) Where did the name Five Sparrows originate?
Sparrows fascinate me. I have one tattooed on my hip to remind me of my favorite parable in Matthew. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” These verses always encouraged me to not worry about what’s going to happen because the big guy upstairs has got my back. Also, my husband Tim and I both come from families of five so that’s where the name came from.
3) What’s the look and feel you want to project in the fashion world through Five Sparrows?
We really want Five Sparrows to be affordable and unique women’s clothing that speaks for itself. When you purchase something from us we want it to be as easy and effortless as possible. If you buy the jumpsuit all you need is gold hoops or if you wear the cut-out dress you just need a simple necklace. Price is mainly our biggest thing. We understand you’re on a budget and want to look sassy and stylish at the same time, let us help you with that by offering affordable clothing.
4) What are your thoughts on being a female entrepreneur?
I don’t really think of myself as a female entrepreneur since my husband is in this just as much as I am, I think of it as co-trepreneurs! I think of Five Sparrows as a two married twenty-somethings and the typical American Dream and 9-5 jobs don’t fit their personalities and they want to be their own boss’s. I love styling, merchandising, social media and buying and my husband is good with the business/financial side of it. We make a great team.
5) How do you think women in fashion and women in business (and both) are perceived?
One thing that I’ve run into is that women who work in fashion are thought of as air heads who just like to shop. I remember the eyerolls I used to get when I said I wanted to be a stylist or own a boutique, like it was all a girl is good for is to shop and look cute. It’s so much more than that. When women look and feel good they can take on the world, and helping my fellow ladies with that gives me such a feeling of accomplishment.
Working in fashion is hard work, it’s competitive and you constantly have to stay on trend and on point or your customers will go somewhere else. You also have to be flexible and not let your pride get in the way. Crop tops may not look good on me but just because I can’t wear them doesn’t mean that I can’t sell them, my population loves a good crop top with high-waisted shorts!
I also think that people think women are catty and cut throat and conspire to take each other down in business. Yes fashion is competitive but being a woman in business is hard enough, why take down someone who has the same dreams as you and is working just as hard to make that dream come true? Also, women are just as smart as men when it comes to talking business. Never underestimate a woman with a dream.
6) What do you think society can do to improve the image of or encourage women as entrepreneurs?
Like I said above, society can stop butting women against each other and stirring up trouble. Support your fellow businesswomen! You don’t have to be best friends and talk about all your business strategies but at least support each other and lift each other up.
7) What are some positives and negatives you’ve experienced in this field?
We’re such a new business this is a tough question. We’ve gotten great feedback on what we’re selling too much of or what we’re not selling enough of. We’re just trying to make a name for ourselves and get the word out right now.
8) What are your immediate goals for Five Sparrows?
My immediate goals are to sell out the shop and have to constantly be getting new things but realistically we would like the business to grow enough to open an actual store in West Nashville.
9) What is your advice to someone who may want to start their own blog/business?
Starting your own business is terrifying and exciting at the same time. You’ll definitely have to make sacrifices but you need to be persistent and not give up. So what if your store doesn’t sell anything the first month? Rewrite the description or style it a different way. Don’t give up! Keep at it until you make it and it will be so worth it in the end. I read #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso (founder of Nasty Gal) and she wrote that the hardest part of starting a business is just putting yourself out there. Yes people may make fun of you or think your business will be broke by the end of the first year but at least you tried! A lot of people can’t even say that.