Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Dakota Warfield is emerging from the pandemic as a new entrepreneur. Starting the business last September also helped the single Chicago mother, who has been lonely since she was 12, to address and overcome some of her deepest fears about supporting her family and herself.
“I don’t know what a pandemic is like. I don’t know if this is a blessing or what, when I was in my glory and ate $ 1,000, big companies were taking hits and then they started closing a lot of locations and many of them filed for bankruptcy, “Warfield, who lived in Mansfield over the past 12 years, he said.
“And then there are many small entrepreneurs like me, that’s when we came to mind. We were able to make a significant amount of money to reinvest in ventures as if we were trying to get some real estate here in Mansfield, ” he added.
On a slow Monday night before the holiday rush, where she had unpacked and tried on her clothes, Warfield changed into another of the trendy jackets she had selected (among the many other eye-catching pieces she sells) and went she sat down and further explained how she became addicted (to fashion).
Addicted Boutique, housed in suite 702, within the Richland Mall, also known as She Addicted Boutique on the Internet, is literally the name of the specialty store with a strong online presence (which is by design since Warfield has a degree in Business Marketing as well. .
With a welcoming demeanor and a warm smile, she detailed how her business began from very humble beginnings. An origin story that included commuting back and forth to his hometown of Chicago and selling Christmas suits and other clothing from the trunk of his car.
The experience further evolved into greater aspirations to work for herself and eventually morphed into a brick and mortar business with a chic, urban feel.
In 2019, a baby fell on her lap, Warfield explained. “And when I say I fell on my lap, Childhood Services had separated the two (mother and child) and they would take like this five week old baby (from parent) and I was like, no, I’m going to care for her. “, She said.
“And my work schedule was so busy that my children are already grown up,” he said of his two sons Jaden and Jakarri, who attend middle school. “I didn’t know what it was like to have a babysitter, so it was really crazy,” she explained.
Warfield found another job in hopes of securing a cheaper schedule that would allow her to take care of the child she was entrusted with.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go exactly as planned and she was fired from that job in less than a month. As a result, he thought his world was coming to an end.
Although she did not mention the name of the employer who let her go, she explained that the dismissal took her by surprise because she was not given any notice or written to anything.
“He fired me right before Thanksgiving,” Warfield said
“My parents are dead, so my kids don’t have grandparents. I had about $ 1,000 in my checking account. Mind you, I still have this baby. ”
He hadn’t even told childcare services about the termination.
Warfield said he didn’t know what to do, but he knew he had to make some changes to continue providing for the babies because he couldn’t just sit there and risk the baby being sent out of his care. He also felt that his older children would be okay with the changes because they were used to being well provided.
“Long story short,” she said, “I went and invested in a lot of these Christmas rompers,” which she pointed to on a shelf in the store.
“I didn’t pay any of my December bills and took every dollar I had in my checking account and then reinvested the rest of the profit,” he said. He also raised his bills.
“So, once I have the profit reinvested, we will enter 2020. So, as you know, we enter 2020 and the pandemic strikes. I took my entire income tax refund check and put it in with all the money from the profit because after the onesie, I had only made New Year’s dresses. “
Warfield said he got the idea of buying New Year’s Eve clothing from his time working in retail at TJ Maxx.
He said the retailer ordered his items based on the season and “they ordered for the holidays, whatever happens is what they went to,” he said.
Warfield said all the clothes and additional items he had purchased were out of stock. So he took that money along with the income tax refund and invested it all in the business.
Then they started hitting closures due to the pandemic.
“The world ends up closing, you know they close everything. Once they closed everything, I got scared once again because I am a hard worker and have always worked since I was old enough to work, “she said.
“I was terrified. I have a degree in Business Marketing, but I have no experience in the industry. So it’s hard to get a job marketing someone else from home,” he added.
That said, the young mother, who had also helped raise her younger sister, had a source of inspiration for a possible money-making venture while she was at home watching television during the closures.
“One day I was watching the news and saw that everyone was out in my hometown. Everyone was still out in Chicago, as if they had never actually obeyed the rules. I packed my bags. I packed my bags because I have to feed my children, “he said.
“For example, I’m risking my life, but I had to make sure they were taken care of. So I went to Chicago and sold clothes with my car, “she said, adding that she did pretty well on the weekends.
“I was liquidating at least $ 1,000 a day. So, I did great things there, I constantly saved, “he said.
However, Warfield began to tire of the fatigue.
“The problem I was having even though I found out I was chasing the money. You know, I was waking up, I barely saw my kids because I was always in Chicago. And that was constantly just chasing and chasing sales, ”he said.
“So, in February of this year I decided I didn’t want to do it anymore, that I needed to re-brand my business and figure out how to present my business in front of customers who wanted to see my business. Customers chase me instead of me chasing customers, “he said.
Warfield began analyzing his analytics and checking the best days and times to maximize online publication. As a result, she was able to determine which days of the week to get the most sales in her region.
“So if I know I’m going to get the most sales in this region of the world on Friday, I’ll pay for the ads for that part of the world,” he added.
She went from struggling to make $ 700 in a month to around $ 6,000 a month online after trying it.
“I didn’t leave the house, I was with my children, I was like life was beautiful. Let me see if I can double this month next month. I made about $ 8,000 in May and $ 11,000 in June. In August, I was earning around $ 20,000. And once I started earning $ 20,000, I obviously outgrew my house, “she said.
The whole other side of his duplex was full of inventory. At that point, he began questioning his next steps. In any case I will have to pay for the storage. Or should I just open a shop? In any case, they are a monthly expense, “he said.
Warfield began exploring locations in Ontario, then contacted and spoke to the manager of the Richland Mall, who showed her the current suite occupied by the company.
“I liked the mirrors. I liked the space, “he said, calling it unique.
For mall goers, who might feel like they’re experiencing some deja vu when they pop in to see what’s going on in the boutique, the business is housed in the original space that was previously held by retailer Bath and Body Works .
While there are no signs of the former retailer moving to the other side of the mall, there are reminders of Warfield, who is also the face of the company. An area of a wall on the right side of the store literally features a sign with an image of her smiling face. Its likeness also graces its gorgeous business cards.
At the entrance, customers are greeted by walls lined with jackets and coats. There are also shelves full of merchandise. Also, an area with shoes and boots. Warfield also sells accessories and eyelashes in addition to those that first helped to get his business aspirations off the ground.
Customers can also shop online for swimwear and sunglasses and a host of additional clothing items for both men and women. The site also has a catalog. Click here to visit his Facebook page, in the past Warfield has offered designs for his new subscribers.