August 2, 2017


Today I am starting a new series (name of series tbd) But,  most of my readers follow me because they have been to my boutique, No. 14.  I get emails from aspiring entrepreneurs every single day, which is something that gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling because I love a determined young woman looking to better herself.  Never in a million years would I have thought that people would be asking business advice from me, but the more questions I get asked, the more I realized that there is really a need for open conversation about small business and I couldn’t wait to start something like that on this platform. 

So, let's start from the beginning

(selfies with my mom when we bought the building)

Q: How did you start your business? 
I started No. 14 right out of college.  In February of 2014, my parents decided to purchase a building in a bustling area of Pittsburgh called Lawrenceville.  It was ‘up and coming’ and my parents were interested in investing in the area, knowing that they’d have a tenant for the first floor retail space- US! The building was a run down bar in need of a full gut & rehab job.  

We were able to pick all of the finishings that we wanted customized to our desired aesthetic for our future business.  The renovation took about 6-7 months and on October 14, 2014, we opened our doors.  

In those nine months between February and October:

  • I finished my senior year of college and Graduated from High Point University in North Carolina. (my major was Strategic Communications, but more on that in a future post)
  • We created an LLC
  • We oversaw the renovation of the building and spent a LOT of time in Home Depot 
  • I did weeks of research on brands that would be good fit for us
  • My mom and I went on a buying trip to purchase our inventory
  • We purchased store fixtures, receipt rolls, a point-of-sales system, shopping bags, created a logo, and a zillion other tiny details that we never realized go into the process of shopping!

A little insight on juuuust how much renovating we did....

Q: Did you maintain a job while you were waiting to open your doors? What do you recommend for someone that needs to maintain their 9-5 before they start their business?

I did not ‘have a job’ in that, I was not on somebody else’s payroll.  When I graduated in May, my full time job was very much No. 14.  We had to go to the job site almost everyday to check in on the progress of the interior and I spent weeks researching brands and trying to get everything ‘perfect’ so I wouldn’t have to re-do anything.  I wanted to make the perfect decision the first time, so I wouldn’t have to go back and re-research how to do things later on.  (which FYI, isn't an effective method.  Because, all of those details I was fussing over are not even on our radar anymore). 

At this time, I was living at home with my parents, so I was able to take little to no paycheck which I am so grateful for.  A lot of girls ask me how to open a business while maintaining their 9-5 because they can't afford not to take a paycheck. This is definitely doable.  We live in a very 'instant' world where we are able to click on something and it's on our doorstep in two days #thankyouamazon (no complaining here, I couldn't live without PrimePantry). BUT, some things are worth waiting for. 

Rome wasn't built in a day.  

If you have a 9-5 that you aren't ready to give up, make your future business your side hustle.  Wake up an extra hour early and sit at your desk with your breakfast, sit at your desk after dinner, bring your laptop to the sofa with you and do research during commercials of the bachelorette. Continue to chip away at your dream and eventually you will be ready to take the leap.

I recommend setting weekly goals for yourself because you'll be disappointed with yourself when you can't check off your list. This weekly desk notepad could be a huge game changer for goal setting because it sits open on your desk & you can't ignore your tasks when they're staring you in the face!

I also love to have a few notebooks in my bag, I blow through notebooks so quickly because I love to jot things down.  Ideas, deliveries I am expecting, No. 14's daily numbers etc. I'm a sucker for all things cute and I want the contents of my tote to match. These sweet notebooks are perfect to start your collection and get your ideas flowing.

I am going to try to do posts like this as often as I can! I keep a document in my dropbox full of questions you guys are asking that I will eventually put into this series.  Have questions you'd like me to answer? Nothing is off the table! Drop me a line here!

Can't wait to chat!


  1. Hey Brianne!

    My friend suggested your blog to me! I'm from Pittsburgh and just moved to Nashville, TN! I've been considering opening my own business. Definitely big-dream stages but just praying and thinking about a vision and what it would be! Maybe a boutique or coffee shop... I'm so thankful you're starting this series since you're around my age and also don't have specific background in business. Also you're store is SO cute by the way and I can't wait to come visit next time I'm home!

    Thanks again! Looking forward to this journey. :)

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