Meet Linnea. She’s got the hottest boutique in town. But don’t take my word for it. Best of C-Ville has named her shop Best Consignment Store three years in a row. She’s also a total #ladyboss. Again, C-Ville readers voted her Runner Up for Best Female-Owned Business in Charlottesville. (Have I mentioned she’s under 30?) Plus, she organizes a little thing called Boss Babes Cville, a Facebook group made up of some 300 small business owners, leaders, and creatives in our city. When she’s not pulling long hours at the shop or organizing a Boss Babes meet-up, Linnea’s teaching exercise classes at Charlottesville’s MADabolic and M3 Core Training. Tired yet? Me too, girlfriend. Linnea, it’s such a treat to have you on The Thersday Series today! Thanks for squeezing me in to your schedule, darling, and speaking good truths to us on beauty, worthiness, and grace.
Tell us about the origins of Darling.
Darling was opened in October 2012 by another amazing lady boss—Elizabeth Steel. I was a regular consignor and customer at Darling, and already loved the space when she told me one day she was looking to sell. So, on March 1, 2015, I became the co-owner with Megan Tiernan, and we journeyed together in the process of recreating Darling—from the logo, the branding, the space, and even the concept. We knew we wanted to encourage women on the local level in a broad way and support handmade goods in addition to the curated consignment. So we started to expand into the local artisan market. When I became the sole owner in August 2016, I wanted to expand that part of the business, so I started bringing in more and more local artisans, and currently, the shop hosts more than 35 local artisans! The mission and vision has always been the same, though—to support and encourage women (and girls!) through fashion to empower and restore true beauty, self-esteem, and self-worth.
Name something you’re most proud of in your business experience.
I’ve been incredibly blessed this past (almost) 3 years at Darling. The shop won Best Consignment Shop in C-VILLE 3 years in a row (2015, 2016, and 2017!), and this year, I was the Runner-Up for a new category—Best Female-Owned Business. Talk about an affirmation. And it came right around the one year anniversary of becoming the sole owner and buying out my partner. God knew I needed a boost. He always does, and He always provides. I have learned so much about being a business owner in this short time, but the biggest thing is this: When God calls you into something, whether it’s a business, a phase of life, or situation, He will sustain you. He will take care of your every need. Walking in the will of God is the safest place to be.
What’s something you do everyday to start the morning off on the right foot?
Go workout! Seriously. I try to roll out of bed and get my tired booty to a class. When I do, I feel SO good. Better energy, appetite, and mood throughout the day. In addition to Darling, I coach at two local fitness studios — MADabolic and M3 Core Training. I teach barre classes at M3 and coach interval training classes at MADabolic. So that’s where you’ll find me getting my sweat and shake on throughout the week!
What characteristic do you most admire in other creative women?
Grace. For themselves and for others. I’ve learned so much this last year about grace. Grace when you make mistakes, grace when you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, grace when you ate a ton of crap because you were eating your emotions, grace when you sleep all afternoon on your one day off, grace to fold the laundry later, grace to sit and listen to someone else share something they’re going through even when you feel like you have nothing to give them. I’ve learned if you’re not giving yourself grace, you can’t give anyone else grace. I’ve been shown immense amounts of grace from many women in my life this past year, in ways I’ve just begun to comprehend. I find myself asking this question often: “What would today look like if I sat, peacefully, in grace? If I worked, peacefully, in grace? If I treated others, peacefully, with grace?”
Who keeps you company in your line of work?
My customers and consignors! Everyone who comes into Darling is a friend. Or I make them one quickly! I work long days in the shop by myself every week, but I have so many regular customers that pop in to browse and see the new arrivals, or just to chat, or to bring me a treat. I am constantly reminded that I’m not alone, that this shop girl thing isn’t isolating – it’s SOCIAL. And it’s richly community-building. I thrive on those conversations and divine appointments with friends, old and new.
///Pictures for this post were taken from Darling’s Instagram page. Follow the shop for fashion, inspiration, and encouragement.