A Vintage Vision
It is not easy being an entrepreneur, but it is easy being a passionate entrepreneur.
Amanda Morell, passionate entrepreneur and owner of Shop Country Club in St. Paul and Shoreview, Minnesota, just celebrated one year since her vintage store opened. Her store was founded on a vision and a desire for creative fulfillment.
Morell began her career in the retail industry by working for Urban Outfitters for 13 years. She started off as an in-store merchandiser and worked her way up to a district merchandiser.
Unfortunately, due to money problems with the company, she was laid off. She had to pivot quickly due to having to provide for her family. Morell took a similar position with Forever 21, but she quickly realized that this job was not allowing her to be her most creative self.
She channeled her creativity into a vision she had for a photoshoot that was inspired by the film The Virgin Suicides.
She gathered two models, organized hair and makeup and hired a photographer. The photoshoot took place in a vintage store where she was able to style the models.
This was the birth of the idea and aesthetic of Shop Country Club.
"The aesthetic of Shop Country Club is a combination of feminine and modern," Morell said. "It has really sweet and over the top girly elements but then it has very clean and modern elements”
The aesthetic of Morell’s shop is also seen in her customers' eyes.
“It’s very common to find vintage shops that fill their collection with fluff pieces, but Shop Country Club has curated a collection that caters to numerous different styles," Julia Williams, a new customer at Shop Country Club, said.
Morell still worked at Forever 21 when her idea of Shop Country Club was born. When she had the time, she would find vintage pieces and sell them at local markets once a month.
Her brand started off small, but after a few markets, Shop Country Club gradually began to grow.
Then, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was laid off from Forever 21, as were many people during this time.
Morell didn’t know her next step. Her plan was to continue hosting vintage markets. This was until she noticed a vacant space within a strip mall near her house.
It wasn’t long until she purchased the vacant space. It took her three months to alter and renovate the space, and then the first location of Shop Country Club was ready to open.
Ever since Shop Country Club began being Morell’s full-time job, a busy day has become the norm.
On Mondays and Tuesdays her store is closed, which gives her time to shop for vintage merchandise and source products. Morell usually finds her pieces at Goodwill outlets, consignment stores, Savers and garage sales.
“Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are days when you get the product in the store, get them tagged, get them hung, put them on Depop, put them on Marketplace, and then decide what products are going to which location," Morell said.
She also added that “basically in retail you’re always preparing for the weekend.”
Weekends are usually what hold Morell’s busiest days. “Saturday and Sunday you’re just running a business," she said.
When asked if she has ever faced challenges being an entrepreneur, Morell said “There are a ton of challenges being an entrepreneur!” She added, “As an entrepreneur, you have full control of what you are doing, but there’s no guarantee you’re going to make a dollar that day”
“I think you have to be mentally tough and have somebody, like my husband, for instance, my husband pushes me to see that it’s okay and he reminds me that it’s only been a year and to see how much I’ve grown," Morell said.
While owning your own business is difficult, it is not impossible. It’s also best to get a head start.
“If you’re going into retail you don’t need to go to college. If you start young and blow everyone out of the water you’ll grow quickly. If you want to be an entrepreneur, start young, don't waste your time spending all your money on an education," Morell said. "If you want to go into business I think you get a really good education on your own by just talking to as many seasoned professionals as possible and making mistakes.”
Morell still has many goals for her store. As of right now, she does not want to expand her store to more locations.
“I moved so quickly and I am doing everything with little technology, little infrastructure, and little processes. I need a good point of sale system, I would like to gather a small team, and put some really specific systems in place," she said.
Her ultimate goal is to have a good team and a handful of stores in good locations.
Morell also has an online store on Depop with the handle @shopcountryclub, and @shop_country_club is her store's Instagram account.
Shop Country Club was founded by a vision and will continue to be fueled by customers who also see the vision.