I opened a shop at 19

I opened a shop at 19
This is where it all began...
Some of you may or may not know this, but my journey into owning and running my own business began with 'Lil Sass', the store I opened in Mount Gambier when I was just 19!
In my final years of high school, I felt I didn't have a clear path for my future. I knew I loved art, had this desire to create and make something of my own, but that was it. Whilst my teachers were making plans for me to go to University, the plans I had for my life felt very different. The pressure to follow a path that didn't feel right for me, became overwhelming and filled me with a lot of anxiety in my final year of high school. This ultimately lead me to take on extra subjects, resulting in added stress and pressure.
As time went on, I knew I never wanted to go to University, the only dream I had was to open my own store, and I was determined to make that happen as soon as I could.
I spent a lot of my spare time in the year after filling a floral notebook with ideas, sketches, brand names and concepts that I dreamt would one day be the store I would open.
People talk about manifesting and I guess in hindsight that's exactly what I was doing, I just didn't know it at the time. I spent that time, saving my money from the multiple jobs I had been working, and kept that dream front of mind.
Fast forward a year or so...
I'd purchased and read a whole stack of 'How to run a small business' books as well as talked to family and friends who could offer advice.
I had tested the market by buying a selection of fashion jewelery and selling it our local Rotary market.
I had researched a list of wholesale companies that I wanted to buy stock from.
I found a shopfront with rent that I could afford and with the help of my Dad, had drafted and submitted a lease application.
I'll never forget the butterflies I had over the months leading up to opening. My family could have dismissed my idea, after all how much can a 19 year old know about opening a shop and running a business? To this day I am blown away by the trust and belief they had in me, and I feel so ridiculously blessed to have had (and still have) that support. 
They spent days and nights helping me prepare the shop for trade. Helping me paint the walls, recarpet and clean the space. To keep costs down I had the idea to use second-hand furniture as a way to display my stock. I wanted everything to be white and have a really unique and edgy feel to it. 
My memory isn't great, and I know my family would remember better than me, but although I had moments of being scared, I always felt in my heart it wouldn't fail. That the passion I had for this idea and the support around me, would make it work.
So with money saved up, a lease signed, a whole heap of second-hand furniture hand painted, and a relatively small selection of affordable fashion accessories and homewares, I opened my very own store on Commercial St in October 2008; Lil Sass.
Did I know what I was doing at 19!? Not really! I taught myself as I went, and had the absolute time of my life doing so. 
I spent my days creating artwork for the walls, painting custom portraits and filling my store with colourful and unique jewelery and gifts. I met kind, beautiful customers who visited regularly to see what new stock I had in store. It was honestly a dream 🥰
Whilst my Lil Sass journey wasn't mean to be a forever journey, it was the start of my entrepreneur journey. It lead me on a career path in roles that I have absolutely loved. It lead me to my amazing partner and son. It has been an unforgettable part of guiding me to the place I am today in 'Cassie Zaccardo Art'
If you every visited my store, I'd love to hear from you below ❤ The support I was so lucky to have by my family, friends and customers is something I'll never forget!
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