Today we’d like to introduce you to Laurie Thompson.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Prior to opening The Southern ELK, I was working in the corporate world despite wanting a store for most of my life. I hated my job, and my boss was very difficult, to say the least. I had worked for that company for more than 16 years, and for that boss for about a year and a half.
I knew I was in the wrong place working for the wrong person. One day, on my way home from work, I called out to God and told him that I couldn’t deal with my current situation anymore, but my family depended on my paycheck. I felt stuck, and I was at the end of my rope. I said to God “I don’t know how you can help me do this, but I can’t do this anymore.” At that point, I heard (audibly it seemed) WATCH ME.
I went home and told my husband that I wanted to quit my job and open a store. After the shock wore off and many discussions we decided to go for it. We took the next year to pay off everything we could, and made plans to move to the coast… because why wait until we are retired to enjoy our life!!
So, we did just that! Now I have the loveliest shop I could have ever imagined!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
So many doors have been opened for me, but I have made mistakes, too.
I truly feel I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I knew I wanted a store and what type of store (décor and gifts), but that’s about all I knew! I did some things backward (like open the doors without a cash register. LOL, I wouldn’t recommend that! Learning to do books and taxes has been a challenge. I will relinquish that task as soon as I can!!
Coming up with a meaningful name was also a challenge. The name The Southern Elk is all about me. Out of all of my siblings, I was the only one born in the south. My two initials that have never and will never change are LK (sounds like ELK and also a nod to my Spanish heritage “el”). We do not sell exotic meats. We are not a meat market. These are questions that have been asked.
The biggest challenge that I currently struggle with is listening to others… or not listening to them. Everyone has advice (some of it is even good), but you have to stay true to yourself and what you know/think is the right thing to do for you and your business.
They will NOT understand why you don’t do everything they have suggested, but they don’t know your heart. They don’t know your dreams as you do. Stay in your lane and stay true to yourself. That has been a real lesson for me.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
We are what I like to call an Artisans Marketplace.
We specialize in upscale home furnishings like décor, art, and gifts. We have local artists’ items like paintings, shell art, pottery, upcycled furniture, signs, stained glass, jewelry, essential oils, and a host of another one of kind things! I am very proud of our contributors.
They are all local artists and very talented. The location of our shop used to be a thrift store and we have worked tirelessly to change that image. It has taken plenty of blood, sweat, and Tylenol to renovate this place. I love when people walk in and tell us how different or great it looks now!
I feel like our work is appreciated.
Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
I am an avid reader and Pod Cast listener. I listen to Jennifer Allwood’s podcast and have read her book Fear is Not the Boss of You.
I also love Jen Sincero! You are a Bad Ass (can I say that here?) is a GREAT book! I highly recommend it. Of course, I listen to Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Love her!
- We have all prices from $4 to $400. Depends on what you want.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @thesouthernelk
- Facebook: @The Southern Elk
- Yelp: www.yelp.com/biz/TheSouthernElk