We had the good fortune of connecting with Ruth Watson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ruth, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I had been coming up on my 10th year of teaching, and decided to leave education. I have always loved clothes, but always struggled to find clothing to depict my personality in my size. You see, I have been plus size my entire life, even at my smallest and healthiest. I was searching for another job and career. My dad, while giving me advice, said, “Why don’t you start the boutique you’ve been talking about for years?” That was all I needed to start the process of starting my own business.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Southern Love Boutique is an online only boutique that focuses on the woman that wants to look cute and comfy, but doesn’t have time in her life to think too hard about what she is going to wear. We are size inclusive and carry every item in regular and plus sizes. I get so excited when women thank me for not upcharging for plus sizes or for carrying “that dress” in her size.
I wanted SLB to be a place where women could feel safe and beautiful in the body they are given, in whatever phase this shell that holds our soul is in. My body has been the focus of so much shame, struggle, admiration, aggravation and grief. I don’t want any of that here. I want you and I to love who we are and where we are at. We have women in this community that are 19 and 80. We have women that are in a 24 and women in a 4. Some of us have been a 10 and a 22 but never a 2 (it’s me, that’s me). I want each woman to know that she is loved, thought of, and prayed for here.
This hasn’t been easy. We started SLB October 1, 2019 not knowing our first year would be in the midst of a pandemic. I had no prior business experience except for years of direct sale companies. I researched and read books. If you are looking for a great book to start a business with, or even if you have been in business for decades, is Profit First. We swear by it. We thrived in the midst of this year. Then, my partners decided in 2021 that they saw a different path for themselves outside of the boutique and I support their journey. I have taken over full time on my own trying to figure out how to balance all that is entailed.
We are small based on industry standards, but defining success has been a huge challenge and lesson I am still in the process of learning. I am goal driven, and I try not to compare myself to others in my industry. I am developing my own definition of success as we grow slowly and authentically.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We love brunch at Fielding’s Local Kitchen & Bar, the Houston ZOO, Bernhardt Winery, CHILL Milkshake in Magnolia. the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Lone Pint Brewery.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I started this business with the support of my husband Wesley. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of my former partners, Kayla Rucker and Jessy Shirley. The support and babysitting of my parents Deborah Shirley and Jesse Shirley. I also have to thank Rachael Covey and Christina Hale that are some of my best friends that will drop anything and lend a hand when I need it. Especially Christina Hale for nominating us for our shoutout!