We met Emma during her days of owning Etcetera, Etc., a women’s boutique in downtown Austin. She was approachable with a unique eye for buying. I loved her shop. I was sad to see it close a few years ago until I ran into her one day and she told me about her idea for a mobile children’s shop. I was pregnant with my son and could not wait for Lemon Drop Children’s Shop to open. Just like in her first retail venture, Emma continues to push the envelope and inspire others to do the same, always with a smile. We chatted about the inspiration behind a mobile boutique, what she learned from her previous failures, and the one tool that helps her balance motherhood and business.

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I went to college for design and marketing, gearing up to one day own a store of my own. I have always known what I wanted to do, it just didn’t all actualize at once.  It took 2 prior businesses to learn and grow into who I am today. Now, I am 32 and have a 2.5 year old sassy daughter and an 11 year old step son. I have been with my fiancee for about 8 years, and we are recently tied the knot this April. He is a local Austin Firefighter and the backbone of Lemon Drop.

What was the inspiration behind Lemon Drop?

Originally, I had this vision of a silver Airstream trailer with yellow stripes on it.  After my previous business hardships, I was ready to re-invent myself, but it took a bit of soul searching before everything “clicked”. I love retail for so many reasons; I knew I just needed to remove everything that weighed on me and took away the fun. My children are now my daily inspiration. I came to the realization that a mobile Airstream would allow me so much freedom, creativity and flexibility to continue doing what I love in a whole new way. Combine that with my love for color, fashion, retail and now a way to incorporate my kiddos – that’s the overall inspiration!

You previously owned a women’s retail shop. How is this different? 

Whoa! Way different. For one, children’s stuff is SO fun! There is no overthinking because I can be as playful as I want to be. It took having a child to realize that maybe I was catering to the wrong demographic before!  Children’s boutiques are also not as fast paced as in women’s clothing, with only 2 deliveries a year vs. 4. Additionally, I love Austin so much and appreciate the growth of our unique city, but when you’re a small business, construction of the growing city can really hurt you. That’s when I thought being mobile is the way to go! So, if parking ever becomes an issue, I will just move! If people are having a hard time accessing my location, I’ll find a new one! Once my brain wrapped around the idea of a mobile business, ideas started flooding my head of where I could go and how nothing could stop me! I love it! Seriously. So now I am a big believer in mobile is the way to go with everything! I’m totally obsessed about it. 

What is the best part of owning your own business? 

The best part to me is being able to carve a path for others to grow. We need each other to grow and succeed so I am all about helping others build. I am lucky enough to know myself with great confidence, and I love being able to share my passion with others. Mobile retail still has a long way to go, but, what I really love about Lemon Drop is that the possibilities are endless! There is no cap on where she can go or who she can meet! 

Tell us about your renovated airstream. What was this process like? 

Oh man… Well, I bought a vintage 1970 Ambassador Airstream and did a TON of research on what to do with it. I found only a handful of people that renovate Airstreams professionally around Austin. After getting about 5 quotes and going all over we finally settled with a local company that also did the “Hey Cupcake”‘ trailer. It was still a long process from start to finish, but I learned SO much! I love the imperfections of the vintage and the amount of love that has made Ms. Lemon Drop who she is.

How do you decide what brands to stock? 

There are SO many cute ones! That’s where knowing what you like comes into play and it really helps. I’m lucky and thankful to be able to say I know I was born to shop as my profession. I am not an indecisive person. Usually, if I have to think about it, that means it’s not right. Always trust your gut. That’s who you are! So I really portray that when buying and curating for the shop – things I’m drawn to or inspired by.  I also stock brands that I loved on my daughter and from personal experiences of being a mom.

How do you balance work, relationships, and motherhood? 

Everyday is a new day. I set small goals daily, and I am BIG list person. I sometimes write things down that I already did, just so I can mark them out!  I’m crazy, but, seriously, that Is the only way I can do everything that I do. I also have an amazing support system at home that constantly push me to be better. I know that motherhood isn’t glamorous but I wouldn’t change it for the world! We have our moments just as others do. I’m blessed with a very positive outlook on life that helps keep our little family happy and healthy.

What’s next for Lemon Drop?

For our first year open we are going to stay local to Austin.  We have goals of taking Ms. Lemon Drop cross-country within her first 3 years; it would be a dream come true!  But for now, we are super excited to grow locally in Austin and plan to have a lot of fun doing so!  Follow along on Lemon Drop’s instagram for daily inspiration.