BusinessNews

NIACC Pappajohn Center & SBDC recognizes Bethany Fisher of The Trendy Pineapple Boutique as the May 2024 Entrepreneur of the Month

The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and North Iowa Area SBDC are proud to announce Bethany Fisher of The Trendy Pineapple Boutique in Garner, IA as the May 2024 Entrepreneur of the Month.

The Trendy Pineapple is a family-focused clothing boutique in Garner, IA. The boutique offers unique styles, from everyday wear to occasion wear, and photo-ready designs for women, men, and children. “I want to be a shop where you can come in and find something for every family member,” Bethany says. “My inventory is based on what goes together, for families who are attending events and taking photos.” Bethany opened her location in Garner in 2022, but the history of The Trendy Pineapple stretches back much further. From a young age, Bethany knew she wanted to have her own boutique one day. “As soon as I started working, I was working in boutiques and I just fell in love with the atmosphere and the connections you make with the customers,” she says.

Once Bethany decided to open her own boutique, she took a methodical and measured approach. “I started off very small. I started selling on Facebook, then created my website, and then I added in vendor shows,” she says. For several years, Bethany’s business model was weekend vendor shows and online sales. Once she had firmly established her business, Bethany began to look at expanding to a brick and mortar retail location. The importance of the relationship between a business and its customers has always been paramount to Bethany, and establishing a shop location was the next step. “When you’re a business, it’s all about your community. They support me and I support them; that’s what makes it all work,” Bethany says.

When Bethany decided to take the next step and open a storefront in Garner, she worked with Rebecca Olson, Director of the Garner Chamber of Commerce (now former), and Jill Kramer, Director of the Hancock County Economic Development Corporation. Bethany also worked with Brook Boehmler, Regional Director of the North Iowa Area Small Business Development Center. “Working with Brook was a huge help to me,” Bethany says. “He guided me through everything I needed to know about opening a storefront, and the things I didn’t know I needed to know.”

Bethany also enrolled in Venture School. She joined the Fall 2022 cohort of the University of Iowa Venture School, hosted in North Iowa at the NIACC Pappajohn Center. Venture School is a premier statewide program for Iowa entrepreneurs, using a streamlined curriculum that emphasizes real-world innovation and hands-on customer discovery. “When I learned about Venture School, it was a no-brainer,” Bethany says. “Knowing that I could learn so much more – after two or three years running a business, you may think that you know it all, but I learn something new every day. Venture School helped me learn a lot about how to run my business.” Bethany won First Place at Venture School Launch Day, a business plan and pitch competition that caps the seven-week program.

Through Venture School, Bethany conducted extensive research into her target market in North Iowa. “There aren’t a lot of clothing stores locally,” Bethany says. “And that’s one of the reasons I wanted to create a local storefront.” Bethany’s research revealed that her potential customers had to either drive upwards of 30 minutes to reach the nearest clothing store or shop online. And, while many boutiques focus solely on women’s clothing, Bethany was consistently receiving inquiries looking for menswear and youth clothing. “My customer discovery showed that our community wanted a store where they could run in and buy elevated basics for band recitals or family reunions.” Bethany’s approach to business is nimble and responsive to her customers wants. The Trendy Pineapple has been in business for over four years, and Bethany notes that one of the most important entrepreneurial skills she’s put into practice is adaptability. Bethany says, “As an entrepreneur, when one thing doesn’t work how you want it to, you need to be able to pivot from that. It’s okay to pivot and figure out another way.”

Bethany’s favorite advice for new entrepreneurs is simple. “Don’t be afraid to fail,” she says. “And that’s with everything in life. When we fail, we learn and we move forward. So take the risk and try.”

Learn more about The Trendy Pineapple Boutique at https://trendypineappleboutique.com/

ADVERTISEMENT
Back to top button