We had the good fortune of connecting with Azurai Thompson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Azurai, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
Launching and maintaining my business, Undaunted Boutique, has taught me 3 main lessons:
1) Patience is a virtue: Before becoming a business owner, patience was not my strong suit but experiencing the nuances of business has forced me to work on becoming more patient. When starting a business, no one tells you about the long nights and early mornings creating content that might not get any engagement, the struggle to gain social media following or the ups and downs in sales. Social media has romanticized the idea of being a business owner because all we see is the business owner sitting in the middle of packages stacked to the ceiling and business pages with 10,000+ followers but what we don’t see how long the owner had to wait to get to that point. Being a new business owner, I’ve had to take a step back and set realistic expectations for where I am in my journey to remind myself that these popular business owners did not reach their level of success overnight and neither will I. I know that with patience, consistency and intentional hard work I will my business will surpass my expectations sooner than I think.
2) Perfectionism gets you nowhere: Naturally being a perfectionist throughout my life has taught me that in business there is no such thing as perfect. Whether it’s the perfect time to launch, perfect content or the perfect inventory assortment…perfect does not exist. I’ve learned that if I sat around and waited for things to be perfect I wouldn’t even be where I am today. 9 times out of 10 you’re the only person who knows if something didn’t go right behind the scenes or that notices that piece of hair sticking up in the photo content you just posted on IG. The most important thing in business is having a plan and the courage to just get started even if it’s not exactly how you envisioned, everything else will fall in place.
3) Stay in my lane/Comparison can be paralyzing: In this day and age where social media and influencers determine what’s deemed as cool, acceptable or perfect I found and still sometimes find myself comparing myself and my brand to others which I’ve learned can be paralyzing. Constantly comparing my brand to others that I viewed as “goals” hindered and paralyzed my progress in a way that would prolong simple tasks such as posting a reel because I didn’t feel it was good enough. Being honest with myself and identifying the effect that comparison had on my growth and confidence helped me to realize that I have to focus on myself and STAY IN MY OWN LANE because my audience may be different from the next boutique owner’s so whoever my customer and audience is will be here for me and my content regardless of what it looks like compared to the next.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Undaunted Boutique is founded on the idea of being a fearless woman who isn’t afraid to be edgy and bold in their style choices while remaining chic and classy. I think what sets my brand apart from some of the bigger and popular online boutiques is that although some of the pieces may be trendy I always try to style them in a unique way as to not always look like the next instagram girl. Social media sometimes makes us women feel like we have to show a lot of skin or have the most voluptuous figure to be beautiful but I am proud to have made Undaunted a brand that appeals to the “girls next door” who like to be edgy and on-trend but remain classy at the same time and also appeals to a wide age range. This past year was just the start for Undaunted Boutique and I’m so excited for the growth to come in this next year and beyond.
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?
When friends or family visit me in Atlanta the most important thing for me is making sure they eat good! I always make it a point to take them to some of my favorite places to eat and drink because I am a self-proclaimed foodie. Atlanta is unique because there’s so many black-owned businesses so I definitely make sure we hit up a few of those places too. For a long weekend trip I’d make sure we went to one of my favorite dinner restaurants with fun vibes like Barcelona Wine Bar in West Midtown or Rock Steady. For an “upscale” lounge vibe, good music and great drinks I’d put The James Room on the itinerary. And for an amazing southern brunch with good r&b vibes we’d definitely head to Brunch at Barney’s or Toast on Lenox. Obviously there’s a common theme for me that are must-haves when going out: good food, good music and good vibes.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The name of my boutique is inspired by my alma mater, Spelman College, so I have to give a huge shoutout to my illustrious institution *inserts “Spelman hand”*. “Undaunted” is a word in Spelman’s school hymn from a line that reads “undaunted by the fight”. By definition, “undaunted” means not intimidated or discouraged by difficulty, danger, or disappointment. This word has stuck with me since first learning the lyrics to the hymn and I even had the word “undaunted” tattooed on my arm as a junior in college. I was inspired to name my boutique Undaunted when the idea came to me during sophomore year of college in 2014 (although I didn’t launch my business until 2020) because I wanted my brand to encourage women to be strong, fearless and courageous as Spelman taught me through edgy, bold style and fashion choices.
I’d also like to give a shoutout to the women in my family for showing me great taste in fashion from childhood and encouraging my creativity whether it was sending me to art camp, looking at my fashion sketches in my sketchbook or letting me sew things from random pieces of fabric I found around the house. My grandmother and mom are definitely true divas so the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
My boyfriend also deserves a huge shoutout for being my official photographer, sounding board, impromptu creative director when needed and everything else in between!
Last but not least, I can’t forget to shoutout and thank my loyal “Undaunted Babes” who have been supporting my brand from day 1, thank you ladies for the support whether through a purchase, sharing my business or simply engaging with my content!
Instagram: business: shop_undaunted and personal: @azuraijoi