Hey. You kinda have a long read ahead, but this is our story! My name is Macy Cheramie Rodrigue, I am 23 years old, and I am the owner/founder of White Oak Boutique. Actually, White Oak’s beginning is quite the story. After graduating from South Lafourche High School, I began my journey at Nicholls State University to become (after changing majors three times) a secondary science teacher. During my time at Nicholls, ya girl needed to make some money. After realizing the food industry was not for me (if it is, serious props), I worked at a couple of Thibodaux-local boutiques where there was a real spark inside. I fell in love with helping women with their style and confidence! I wasn’t always (and still am not) the most fashionable, trendy person when it comes to clothes. But through my experience in helping other women with style and confidence, I found that that wasn’t even the most important thing. Helping women find confidence in their style was something that I truly loved to do.
It was the end of Summer 2020 and it was time for the “student-teaching” part of becoming a teacher. Time to move back down the bayou. It was also time to find another way to make money until I graduated! The lightbulb went off. I thought of a way to ~semi-passively~ make some pocket change while I was student teaching. I would create an online boutique! At this time, people are already used to social distance, and many of us have become accustomed to online shopping (some of us even preferred it). But really, Macy? It couldn’t be at a worse time in my life. I was in the process of buying a house with my fiance, planning my wedding for November 2020, AND student-teaching. Not to mention, the world was smack dab in the middle of the COVID pandemic. I (after some convincing and encouragement from my husband) decided that I would chase this small dream of mine despite the pile of things constantly weighing on my shoulders, and boy am I glad I did.
I’ll be honest, it took a couple months of preparation. Almost all of it was done online and most of it was a foreign language to me. I spent so many hours staring at my computer screen to get this store up and legally running. My eyes probably have permanent damage from all the screen time during this pandemic. Not to mention the hoops that needed to be jumped through to get something like this done during COVID!
Fast-forward to September 5th, 2020 launch day! After a few months of preparation, getting the word out and creating some buzz, I was feeling all of the feelings. Are people gonna shop with me? Are they excited? What if they don’t like my style? What if literally no one cares? Is this a waste of my time and money? Omg. I clicked the button and my little online store went live! It ended up being one of the best things I ever did.
Fast-forward again! I figured out that teaching wasn’t for me, and I decided to go all-in in my business and see where it took me. Some may say it’s a waste of four years and a waste of my teaching degree, but without my college experience, I never would have had the boutique experience! So on May 8th, 2021, White Oak Boutique opened its very own tiny storefront in Larose, LA. HUGE thank you to my parents and my husband (White Oak Boutique literally wouldn’t exist without them!) for helping me get my little store ready. On Grand Opening Day, it was SO amazing to finally see all of my customers in person finding styles they loved! It’s one of my favorite memories. My mom became my first employee and she still helps me out to this day (She’s the best!) Three very amazing, very short months later, Hurricane Ida ripped our community apart. Our storefront was in complete ruins. Thankfully, not all of our inventory was ruined, but almost everything in our tiny storefront was either soaked or on the ground full of debris. I will never forget walking back into the store after the hurricane and just being completely overwhelmed and so frustrated. I cried and cried as we took what was left of my store back to my house. (Thankfully, our house was okay and I could not be more grateful for that.) But needless to say, it put us back to being exclusively online.
We still do local pop-ups, and it’s the only time where we can connect with our customers so we LOVE doing them. And if you’re still reading this, YES we are working on opening another storefront in the future!
But what a ride this has been so far. This venture has been nothing short of a dream, and I cannot wait to see where it takes us! If you’re thinking about starting something new, whether it be a business, a side hustle, a new lifestyle, ANYTHING, just know that you CAN do it. If you’re thinking of all the “what-ifs,” yes. Those “what-ifs” can and WILL happen. Trust me! But there is nothing that can stop you from pushing through. Only you!
And of course, the biggest thank you goes to my customers. You allow me to do what I love every single day and I am so so thankful!
Macy Cheramie Rodrigue