Two brick and mortars, a thriving online store, a podcast, a new lifestyle brand, an upcoming bible study series…and all conceived, carefully curated, and managed by the 25-year-old owner of Poppies Boutique, Sarah Collins. Impressive isn’t it!? Before sitting down with Sarah, I did a little research. Given all that she has going on, I assumed she was in her mid-30’s. When I found out she was just 25-a full two decades my junior, I felt like Chris Farley’s character in Tommy Boy. Then I met her. She’s smart, kind, creative, and has one of the most infectious laughs you will ever hear. Plus, she shares my affinity for all things Golden Girls. She’s like a unicorn!
Shortly after her grandfather “Poppie” passed away in 2014 a 19-year-old Sarah started selling upcycled clothing and jewelry. When business started taking off, it needed a name. Poppie’s fit the bill perfectly.
There’s so much more to her story and Sarah was kind enough to share it with us.
WL-Sarah, I get tired just thinking about all you do. Many of our readers know about Poppies Boutique location on the Lebanon Square, but they may not know about everything else you have going on under the same roof. Tell us about that.
Sarah-The Poppie’s operation wears a lot of hats! We have two store locations, a fast-growing online presence, and our sister company, Chosen Girl, all operating from our Lebanon Storefront. I like to dream big and jokingly call it our “world headquarters!” Upstairs at our location on the Lebanon square, one side acts as online fulfillment and our photography/podcast studio. The other side acts as offices for staff to do all the details that make the whole operation possible. The brick and mortar shops truly have my heart, especially the Lebanon location in my hometown, but through the years my job has changed to be more in the office with business marketing, operations, and strategy for growth and trends! I have been blessed enough through these years of change and transition with an AMAZING team that has allowed Poppie’s to grow beyond the stores. It’s so humbling to have a Husband and team who love to dream big with me!
WL-How do you keep up with the trends?
Sarah-This gets fun. Another buyer on my team and I attend markets from Atlanta to New York several times a year and LOVE seeing the transition into new fads and the return of beloved comeback styles. I also surf Pinterest nearly every day and I’m a sucker for a good fashion/lifestyle magazine! There are some styles we always keep some version of in stock, but overall I truly believe its crucial for women to wear an on-trend version of what makes them feel beautiful, comfortable, and confident!
WL-Who do you look to for style inspiration?
Sarah-Sometimes I feel like my style has like 10 altar egos (I can go from edgy to bohemian in .5 seconds depending on the day), so this style inspo list is going to go in all kinds of directions! I love following fashion bloggers on Instagram like Hunter Premo, but celebrity wise, I’m obsessed with the styles of Blake Lively, Zoey Deschanel, Lily James, Kasey Musgraves, and Hailey Baldwin Beiber. I’m all about mixing vintage vibes with something new.
WL-You mentioned that your family is always willing to lend a helping hand. Can you tell us a little about your family?
Sarah-My family is everything not only to me but to the Poppie’s story! My husband, Hunter, is the lifeblood that encouraged the Poppie’s storefronts to even happen! He is a BALL of energy with a Business Degree. We are truly yin and yang. I’m the eccentric creative style-minded merchandising and marketing guru and he handles the technical, behind the scenes cogs and churns that make Poppie’s thrive. It’s always interesting having my husband as my business partner but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the life we have created together.
My parents and in-laws have been nothing but supportive since Poppie’s began. When their 20-year-old daughter brought home a moldy airstream (we started as a mobile operation in a 1968 Airstream Camper in 2015), I thought they may have thought I had lost my marbles, but I guess they are just as crazy as I am! They were over the moon excited for us and have been my biggest cheerleaders along the way. My mom-in-law and sis-in-law were two of my first employees, and my mom works at the Lebanon storefront, too.
WL-You have another storefront location in Cookeville, correct?
Sarah-Right! We are also in downtown Cookeville, TN, just a few blocks from TTU. Its funny, both of our locations are in old historic banks, so there’s a cool vault in both!
WL-You’ve also created a new brand, Chosen Girl. Where did you get the idea for this?
Sarah-I had always designed tees and had screen printing friends of ours whip up my ideas for me since even the beginning of Poppie’s. In 2018 I started feeling God lead me into something more than just “tees.” All of my designs were faith-based with a story behind the meaning, but there was an aspect I was missing that needed to tie up all of the loose ends of the ideas bopping around in my head. In June of 2018, Hunter and I decided to re-launch the tee brand as
“Chosen Girl,” as not only a fun lifestyle brand that encouraged other women through Christ but also as a women’s ministry to provide free Bible Study resources on our site!
We started a Podcast with my dear friend and now Chosen Girl partner and content creator, Elizabeth Sanders, which now has around 600 listeners. We host online small Bible studies through our Instagram and Facebook pages and as of October have an app with devotions, the Bible, prayers, free wallpaper downloads, and more fun resources for our community. We have a free downloadable Bible Study releasing in March of this year which will also be available in print shortly after! Liz (Elizabeth) and I truly want God to use us to make a difference in the lives of women in the Chosen girl community. That’s what it’s all about. Its one of those things where I am truly having to depend on Him because I’m not sure where this ride will take me!
WL-Is the podcast based on the same principles as your Chosen Girl brand?
Sarah-Yes! You can find our whole story and mission on the Chosen Girl site, along with our free resources and Podcast links (we are on Google Play, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts!). We dive into the Bible and chat every Tuesday (when in season) about a topic that we all deal with. So far we have covered everything from relationships to even just knowing how to read the Bible. You can catch up on 25 episodes from season one now, and season 2 begins February 11th! We aren’t theologians by any means, but I truly believe there’s value in seeking out the truth about the everyday struggles we all face. I’ve been told our podcast is a lot like having coffee with a friend over advice you need. That’s the greatest Chosen Girl compliment I’ve ever received.
WL-Finally, what are your hopes for the future?
Sarah-I’m not limiting what God will do in the future! I love watching our local community with Poppie’s grow, but its also so exciting to see where the online community with both Poppie’s and Chosen Girl can go, too. There’s no limit! I’ve always had the philosophy of “Open hands: Open to receive what God has for me. Open to let go of what’s not for me.” I’m going to keep working hard, trusting God, and see where this crazy ride goes! I’m so thankful to everyone who has graced the doors of Poppie’s or is involved with our Chosen Girl community. It is not possible without y’all.
— STORE LOCATIONS —
132 Public Square Lebanon
101 West Broad Street Cookeville
— ON THE WEB —
— SOCIAL MEDIA —
Facebook: Poppie’s Boutique and Chosen Girl
Instagram: @poppiesboutiquetn & @chosengirlmovement
— PODCAST & BIBLE STUDY —
You can find the Chosen Girl podcast (“Tell Me Bout It”) on Apple Podcast, Google Play, and Spotify! Our Bible Study will be available for download on our app and website in March 2020! We are also on YouTube!