Highlight Reel 2023

Today, I'm reflecting on some monthly memorable moments AND some fun facts of 2023.  Part of me feels so guilty for posting this Highlight Reel; knowing that so many of my best friends and customers have experienced tragic heartbreak, illness, and generally hard times this past year.  A tiny bit of me feels like this is the perfect time to post this though, in hopes of helping you forget the sad and making you smile for at least one or two moments to end 2023. 

Thank you for spending the year with the Herd. 🫶🏼

✜  January 2023 ✜

I rang in the New Year with a trip to the ER.  I spent days on end in bed after putting too much pressure on my lower back while transforming this space into my new store all of the prior fall.  After a few injections, rest, and physical therapy, I spent much of the month re-finishing the new-to-me home desk [that I'm yet to sit at!]

✜  February 2023 ✜

At the very end of January we introduced our new blog writer and Model, Brooke.  She spent the month of February tirelessly bringing you all kinds of incredible content of styling tips and a unique perspective on midWestern Fashion, including this wonderful post styling our signature wild rags. 

Brooke quickly became a shining light on our boutique, and actually, just this morning I received *the best* compliment at the local farm store.  A gentleman said to me, "You're that Wild Girl, right?"  [Brooke's maiden name was Wild.]  It's an honor for me that people think this stunner looks like me. :)

 March 2023 ✜

The highlight of my March came at the end of the month with the newest arrival to our Herd, Miss Josie Jean Reisinger, born March 29, 2023.  I know you'll recognize Josie's beautiful momma, Grace, from behind the counter and all over our website.  Although I don't see this sweetheart often enough, I'm so proud to be an honorary Glamma to Josie Jean!  You can read more about her arrival in our March blog post, here.

 April 2023 ✜

Someone left the gate open and this Herd let loose in April.  We enjoyed a fast and furious 4-day trip to Nashville to attend a buying market.  For 8 women and at least 16 suitcases in a 2-bedroom Air B-N-B on a second level with no elevator, we did so darn good.  No drama, no tears, new friends, new nicknames, new tats, and extreme amounts of laughter for this group of sister-wives and Casanova Mackay, this trip was for was one for the books.  Let's just say we spent a lot more on drinks than we did on inventory for the store.

 May 2023 ✜

We knew from the beginning that we'd need more space in the "new" Waukon storefront; I finally made it happen in May.  We expanded into the space right next door and doubled our square footage once again.  During months of high inventory, we have the front of the extra space "shoppable" with inventory.  We also enjoy all of the extra room opened up for special events and parties, with our first special event in the new space being our hat bar collab with Moonchild Collective.

The back half of the new space is office and storage area.  It's incredibly handy to store the "mess" of online order packaging away from our actual storefront.  Although people are always curious and love to peek at our "mess" behind the faux wall. 

 June 2023 ✜

June was another month of projects in the storefront with the finale being our Nashville-inspired, shining silver saddle.


The girls and I also took an adventurous family trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico in June since all of my staff was out of high school and college for the summer.  It was a very much needed getaway for us ladies to spend some quiet, quality time together.  We really bonded beautifully while we were stranded in the airport for a full day.

 July 2023 ✜

July hosts small-town America's favorite week of the year thanks to the county fair.  I hadn’t prepared to spend as much as a year’s worth of billboard advertising on a steer at the county fair this year, but I did because I knew in my heart that this young lady, one of my employees, had earned every penny.  To read more about our fair experience this year, read this blog post I wrote: Sale Day at the County Fair. 

 August 2023 ✜

In August, 2023 we cried too many damn tears as our beloved social media sensation, Kenzie got married AND started her full-time big girl job away from Broker.  Amongst our tears we shared a few giggles after she brought it to our attention [WEEKS after it was hung up in our front window] that we spelled her name wrong!  ***Note how our Tiktoks have tanked since August without this fun-loving personality spending her time with us! 

 September 2023 ✜

September was spent gearing up for busy season in retail. We entered so much new inventory, took so many pictures, and did lots of website work.  A few fun facts to share since September was full of such busywork:

✜  2:00 pm is Consistently our Busiest Time of Day. ✜

Yes, as a small business owner, I analyze these weird little facts, too.  This is why we close at 3:00 pm on Saturdays ;)  And why we don't open at 9!   

✜ Top Online Store Search Keyword of 2023: "Hilary" ✜

This one has me so excited for you!  When our months get warmer, we'll be able to restock our Slimming Hilary bodysuits ~ but until then, you need to see our long-sleeve version in the same slimming material!  These Hadley Slimming Ribbed Bodysuits are super comparable to Spanx to wear as layering pieces under all of your shackets and button-downs!  

✜  51.59% Returning Customer Rate  ✜

I am beyond grateful that all of you continue to follow along with the e-mails I write, interact with us on socials, and come back to shop small in our community.  Not just once, but at least twice ;)  Actually, we have 842 customers that have purchased from us at least 5 times.  I bet if you are reading this, chances are, you are probably one of the 842?!?  

 October 2023 ✜

October 7, 2023 was our busiest day of 2023 thanks to our 7th, I mean, ***6th***, birthday celebration hosted in-store.  It's going to be a challenging party to top.  At least we can roll with the same theme again next year.  [If you are not understanding this inside joke... just know that I accidently thought for several months that the store was turning 7 instead of 6 this year!]  OOPS!  
For our ***actual*** 7th Birthday I'd LOVE to get some live music in here and some actual casino games happening.  Save the date now, we always do tons of discounts and giveaways, hence our best day of sales and the MOST FUN!

 November 2023 ✜

November is GO TIME in retail with Pink Friday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, and general holiday shopping.  We spent a lot of time digging into analytics to make the best of our "promotions" and sales for our customers to save AND to make business sense.  However; I can promise that next year things are going to look very different around here for this week of sheer madness. 
I also want to highlight that we changed up the scenery during our last photoshoot in November.  The last-minute plan that I came up with after seeing a picture of an incredibly inviting picture of a couch on Facebook happened to work out gloriously.  The ProvERBial Taproom opened it's doors, a little early, just for us to use their stunning space as the backdrop of the last of our brand new arrival pictures.  In fact, they opened just this week and as soon as I'm finished writing this blog post I'm heading across town to enjoy an ice cold beer there.  You should check it out, here!

 December 2023 ✜

One Friday morning in December I spontaneously decided to hop in the car and drive to Nashville once again.  I stopped and picked up Payne on the way [he had been working in Tennessee for several weeks] and we surprised my parents who were vacationing there.  This trip was the picture-perfect summary and ending to a small-business owner's year.  I am forever grateful for the young women who choose to work for me at Broker who are committed to riding for our brand. Grace took care of everything at the store to allow me this last-minute, meaningful break during busy season.
A few more fun facts:
✜  4,846 professional photos taken by Rachel Reilly Photography in 2023. ✜
This number of photographs is down quite a bit compared to the previous 5 years, but we have a few tricks up our sleeves for this upcoming year for some EPIC shoots again!  They really do take some intense planning that I was lacking in '23.
BUT ALSO, check out this shot I TOOK of Rachel during our fast and furious trip to Nashville Market in April.  She's truly a gem to work with and all of these pictures from Nash are absolute favorites of mine to be treasured forever.

✜  Gift Cards Sold & Given Away in 2023 ✜

Sam and I are closing the storefront for 2023, the next time we're back in here will be 2024.  I've been hinting at this number on Instagram/Facebook stories for a week now and I just ran the final report.  The data is in.  We sold and gave away a total of 562 gift cards in 2023.  Paysen and I can't wait to get to market in Dallas in 2 weeks to find all of you gift card holders some AMAZING new styles to bring back to Iowa!!!

✜ 54 New Google Reviews Received in '23. ✜

This number is quite a bit lower than I hoped for~ especially when I look at it relative to the number of sales we make.  Late in the year, I did get strategic by adding a link to write us a Google Review in one of my order follow-up emails.  In case you missed it - we'd LOVE for you to write us one now :)

 ... and that's a Wrap on 2023...

To our customers, followers, family, and friends, 
Cheers to you for your dedication to supporting small businesses this holiday season and every month of the year.  I believe I can speak for all when I say your support is a highlight for small business owners every single year, not just during 2023.
Happy New Year to you and yours! 
Brianne Evelyn
Apparently, I never got around to publishing a blog post highlighting 2022, but here is the previous year's blog post here: The BL Herd's Top Highlights of 2021.
If you need some lighthearted, small-town entertainment today, I think you should read it. 

1 comment

  • Kenzie

    LOVE all your growth this year!

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