By Heather Short
Some friendships are born just by walking into a store and striking up a conversation. That is exactly what happened five years ago when Liz Coop walked into Flower Lily, a children’s boutique in Clarksville owned and operated by Betty Kay Hundley. After multiple conversations and socializing with each others’ families, the two became close friends. The new friendship blossomed into a business partnership that has brought each of them success all while maintaining the balance of business.
Hundley had initially begun working in the corporate world right out of college but she quickly realized her heart was not where it wanted to be. Having been born and raised in Clarksville, Hundley knew the area was in need of a children’s boutique, a place where shoppers could find fun and unique gifts locally. She eventually opened her boutique called Flower Lily, which primarily sold customized embroidered monogram children’s clothing.
As the success of her business grew, Hundley knew she needed a vinyl designer in store to help with the flood of incoming customized orders. Little did she know, fate would come walking through her front door.
After moving to Tennessee from upstate New York, Coop purchased her first vinyl-cutting machine and began making custom monograms for eager customers. This hobby quickly turned into a profitable business. A day of shopping and coincidentally walking into Flower Lily would change the course of business for both Hundley and Coop. It didn’t take long for Hundley to ask Coop to become the vinyl designer at her boutique. Coop also sold many of her custom creations in the Flower Lily brick and mortar store.
“It is a breath of fresh air to be able to have each other to lean on, talk to you, and have one another,” Hundley said.
Because both ladies brought their own trades to the business, they have never faced any difficulties with working with one another.
For about six years, Hundley maintained her shop in Clarksville before deciding to become a home-based business in order to spend more time with her family. Still based in Clarksville, Flower Lily continues to sell customized appliqué clothing and gifts successfully.
Once Flower Lily became a home-based shop, Coop, along with her husband, have continued to make hand-crafted wooden items to sell on their Etsy shop, Claire Lane. Coop also remains the primary vinyl designer for Flower Lily.
The duo has found many rewards from working together, including swapping products.
“I will always need something monogrammed and always have Betty Kay to call,” Coop said. “I know that soon she will need a vinyl design from me as well!”
While the idea of starting a business with a friend can be intimidating for some, Hundley and Coop feel lucky for the opportunity to be not only business partners but friends as well.
“What used to be a sole work relationship has turned into a wonderful friendship,” Coop said. “We really enjoy each other’s company.”
Coop and her husband are currently eagerly awaiting the birth of their third son. Coop plans to continue working from home maintaining Claire Lane on Etsy while raising her children. Hundley would love to see Flower Lily continue to grow and eventually have multiple people working with her. She envisions someday owning a personalization vehicle in which she could travel the surrounding area to help people with all their custom personalization needs. Of course, both Hundley and Coop see their friendship continuing to grow throughout the years as well.
Find “Flower Lily Embroidery” on Facebook, and shop Claire Lane at www.clairelanereclaim.etsy.com.