TC ELLI'S FIRST STORE FRONT
20 Years of big dreams, kindness, and lasting impact
20 years ago on December 9th, 2000, T.C. Elli’s opened Its doors to the people of Lubbock Texas and has had a lasting impact seen from coast to coast ever since. Inspiring beyond belief, T.C. Elli’s got its start in a small art gallery located in downtown Lubbock, offering a selection of women’s clothing to the town consisting of only 200,000 people. At just 24 years old, T.C. Elli’s owner, Tahnee Elliott, turned her dream into a reality by working to create and shape T.C. Elli’s into the business it is today. With the help of customers all around the world and many current and past team members, all of the success is truly a blessing and something that will never be taken for granted.
Here at T.C. Elli’s, we are so appreciative to have such a wonderful owner and mentor to help guide us through this field! Not only has she created a successful business, but has also helped to shape many successful women as well.
The marketing team asked Tahnee a few questions about her time as a small business owner, and here’s what she had to say:
What inspired you to open T.C. Elli's and what was your thinking for the brand?
I wanted to open TC Elli’s to allow women to have a place to shop where they felt at home. I was tired of going into boutiques and not being treated with kindness. At first I wanted it to serve young mothers in the community but quickly figured out the university girls loved my style.
What interesting challenges or extra steps were implemented into opening T.C. Elli's and how did you go about them?
At the time it was a huge challenge getting the brands I wanted. Because I was newly established and very young, most companies did not want to do business with me. Persistence and positivity was the key!
What has been your favorite part of opening T.C. Elli's? Was there a year that stuck out to you most?
My favorite part has been meeting and mentoring so many young girls. Being able to be a part of something bigger than myself has been an honor. My daughter and son have watched the entire process, I’m hoping I have been an inspiration to them and want them to soar through life without fear or hesitation. Of all the years there is one that knocked off my socks, 2015. Sales tripled in one year. It was so thrilling and stressful at the same time. I learned so much about what to do and what not to do during this time period. If this ever happens in your life, enjoy every single minute. I was too caught up in trying to please all customers and making everything perfect, I forgot to enjoy the moment. Next time this happens, I will be much better prepared.
How has COVID-19 impacted you as a business owner and how have you overcome the pandemic from a small business owner perspective?
I can’t believe we are celebrating 20 years in business during a pandemic! How odd! Not to be negative but we are going to see the aftershock of this virus for a very long time. In my opinion, this will probably shut down more than half small businesses in the next 2-5 years. Being in business 20 years has allowed us to develop an established clientele and we have great brand awareness. The panic and fear I felt when we had to close our doors in March and April was something I have never felt before. Calling all my employees and telling them I had to run the store by myself in order to pay the bills was horrible but it paid off. When times like this happen, you have to make bold creative moves and not cower down in shock. This will be hard on any small business that is less than 5 years old because they don’t have the financial stability of a more established business. We are far from overcoming this but remain hopeful that the economy will recover quickly
In your own words, please state any advice you may have for female/women owned entrepreneurs.
One other piece of advice, do not let others bring you down. They might laugh at your dreams, adventures, failures, and shortcomings, I know most of my friends and family did. It’s a short lived hobby, they would say. After 20 years, it has become a beloved career that has allowed me to see the entire world with my family for 2 years, homeschool my children for 5 years, golf with my husband on Wednesdays, play tennis with my friends on Sundays, allowed my husband to quit his job to coach our daughter’s basketball team, and attend each and every sporting event for my kids. The hard work has paid its dividends 10 fold.
Inserted below are pictures from T.C. Elli’s first few years of business found in scrapbooks from the very beginning:
A message from the T.C. Elli’s team, to you:
What a blessing it is to say we’ve been in business for 20 years! TC Elli’s wants to thank everyone who has been a part of this journey and supported us throughout the years! Our job here is to not only provide the public with wonderful clothes, but more importantly allow them to experience genuine kindness and high quality service. Though we will be celebrating 20 years of success today, we will be working diligently to ensure we continue to touch many lives for the years to come. See you in another 20!
Always with Love,