At 21 years old, many future success stories are still years away from making their mark. Some are in college or trade school, while others work entry-level jobs or are just beginning to climb the professional ladder.
There’s nothing wrong with any of those paths, but you won’t find Morgan Harvey on any of them. The Columbia native and 2019 Adair County High School graduate has quickly established her presence in the business world, running a successful clothing company, Pretty Please Boutique, through smart online marketing, a personable approach to customer service, and relentless hard work.
“I didn’t go to college or anything like that,” says Harvey, the daughter of James and Jill Harvey. “Both of my parents are business owners, so this has always been in my brain as something I wanted to do.”
Fashion is Harvey’s passion, and she tries to feature a wide array of choices for females of all shapes, sizes, and ages. She takes pride in only buying from U.S.-based vendors, and tries to buy from only a few, select suppliers “so I know the quality and know which ones are reliable.”
“I’ve always loved clothes, so it’s really nice to have work that doesn’t always feel like work, because it’s something that you love,” Harvey says. “Of course, there are challenges, too, like right now something I’m going through is trying to find out how I can hire and how I can source things out because being the one who wears all the hats is a good thing, but it’s also hard because it’s all on you. I’m kind of getting to the point where I realize it’s not all me, and there’s some things I do need to hire out.”
While she’s still barely old enough to book a hotel room, Harvey boasts more business experience than her age would suggest, founding her company at 17.
“I was still in high school, and I kind of gave myself a trial time to figure out what exactly I wanted to do and if I could make it work or not,” Harvey explains. “By the time I graduated, when it was time to make a decision on whether to go to college, this was already an established thing, so really it was a no-brainer for me.”
Harvey runs Pretty Please Boutique as a physical store, located at 1118 Russell Road in Columbia (business hours: Thursday and Friday, noon to 5 p.m.), While she allows for local pickup of online purchases at her store, and keeps a small selection of items on hand for shoppers to peruse, Harvey’s primary focus is online, selling through Facebook to buyers all over the United States. She estimates that 90 percent of her sales are out-of-town or out-of-state.
“I have close to 15,000 members on my Facebook group page,” Harvey says. “I post new arrivals at least two or three days a week, and I do it on weeknights so it’s really convenient. I try to make everything the most convenient way for women to shop because I really consider my customer as the working woman, the one that’s a mom, or a busy person. I post at least 50 to 60 new arrivals every single week, so I’m constantly rotating new pieces.”
Harvey says she prefers selling on social media compared to a standard website because of the interaction social media allows, letting her get to know and become friends with the people who buy her clothes.
“Sometimes, a regular website can feel kind of cold,” Harvey says. “I like to do Facebook because I can get to know a lot of my customers — they feel like friends and family to me. The most rewarding part of the job is when people send me pictures of them wearing my clothes. They’ll say, ‘This made me feel so confident,’ or something like that, and it just means the world to me.”
While Harvey’s business has grown steadily since she started this career as a high school student, she saw a big upswing in business after the pandemic hit and took advantage of the near-instantaneous shift of most Americans to exclusively shopping online.
“I had been wanting to do more online, and I had been trying it out for a while, but once everyone kind of had to shop online, that’s when I realized there’s kind of a new way of the world,” Harvey explains. “I learned to work with that. COVID changed a lot of things, but fortunately for me, it worked out because that’s when my business really took off the most.”
Through years of constantly updating her offerings, consistently posting on social media, and providing dedicated customer service, Harvey has developed a loyal following of customers online.
“I feel like I have the best customers in the world,” she says. “There’s some that have started with me from the very beginning, and although we’ve never met in person and maybe never will, they’re like my friends. That’s the power of social media — you can really get to know someone without ever having to see them face to face.”
Harvey credits her dedication to a rigid schedule and providing plenty of options to customers as deciding factors in her success.
“The number one thing I’ve learned is that consistency is key, but you have to be prepared every day to try something different,” she says.
With a thriving business already established, Harvey is not content to continue as-is.
“In the next few years, something I’d like to start doing is my own private labeling,” she say. “That’s something I’m kind of laying the groundwork for right now. That’s my main goal out of this within the next two or three years, getting into my own private labeling.”
If her past is any indication of her future, Harvey’s private label may become a reality sooner rather than later.
Visit the Pretty Please Boutique Facebook Group by clicking the image below.