CARTHAGE, Mo. — Elizabeth Esch, 22, of Carthage, has never let her youth come in the way of achieving her dreams, and she has proved that age is just a number after opening up her own business over a year ago.

Esch is the owner of Sincerely Yours Boutique, located at 323 S. Main St. in Carthage, where she’s breaking down the stereotype that young people are inexperienced and unsuccessful.

“I really like shopping, so that helps,” Esch said. “My mom owns her own business. She owns Custom Carpets in Carthage, and my grandma had her own preschool, but she’s retired now. That kind of made me want to have my own business. Malls are starting to fade out, and individual shops and boutiques are starting to pop up more and become more popular.”

Sincerely Yours Boutique opened in April 2019, and she moved to the Carthage square this fall. Her boutique carries items ranging from designer clothes to jewelry. She carries top name brands like Barefoot Dreams, BruMate, Dear John Denim and Fawn Design.

Young entrepreneur running her own boutique

Elizabeth Esch has opened the Sincerely Yours boutique on the South Main Street side of the Carthage square. The young entrepreneur says others who dream of owning their own businesses should go for it and not look back. GLOBE | ROGER NOMER

“I was the first boutique in Missouri to carry Fawn Design, which is based out of Utah,” she said. “We’re really excited to have them, and you can use this as a purse, backpack or diaper bag. We’re also carrying Barefoot Dreams, and I’m so excited. The closest place you can get it around here is Springfield and Arkansas. They carry it in Dillard’s and Nordstrom, so it’s a higher-end line. They have blankets, robes, cardigans, socks and gloves.”

Before starting this venture, Esch was working multiple jobs while juggling college, where she was studying the ins and outs of marketing.

“I had worked for Estée Lauder and US Bank, and I was going to Missouri Southern,” she said. “I graduated a semester early. I studied marketing with a minor in business management. I always knew I wanted to own my own business, but I didn’t know what I was wanting to do. This idea sparked because I always loved shopping and getting new clothes. My mom popped the idea into my head, so I took it from there.”

Esch credits her mother, Kris, for helping her to become a young entrepreneur and setting up her store.

“She’s helped me out a lot,” she said. “We go to the clothing markets, and we shop together. She helps me decide on a few things, and she’s helped me with this whole space.”

Originally, Esch started selling boutique items out of the front of her mom’s store, but she had yearned to open up her own place since day one.

“It gave me the opportunity to get my feet on the ground and to grow a little bit and have people figure out who I was,” she said. “This was the perfect opportunity because I heard this space was going to be open, and we just took it because I was outgrowing her store.”

Kris Esch has owned Custom Carpets and Interiors for 25 years. She said her daughter had a small section of boutique items in her store for 18 months, and it kept growing.

Young entrepreneur running her own boutique

Elizabeth Esch talks about opening her boutique Sincerely Yours on the square in Carthage on Wednesday. Globe | Roger Nomer

“People were kind of confused that there was flooring over here and clothes over here,” Kris Esch said. “I knew that she could have her own boutique. She’s the type of person that she knows what she wants, and she goes after it. She always does everything 110%.”

Elizabeth Esch said it’s been a learning process, and it’s a lot more difficult than it looks on the surface. She created her website, takes her own photographs, manages social media accounts, and even models some of the clothing and shoes.

“It seems like it’s all fun and shopping, but it is a lot of hard work,” Esch said. “Online stuff is a lot harder to get exposure than most people think. You have to come up with very unique ideas that people usually don’t do. We started doing fun videos, and I have a lot of people coming in here now talking about those.”

Esch said she also follows a lot of fashion bloggers online to see what types of items are trending and hopes to expand her presence on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

Her advice to other young entrepreneurs wishing to start their own business is to just go for it and don’t look back.

“You only have one life, and you have to put in a lot of work, but if you can do it, then you’ll succeed,” she said. “If you had told me 10 years ago that I would have my own building on the square, I would’ve been like, ‘No way.’”

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News reporter

Kimberly Barker is a news reporter for The Globe who covers Northeast Oklahoma, Southeast Kansas, as well as Carl Junction and Webb City.