When Laura Fitch moved to Charlotte in 1993, she was excited. A new city, a new house and a new future were on her horizon and she couldn't wait to get started.
Like most new homeowners, she had big plans for decorating her new space. But unlike most new homeowners, she'd had a passion for textiles and decor since childhood.
"My mother always had a perfectly set table — we never used paper napkins — and a beautifully made bed. She never left the house without making her bed," Laura says.
However, once she started looking around the Queen City to find furnishings and decor to fit her space, she realized she was coming up short.
"I moved from Washington, D.C. and had access to many home stores in the area. To my surprise, I found it difficult to locate the things that were available to me in D.C.," she says.
Laura's solution? Open a boutique to provide these items herself!
"After much thought and research I decided to take a chance and open a boutique that allowed me to share my love for linens and home furnishings with the Charlotte community," she says.
It was Laura's love and discerning eye for fine linens that inspired Bedside Manor, but it's the store's customers — many of whom were used to driving to Atlanta or even farther to get high-quality bedding products — who have helped the store thrive.
"We were so fortunate to have been received so openly by the city," Laura says. "Twenty-seven years later we still have a loyal following!"
Of course, owning a business isn't always easy.
"The biggest challenges in owning your own business is finding a balance," she says. "I love what I do, so much so that I find myself waking up in the middle of the night with a new thought or inspiration for the shop. Then I get lost in my thoughts and realize I’ve been up for hours! It’s hard to find a balance between work and home life."
Laura was a 26-year-old newlywed when she opened Bedside Manor.
"It is in my soul! I have been doing it for so long that it is just a part of me," Laura says. "I think that’s how it is for most small business owners: the people who work for you and your customers become family, and you care so deeply for them and your business that you need to make sure you balance your time."
She's also always planning for the future.
"I always have something in the works for the shop!" Laura says. "We are looking into several private label lines, we are planning a renovation in the early part of 2022 and expanding our website focus. We have grown so much over the years and we find ourselves continuing to reinvent ourselves. It’s important to keep things fresh, both for ourselves and our customers."
Her advice for other would-be entrepreneurs?
"My motto has always been 'Do what you love and the rest will just fall into place.' If you are passionate about something, that passion will fuel the drive you need to succeed," Laura says. "It creates momentum, and from that momentum great things will be born!"
Check back soon for Laura's linen closet must-haves plus her picks for spring and summer!