Hey ladies! We are bringing back our Member Spotlight blog series, featuring our Members — influencers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and bosses alike! Next up, Annabelle Johnson, founder of clothing brand Homewurk.

Q: Tell us a little about you, girl!

A: Hiiii! My name is Annabelle Johnson, the owner of Homewurk – a Charlotte based online boutique (now mobile boutique as well, ahh!). I grew up right here in Charlotte and I quickly moved back after college. I’m now 24 and have been here ever since! I started Homewurk right after my 23rd birthday and can’t imagine doing anything else. When I’m not working (which is rare LOL) you can find me at a local coffee shop, working out, coaching at F45 or up at the lake with my friends!

Q: What inspired you to start your own clothing brand? Tell us all about starting Homewurk!

A: I’ve been working in retail since I was 16. My first job was at a boutique right after I got my license. Ever since then, I’ve been in love with the whole atmosphere that surrounds a boutique. I can vividly remember telling my parents that one day I would have a store of my own and years later, here we are. I’m a social butterfly at heart and one of my favorite things is being able to talk to people, make connections, and help them find outfits they love and ultimately feel comfortable in!

Q: Do you have a style icon/muse that you look up to when curating your shop?

A: To be honest, I don’t! I think that one of the things I love about Homewurk is that it is a direct reflection of me and my own style. I think sometimes in the fashion realm, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to curate things that reflect a certain icon or muse or even sometimes another brand that you look up to. For me, I wanted it to feel real, authentic, and reachable for girls my age. Being in your young 20s, you are still trying to navigate what it’s like post-college and I wanted to curate a collection for girls who do it all – they can get a cute brunch look, a top that’s appropriate for work, a crop top for weekends out on the town, and a dress to wear for dinner with their parents.

Q: It’s no secret that building a brand from the ground up can be taxing. What keeps you motivated to keep going on your journey?

A: It is true, building a brand on your own from the ground up is incredibly taxing but, on the other hand, it is probably one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I would say my biggest motivation to continue on this journey of building and growing my brand is the opportunities that are within reach and that are available to create that I would have never thought possible. For me, I’ve always wanted my brand to be an extension of myself and it is one hell of a motivator to keep growing a brand that now has the opportunity to do things that reflect myself and my passions.

Two big things come to mind. First, I have always wanted to create a brand that does good and gives back to the community in some way and this year, I had a few opportunities that I would probably not have had if I didn’t continue pushing and growing my brand. When my dog passed away in March, I took an incredibly sad event and decided to use my brand’s community to create something good out of it. I created a line of t-shirts, sweatshirts, and dog bandanas and made a collection in his honor – donating a portion of our sales to a local bulldog rescue and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have this large platform of people surrounding and supporting me if I hadn’t grown my brand to be what it is today.

Secondly, myself and another local boutique, Luminous Boutique, partnered up together to do a bi-annual clothing drive where we collect clothing from our local community of girls here and donate it to a local women’s shelter, Doves Nest. Instead of just dropping off the clothes, we set up a full “pop up shopping experience” for the women of the shelter, so they got to feel like they were still receiving all of the same shopping experiences everyone else was. I truly believe that I am so motivated to continue to grow, so that I can continue to create and act on things like this that take it one step further than just selling clothes.

Q:  What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone looking to find their passion?

A: I would say that you have to be open to finding your passion in anything. I think people often times get caught up in thinking that their full time job needs to be what they are most passionate about in life (and sometimes that is the case don’t get me wrong)! But, you need to be open to finding other opportunities that fuel your passion. If you’re super passionate about dogs but work in finance, then maybe you can volunteer at the shelter on the weekends. There are always opportunities out there that can fuel your passion, you just have to be open to finding them, because trust me it’ll be worth it when you do.

Q:  You know Girl Gang is all about finding and spotlighting the coolest spots around town. What does your ideal weekend in Charlotte look like currently?

A: Ideally I would wake up and work out at F45 (I also coach there too so if anyone wants to come try a class DM me and we can workout together!), followed by coffee and breakfast burritos at Giddy Goat which is my favorite local coffee shop! After that, I love to go for walks on the Rail Trail in south end and check out whatever pop up markets are going on – if I’m not a vendor! Then, in the evening I love to catch up with my friends and check out any new bar/restaurant openings followed by Resident Culture to end the night!

Q:  What’s your favorite thing about being a Girl Gang Member?

A: Girl Gang is such a great way to make connections both personally and professionally! I think it’s such a fun way to meet other people in the community that you may not have crossed paths with! The events are so fun and so intimate that it really makes you feel super welcomed!

Q:  What’s next for you and Homewurk?

A: If you know me, you know I can never sit still. I’m always dreaming, doing, and planning for the next step. We are an online-only boutique with a retail storefront presence in Boho Collab (a local collab space of several different small businesses). In August, we are launching our mobile boutique – we converted an old party bus into a mobile storefront to take around Charlotte and to new cities as well. The ultimate dream is to have a storefront here in Charlotte one day! We’ve been searching but haven’t found the perfect space for Homewurk quite yet. But stay tuned – it’s hopefully on the horizon!

There you have it, ladies.

A look into Annabelle’s journey + some amazing advice on staying motivated. Follow along on Instagram and shop Homewurk.

Who should we spotlight next?! Leave a comment below!

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