Chaley Chandler: Proud as a Peacock of Family, Business, Volunteer Work 6/7/16 06/06/16 10:56:12 PM
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Chaley Chandler’s Facebook page features her family, husband Eric, and children Blake and Peyton.
Proud as a Peacock of Family, Business, Volunteer Work
By Elizabeth Elliott
The Daily Record
Chaley Chandler dreamed of starting her own business and did so in a year of economic uncertainty. Her business, Chocolate Peacock, also known as CP2U (Chocolate Peacock To You), is still going strong.
“My husband [attorney Eric Chandler] and I started Chocolate Peacock in 2011,” Chandler said. “There were very few boutiques in Omaha so we came up with Chocolate Peacock.”
Chocolate Peacock – once a brick-and-mortar store, then an online store – is now a private appointment boutique business where Chandler sells a collection of contemporary women’s clothing (made up of a number of lines) twice a year, with spring/summer and fall/winter collections. Chandler has also help “pop-ups” around town, often in connection with a non-profit fundraiser.
Customers sign up to see the collections. “I have a list of clients that I set private shopping appointments with twice a year. They then come to my home where I have a mini boutique set up and they try everything on and I provide styling help if needed,” said Chandler.
Chandler worked in sales prior to her owning her boutique.
“Being in sales at both NRG and KMTV gave me great experience in customer service, sales and marketing,” she said. “I also worked with local business owners and learned a ton from each of them.”
Chandler recently took over the role of president of Junior League. She first got involved in 2008 while working at NRG. Chandler said she was looking to join a networking group.
“I loved that Junior League provided networking opportunities, but it also was a way for me to learn and give back to my community,” she said. “I cannot say enough good things about Junior League. It is amazing, and every woman in Omaha should consider joining.”
Chandler was in the most recent Chamber of Commerce Leadership Omaha Class. She said it was a great experience and she got to meet great people she wouldn’t have otherwise met.
“I got to see a different perspective on the Omaha community. I am already involved philanthropically, but Leadership Omaha opened my eyes to all the other opportunities out there.”
She said she became involved with the class through Junior League. “We have our president-elect apply to this program each year,” said Chandler. “It is another great way to prepare you for being president.”
Chandler said one of the biggest surprises about her work has been “the constant need to change and adapt to our rapidly changing economy and marketplace. You need to keep reinventing your business – this can be fun but very time consuming.”
Chandler said there’s not a typical day with her business. The busiest months for her business are April and October. She travels to market to buy each collection.
Her week is also taken up by Junior League. In addition to her work with the boutique and Junior League, Chandler is the president-elect for the Rose Theater Guild Board and serves on the Nebraska Medicine Guild Board and the Omaha Symphony Guild. Chandler and her husband attorney Eric Chandler have been married for almost 10 years and have two children: daughter Blake, who is 7, and son Peyton, 3 ½. She is the oldest of four children.
Chandler said she doesn’t find it difficult as a businesswoman to have people respect her ideas.
“I think when I first told people that I was going to open a boutique, I received a lot of strange looks just because the economy was terrible so people didn’t understand why I chose to do it when I did,” she said. “But I don’t think their reaction has anything to do with me being a woman. Now that I have proved myself through my work and other activities I feel like my ideas are very respected.”
“It’s like that for anyone – man or woman. You have to prove yourself first,” she added.
Her advice for others who want to start their own business is simple: “Just do it!” she said. “You can think about it and plan for it forever. It will never be the right time. You just have to dive in and figure it out as you go.”
Chandler said the most rewarding thing about her work is making women feel good about themselves. “New clothes – especially ones you think you could never wear – can really change your mood, attitude and confidence,” she said.
She also finds her volunteer work rewarding. “Being able to help other people and give back to my community is truly life changing.”
For Chandler, balancing being a mother and businesswoman is a challenge.
“Being a mom – and a wife, of course – is my first priority, so when you own a business that is all-consuming, it is extremely difficult. This is why I closed the storefront in 2014. I needed a more flexible schedule,” she said. “It was truly the best decision I have ever made. I never would have turned the business into what it is now (CP2U) if I hadn’t done that.”
She says there is always something to balance. “Because I like to be so involved in the community, I am constantly trying to balance my volunteer work with my professional work – this is definitely a work-in-progress right now.”
“Being able to change and adapt to what the market threw at me and what my customers wanted has been my biggest achievement,” she said, with the example of moving from a storefront to website to private appointments. “I am not afraid of change and new ideas.”
For more information about CP2U, email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The boutique’s website is: chocolatepeacock.myshopify.com.