Interview with Jessi Murray | Library OKC
Starting Your Own Creative Business
Okay, first things first, tell me everything about Library OKC.
Library OKC is a clothing store for the modern woman. Instead of paying $45 to buy a dress to wear to an event or wedding & then never wear again, you pay $25 a month to Library. The $25 allows you a certain amount of points, each item in the store has a point value, the nicer the item, the more points it takes to rent out. You can rent up to three items at a time as long as it remains in your point value. You wear the items, return them to me, & start the entire process over again. We carry everything from accessories, to dresses, to blazers.
What inspired you to do this?
In college, I started selling clothes on Instagram, & it became a huge part of my life. There's an entire online community of women buying & selling each other's clothing, which was incredible to take part of. I've always thought the highest compliment is telling someone you'd love to borrow their clothing. So my two passions merged & Library was born!
Are you nervous about it opening?
I'm definitely nervous, but more than anything I'm REALLY excited. It was scary to make the announcement that I was opening up the store because once it's out there, it's freaking out there. I'm putting my heart & soul into this idea, but at the end of the day, I'm only 23! & if I fail, I'll learn from it & try again!
What in your life do you think led you to where you are now?
Man, that's such a big question! I'm not sure if I would have had the know-how, or the guts to open up this store if it weren't for my husband. Even back to our first few months of dating, he thought my Instagram store was a great idea & was always asking how he could help more, or empower me to do more with the shop. He started taking almost 100% of the photos which was a huge help. He's been a very important part of the creative process & branding.
What do you love/hate about creativity?
As a creative person, you're never going to be 100% fulfilled with your work, which is great because it forces you to work harder, but also the worst because of the overwhelming self-doubt. There's a lot of "why am I not as good as that person?" & "why hasn't my work become popular like this person." It takes self-control to not allow yourself down that comparison rabbit hole. But when you finally make something or create an idea that you're proud of, that is the BEST feeling in the world!
What has it been like starting your own business?
A lot of hard work. I work full time & shoot weddings on the weekend/ engagements on weekday evenings & I'm trying to make this Library thing come to life. I'm tired. I'm frustrated a lot of the time. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I've been given the opportunity to make a dream of mine come true so by god I'm going to do whatever it takes.
What's the worst part about being a female creative? Best part?
Honestly, as a creative, I feel like I'm treated as an equal, but in the business world, not so much. I think people see me, my pink hair, my clothes, my age, my gender, & they assume I don't know what I'm talking about. People make assumptions that I don't work hard & that things have been handed to me, which just isn't the case. But I love the power that being a woman brings me. I love that I can be delicate & strong & intimidating & unassuming all at the same time. Regardless of the assumptions made about me, I know I can handle myself & prove people wrong.
You wrote an instagram post about sharing pictures of yourself - What motivated you to talk about that?
I got into the fashion/ photography industry because I loved making myself & others feel beautiful through clothing & photos. I am always asking my friends to model for me & when I tell them "oh my gosh I LOVE this photo of you, you need to post it!" The feedback is always the same. "Do I post too many selfies? Does it look like I have a double chin here? Do you think people will think I'm vain?" It's a lot of self-doubt & criticism. I hate it!! There's nothing wrong with loving yourself. I have a lot of insecurities, just like everyone else, but by documenting my style it gives me a chance to work through that self doubt. Not to say that's the only way to fix the problem, but if taking selfies make you feel good, freaking DO IT. This life is hard enough without worrying about the trivialities of social media & what a coworker might think if you post two #ootd photos in a row.
Any advice on starting a creative business?
Don't be afraid of hard work, & on the flip side of that, know yourself & know when it's time to rest. You can't run on empty forever. Also, if you're starting to lose steam, take a step back & really think about what it was that drew you to this business in the first place. Every time I start to feel like I'm dragging, I do a shoot or a project just for me, & I always find myself feeling more at peace afterward.
What's been the coolest part about starting this business?
Oh my god, the people. I have met some of the most incredible bad ass women both locally, & nationally. Personal style gives women a common thread, & I swear the bonding knows no bounds. It's been incredible to see all the women reaching out to me to model, to borrow clothes, to ask for advice, to give advice, etc. I have made so many new friends that I will be forever grateful for.
What did you have to get used to with starting this business?
Lack of privacy. It seems so silly, but people are CONSTANTLY asking me what progress is being made & how I'm doing. If I'm tired, etc. Which is fantastic that people are so excited & interested! I love that, & I'm very grateful. But opening myself up to that judgment & criticism is scary. But also, I think that's probably a lot in my head!