Did you know that one of our favorite local and online stores for gifts (including super cute Easter stuff!), clothes, and fun accessories is owned by a dynamic duo, one of whom is a local mom? We sat down with Prep Obsessed owner Corey OLoughlin to ask her 20 questions about herself, her kiddos, and her business.
1. Where are you from? If somewhere else, how did you end up in Florida?
I’m from Arlington, MA, a great little suburb just outside of Boston. While we truly loved Boston we did not love the weather and we found ourselves escaping on a BOS-PBI flight whenever we got the chance. We decided to make the leap before having kids, knowing it would be much harder to make the cross-country move once we had even more roots. We’ve never regretted our choice and find ourselves saying “this is why we moved” again and again as we experience all that Palm Beach has to offer!
2. Rock, pop, hip-hop, classical, country, or death metal?
Lazy days by the pool call for some country and if I’m working out, give me all the hip-hop. The music played most in our house has to be the Hamilton soundtrack - the O’Loughlin family puts on a MEAN Hamilton karaoke performance.
3. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?
I distinctly remember pretending to be a cashier, swiping my little sister’s library card through the keys on a computer keyboard, so I think retail has always been an interest of mine.
4. Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I attended Stonehill College, a small liberal-arts college in Massachusetts. One of the great things about Stonehill was that they centered so much of their lessons and teachings on community. The culture of good citizenship they built had such an impact on me and made me truly appreciate how important it is to give back -- we apply these lessons daily at Prep Obsessed. I studied Communications and Sociology - both come in handy daily!
5. Tell us a little bit about your kiddos.
Colin (8) is my sweet angel boy, the kindest and most empathetic human I’ve ever encountered. He’s super into baseball, loves Harry Potter and Hamilton, and will still hold my hand in public.
Addie (5) is full of fire and passion and destined to be a leader. She’s obsessed with leopard print everything and isn’t afraid of making bold choices. She’s a no-nonsense realist who fiercely loves her friends, family, and teachers. You can find her attempting to feed the wild bunnies in our front yard and petting every dog she encounters on a daily basis.
6. Beer, wine, whiskey, or water?
Most days it's coffee (strong and black) and at least 120 oz. of water (you won’t ever see me without a big straw tumbler in tow), but I’m also partial to a glass of champagne and maybe a rum drink.
7. What is the first job you ever had?
My first job was at the Arlington Boys and Girls Club where I was a volunteer Youth Leader assisting with the swim and camp programs. I worked at the Club for years, eventually as a lifeguard, and it’s where my husband and I started dating (he was also a lifeguard - ahh, young love!).
8. Tell us a little about your business, Prep Obsessed, and how you came up with the idea, when, and how you got started?
Prep Obsessed started as an after-hours side-hustle - my best friend Nina pitched the idea when I was 9 months pregnant with Colin, stating, “There isn’t one place for us to shop and find everything we need. We shop at one store for gifts, one for clothes, one for jewelry - we should create something that fully caters to the busy woman.” When we launched in 2013, Nina was a post-op cardiac nurse and I was a full-time online marketer; we both left our jobs about 16 months later when we couldn’t possibly juggle both.
9. What were the early days like? Any funny or surprising stories to share from this time?
The early days were wild. We sold out of our first collection within one hour of launch and had our first 1,000 Facebook fans within a week. Our favorite early story is that on the day we interviewed Jess (one of our long-time rock star employees), Nina and I happened to show up wearing the exact same outfit: identical Lilly shorts and navy tops. Jess said she considered running for the hills, but thankfully she looked past the twinning and accepted the job!
10. Tell us more about your PrepO journey.
When we first launched, Prep Obsessed was strictly Facebook - no website, no store, no nothing. We were pioneers in the social selling space and did very well with bi-weekly flash sales. We launched a website soon after and the storefront came last! We have moved warehouse locations six times because we keep outgrowing our spaces. Online retail is definitely our jam.
11. What was the first thing you sold, and what has been your biggest seller?
Our first collections were home decor-based, accessories came later, then clothing. Accessories are our top sellers; we’re known for our jewelry line and also sell directly to independent retailers around the country and abroad. At last count, the Prep Obsessed line is carried in more than 1,500 stores internationally.
12. How has Covid affected your business?
Covid affected our business in almost every way - we learned that there is no substitute for being scrappy and meeting your customers where they’re at. During early Covid that meant finding the cutest sweatsuits and loungewear sets, puzzles, and snacks. Then it meant finding our customers masks for everyone in their family and for every occasion. We changed our internal procedures to keep our staff safe while allowing them to show up every single day determined to give our customers the best experience possible. We truly feel like our customer community trudged through together and we’ll always be grateful for that.
13. Tell us a little bit about your team.
We have 13 ladies working full-time for PrepO and a few contractors and part-timers to round it out. Our team is an extension of our family - keeping them all employed during Covid was our #1 priority. Our team is quirky, kind, and passionate about doing the best job possible - they treat every order as if it’s the most important order and our customers definitely feel that when they open a package from us or visit us in-store.
14. What part of your job or someone’s job at PrepO might surprise people?
You can find me changing my clothes at least 5 times a day (I often forget what I wore to work in the morning because I’ve done so many fit videos and photo sessions throughout the day), emptying the garbage, filling in as a package packer (I’m honestly not great at this job so we don’t do this very often), and handwriting notes to customers. I also attempt to reach out to one customer personally each day, typically someone going through a major life event (hardship or success), to let them know that the team at PrepO is thinking of them.
15. Are your kids involved in the business?
My kids are at the warehouse every afternoon after school, so they’re always around and usually up to something. Both really like to lend a hand; Addie really likes helping with anything jewelry related and Colin likes to participate in live product demonstrations.
16. Any tips for moms looking to start a business?
Being a business owner is hard work. I think often people observe only the glamorous parts of owning a business but don’t quite understand that Nina and I work from eyes-open to eyes-closed each day (that includes weekends). So, my advice is: if you’re going to do it, be sure it’s something you’re passionate about because in order to succeed you will need to live and breathe your business, something that comes naturally when that fire is there.
17. What is your favorite or ideal family vacation/vacation spot?
We are big fans of VBRO and love to find a great house in a location we haven’t explored before. We pack cards, puzzles, and board games to try and disconnect from electronics as much as possible. We find that vacationing like this brings every member of our family so much joy, and it’s super low-stress to plan!
18. Favorite local restaurant with the family? Restaurant or bar for a girls' night? Date night?
If you ask my kids, the best restaurant in the entire world is Costello’s in Abacoa - they specifically request “pizza from Costello’s” whenever they’re asked what they’d like for dinner. For date night we love to support local restaurants and dine outside - grabbing food to-go and eating it on the beach is our favorite date night activity.
19. Favorite local spots to take out-of-town guests?
When we have visitors from Boston we almost always hit up Guanabanas and UTiki - the atmosphere is exactly what they’re looking for and neither disappoint. Nothing says “Welcome to Jupiter” quite like drinks and apps on the water!
20. Favorite local non-profit?
PrepO partners with loads of local non-profits - we have so many great organizations in the area! I think our biggest partnership this year was Place of Hope. The Girl Gang (what we call PrepO’s customers) raised over $5,000 at Thanksgiving for the organization. This was an important year to show up for non-profits as many of their fundraising activities were canceled due to Covid and we’re so glad to have been able to make an impact for such a worthy cause.
Shop Prep Obsessed online at www.prepobsessed.com or on their mobile app (free in the App Store). A curated selection is also available at their local flagship store on Northlake Boulevard in the Publix Plaza at 4246 Northlake Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens (561) 908-5720. Or combine the two: select free local pickup while shopping online for the ultimate convenience!
- Monday through Friday 10 AM to 5 PM
- Saturday 10 AM to 2 PM
- Sunday CLOSED