Well, hello there! 👋
Welcome to The Dostal House blog. I see you checking us out… and I really really like it!
I’m Meegan Hofmeister, founder of The Dostal House, and I just wanted to take this first blog post to personally thank you for being right here, right now. I appreciate you, and can’t wait to hear about the journey you’ve been on and how it brought you to our page!
But for starters, let me tell you a little bit about me, my “why” and how I came to create The Dostal House:
I am a proud Midwest girl, born and raised in Illinois and Iowa, respectfully. Growing up in very small towns, I’ve always found myself to be a bit of an odd fit. Don’t get me wrong… I have been very lucky to have had some amazing girlfriends in my life since Day One… but I always felt like I was a little bit “on the outside,” so to speak. I loved beauty and fashion and I desperately wanted to see the world, while my girlfriends loved the idea of getting their college degrees, meeting Mr. Right, and starting a beautiful family. Neither was wrong. My dreams just looked different than everyone else’s I knew.
I struggled through college, unable to decide what the heck I wanted to be when I grew up… so it took me twice as long as everyone else to finish my degree. (I also had a lot less debt than them, partially in thanks to my mom… but also thanks to the fact that I was working a full-time job that had tuition reimbursement as a benefit!) So there I was: 25, a bachelor’s degree in business administration in my right hand, and absolutely no freaking clue what to do next. So I kept working in my retail job.
Eventually, I decided that I knew enough about the retail world that I thought I could make a run at owning a store myself. Well, not entirely by myself… I opened a women’s contemporary clothing boutique with my best friend. *Every girl-who-loves-fashion’s dream!* It was awesome. Going to work in a walk in closet every day… buying trips with my bestie to NYC and Las Vegas twice a year… giving style makeovers to clients, and watching them leave with a bit more confidence in themselves than when they walked into my store. Seriously, awesome.
But it’s hard for a business partnership to stay “awesome” when there are very different commitment levels to the business. While I made the store my life all day every day, my business partner needed to continue working elsewhere. It was only a matter of time before we had very different views on what it took to run the business, what it would take to grow the business, and even if the business was viable. Sparing you a lot of details… the business partnership dissolved in a not-so-pretty way, as did our friendship. In all fairness, for many reasons… but, from where I sit, the dissolution of the business (and how it was handled) had a lot to do with it. Lesson learned: my loyalty made a fool out of me.
After struggling through this split, and ultimately deciding to not continue on in the business under my initial plan to rebrand, I found myself searching for “what’s next” in my professional life. I had always had a keen interest in social media and how it was changing the game of marketing, and no longer having the store allowed me to become a bit obsessed with this. Soon, I was creating content and managing social media strategy for a few small businesses. And, as my loving new husband ever so gently pointed out, I also was never leaving my home office, never taking a shower, and never changing out of my pajamas. Not exactly the “newlywed lifestyle” he had envisioned. So he told me it was time to figure something else out.
Here’s what I knew: I loved working for myself. I loved working with the “innards” of small businesses. I loved helping and supporting small businesses. And, I couldn’t keep plugging away without a great group of girl bosses to surround myself with. Looking back on my years as a boutique owner, I was lonely. No one, including my business partner bestie, was struggling through the daily grind of business ownership with me… so I felt like no one had any clue what I was going through.
So I created The Dostal House. After reaching out to a few local gals who were in the start-up phase of businesses in things I was obsessed with, fashion and beauty, the three of us female founders started sharing The Dostal House as our workspace. Literally the best professional decision I ever “made” for myself was to surround myself with other girl bosses committed to chasing down their dreams and living their best lives. So I wanted to spread the word.
After issuing a press release in the local paper, simply sharing that The Dostal House existed and that there were some pretty neat businesses owned by women entrepreneurs calling it “home,” my email was flooded with interest in the space and support from community members excited about the girl power stance I was taking with this new direction in my life. Clearly, I wasn’t the only girl in town that was hungry for connection with other women who weren’t going to waste my time with gossip and drama, but instead filled me with encouragement and excitement to keep dreaming bigger.
And now, here we are… home to 6 permanent female founder residents (Dollup Beauty, WRITTEN Apparel, Sol Sisters Sunless Tan, SignedM.Studio, BHGRC & a ketogenic nutrition coach), quickly approaching our first birthday, and expanding on my original vision for a women’s workspace with The Social Club, a The House Happenings monthly events calendar, and now, this blog. I founded The Dostal House out of conviction, creating a sense of community with a strong desire to see women succeed. It’s true what they say, “Empowered women empower women,” and we’re proud to have a houseful.