42 S G M A G A Z I N E | FA L L 2 0 1 8 Kelly is definitely the visionary. I am the person who can execute the ideas, just give me a task, and I will complete it. - HEATHER ABBOTT “At first I fought the retail store concept,” Heather said. “Kelly wanted to open a store where he could make leather belts and other products in front of customers.” The first SouthLife Supply store opened on Madison Street in 2016, followed by a larger store on Broad Street in 2017. “Our customers, especially the locals, have really molded the line of products we carry now,” Heather said. “We have responded to that feedback. You can come in and buy something as small as a leather bracelet or dog collar or as big as an overnight travel bag. All made right here in Thomasville.” Failure is an Option If you want to find an opposite partnership, look no further than the Abbotts. “Kelly is definitely the visionary,” Heather said. “I am the person who can execute the ideas, just give me a task, and I will complete it.” The combination of Kelly’s creative energy and Heather’s business acumen has made a winning business model. However, Heather said the success has come with its fair share of failures. “We failed miserably after our first show at AmericasMart,” she said. “We tell people don’t do it like we did and make sure you do your research, which we did not. You are going to fail, and we failed often. We lost all our money on the first show, and we came back home with nothing. We had to pawn the title to our car.” With that severe blow, Heather said looking back you can see how God was in control. “When we opened our first store on Madison Street, it was the same building where we came two years earlier to pawn our car title,” Heather said with a smile. “You see the circles when you look back. I think anyone who has a small business and is an entrepreneur sees the circles that are being completed along the way. “