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EDUCATION: I graduated in 2005 from UMW with a degree in art history.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? An interior designer. I used to rip the "get your degree from home" ads out of the TV Guide to send away for information for their interior design programs. I decided against it once I realized precise measurements and detailed drawings were a big part of the profession.
FIRST JOB: Baby sitter
WORST JOB: Baby sitter, ha. I've actually been lucky to have had some pretty great jobs. No real complaints!
HOW DID YOU END UP OWNING BEAUCOUP VINTAGE? I began writing a business plan and stashing vintage away in my home office a year or so before I opened the shop. I got my LLC and tax information squared away, and not soon after, a friend told me the shop's current space was opening up January 2010. I opened the shop doors May 1, 2010!
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DECISION YOU'RE WRESTLING WITH NOW? I'm not exactly wrestling with anything currently. I am, however, in the midst of dreaming up and planning some great new changes for the shop. Stay tuned!
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR JOB? Right now I'm working on getting to a place where I can hire a couple of people so that I can spend more time out on the road, sourcing more vintage.
WHO WAS YOUR MENTOR AND WHAT WAS THE BEST ADVICE THEY GAVE YOU? I'm pretty lucky to be married to my husband, Tom, who is a successful businessman himself. He's been my biggest cheerleader and is my constant sounding board. Rather than a single piece of advice, I'd say the best thing he's done for me is to give me perspective and remind me to not be so hard on myself.
WHAT ARE THE BEST LOCAL RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES SEEKING ASSISTANCE IN GETTING STARTED OR EXPANDING? The Small Business Development Center on the UMW graduate campus was a huge help to me while I was writing my business plan. I took a few business classes there as well as at SCORE in Richmond.
HAVE YOU EVER WORKED WITH A NOTABLE PERSON OR CELEBRITY? IF SO, WHO? Not yet. I've got my eye on Taylor Swift, though. Girl loves a vintage dress! Anyone know her PR person?
WHAT BUSINESS BOOK DO YOU RECOMMEND THE MOST AND WHY? Honestly, the "Retail Business Kit for Dummies" was the best book I read. It's comprehensive, detailed and written in an easy-to-read, conversational tone.
CAN YOU SHARE A WEIRD FUN FACT ABOUT YOUR PROFESSION THAT WE MIGHT NOT KNOW? A lot of the clothing I buy comes with a story. I've bought dresses from a woman's honeymoon 50 years ago, necklaces from safari vacations from the 1970s, hippie dresses from prom night, etc. It's fascinating!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE THINKING ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS RIGHT NOW? Make sure you have more startup capital than you think you're going to need, be flexible, and make sure you really understand (and like!) your customer and your product.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LIKELY TO BE DOING WHEN NOT WORKING? Sipping cocktails with Tom and friends at Bistro Bethem.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW? I'd like a thriving shop with constantly evolving inventory, lots of awesome, regular customers, and a great group of shop girls. I have other plans but they're best left as surprises.
WHO WOULD YOU RATHER SPEND TIME WITH, WARREN BUFFETT, DORIS BUFFETT OR JIMMY BUFFETT? Warren Buffet. His incredible business success is so inspiring; hopefully some of his smarts would rub off on me during our meeting! He also seems to be kind, humble, self-aware, with a good sense of humor.
--As told to Craig Schulin
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