Business Series Part I: My History into an Entrepreneur

So most of you probably know that I am currently back in school getting my MBA with a focus in entrepreneurial studies! Lots of hard work, h...

So most of you probably know that I am currently back in school getting my MBA with a focus in entrepreneurial studies! Lots of hard work, huge challenge, and totally exciting. One of my assignments is to start a blog and write one post weekly about my business. Well.... "Start a blog."....CHECK! Now here is my first Business Project Post. I will start the series with the story on how I started my journey as an entrepreneur. Personal and Business.

 
Photo By: Vantage Media


My Resume Summary

Merle Norman Makeup Artist through High School, Bachelors in Business - University of Memphis (2004-2007), Bartender and makeup artist through college, Worked at Macy's as a fragrance rep and then as the Christian Dior counter manager (2007), worked at International Paper for 5 years as a Marketing Research intern, then Customer Service Rep, then Account Manager Sales Rep (lots of flying) (2007-2012), started my cosmetic line, Adel Amor Cosmetics, at the same time that I worked at International Paper (2007 - present). And now we have come to 2012, the year that I took the biggest risk I have ever taken in my life to date.

 Photo By: Vantage Media

How It All Began

The true, nitty gritty story.... It all began when I started dating a boy. I was at a time in my life when I was making huge changes left and right. I had just ended a 3 year relationship and moved into my own apartment as a newly single woman on the island. I was really teeter tottering around...trying to find my balance and making drastic decisions left and right, searching for some sort of independent stability in my life. A true Gemini in distress...I know. 

Photo By: Sophorn Kuoy

As any single lady trying to be independent does.... I cling to a boy. WHOMP, WHOMP! Hey...in my defense, I was very young. This boy convinces me to quite my job at a Fortune 100 company, where I am quickly climbing the corporate ladder, because of the travel. Selfish reasons...but honestly the best decision to "follow" I have ever made. Following for me is very rare and usually results in regret...but this time resulted in the fast track to what I believe is my destiny!

 

The Opening of The Ivory Closet

Now I am not the type to go 100% dependent on anyone so leaving my job without any source of income...NOT AN OPTION. I decided that I would open a shop on the island to keep busy while I tended to working on my "prim and proper" skills. Cleaning, cooking (unsuccessfully), and trying my best to make a boy smile.

  Photo By: Sophorn Kuoy

But as with anything, my mind was a canvas with paint, all colors of the rainbow, flying at it 100 miles an hour. So many ideas, so much FREEDOM...so much money that I now need to make. haha

 
Photo By: Sophorn Kuoy 

So with my 26 year old life savings, $10,000, I opened The Ivory Closet Boutique. My family and friends got in there and helped me to turn the once Tan N Go Salon, into my little dream boutique.


I had my grand opening November 15, 2012. My store had only $5000 in inventory with 2 floor racks, an accessory table, and two wall racks. 


To put it in perspective, today I have 6 racks, 3 wall racks, 4 sheving units, 3 tables, and one gondola full of merchandise. That is 5 times the amount of inventory that I started with. Many people ask how were you able to become successful with only $5,000 of inventory. My answer...LOCATION. I was the only shop on the island and at that time, there were more females than males on the island. I was able to reinvest my money back into inventory to grow into over 4 times the amount of inventory by 6 months. 

 
Photo By: AM Photography

My grand opening party was a HUGE success. So many people came out to see the shop. Such a huge outpouring of support. I was and still am just so thankful for all of those who believed in my little boutique.

 Photo By: AM Photography
 
Once the party was over and I sat down to soak in all of the people that had just come out to support me, I realized that this was going to be big. My dream grew exponentially overnight. This was no longer just a little something to do, I want to take this idea to the extreme. I want to go nationally using the web as a platform and the WOM and popularity of the shop as a vessel to franchise. 

Photo By: AM Photography

I began planning what The Ivory Closet will look like in 5 years with a business canvas plan and spent a lot of time working on a website, hiring a strong stylist team, and creating vendor partnerships. My corporate sales experience gave me a leg up in creating sales goals and a service platform for my shop.

Today

BUSINESS
I still have The Ivory Closet and also The Attic boutique. I started a fashion line of reversible camis, Ellen Anchor, and still have the cosmetic line, Adel Amor Cosmetics.We are in the middle of moving The Ivory Closet to a high foot traffic center that is still close to my current clientele and have just signed two The Ivory Closet franchise locations in Mississippi. One in Southaven, MS and the other.... will be announced soon as well as one more location in the works and.... I am getting my masters at The University of Memphis! 


PERSONAL
Three years later, I am married to a wonderful man and we have a beautiful baby son. We are a family of entrepreneurs. We work extremely hard, (80 hours a week) but also have the freedom to take last minute vacations..... HOLD UP....not married to the boy. 

Lesson 1:
The boy was merely a messenger that pushed a teetering entrepreneur off the edge where she did not land on the ground but instead exploded in mid-air into a free bird that was ready to fly the distance to success. (wow....does that make sense? If it does, then I think I just had a moment) What I was trying to get at is: People come into your life for a reason, Take the time to build relationships and network!

Lesson 2:
Explode into mid-air so that you may fly the distance to success.

 






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2 comments

  1. I was wondering how you got to this point! So proud to watch your success!

    ReplyDelete