I didn't just start out an entrepreneurial expert - it took a variety of life experiences and circumstances to bring me to the place I am now - an entrepreneur and boss. From simply stepping out and taking a risk to open up my own boutique, to dedicating time and money to earn an MBA with a focus in entrepreneurial studies - each one of these experiences has been a part of the process that's led me to be the successful business owner I am today. This is a quick overview of some of those major turning points, and how they led me to where I am today! (Also be on the lookout for a part 2, because the journey is never really over!)


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. 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: Sophorn Kuoy

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.

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


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 shelving 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.

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.

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.

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 . I started a fashion line of reversible camis, a line of body and skincare products and still have the cosmetic line, Adel Amor Cosmetics. We have moved The Ivory Closet to a higher foot traffic area that is still close to my current clientele so business will not be lost! In the mix of everything I have managed to complete my masters from The University of Memphis!

PERSONAL
Five years later, I married and divorced, have two beautiful baby boys, and am going strong as a single momma and entrepreneur. I work extremely hard, but also have the freedom to take last minute vacations….. HOLD UP….I did not married “the boy” I ended up marrying a fellow entrepreneur and while things did not work out, we are still friends.
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.