STYLE TAB: What is the best and worst advice you’ve ever received?
CARI WOOLF: Best advice: If you don’t take chances then you will never know and don’t take criticism too personally. Worst advice: I have been pretty lucky and haven’t had a lot of bad advice, I have had some interesting advice though. I once had someone tell me that I shouldn’t have painted the walls of the store greed, that it looked like a baby store and I had someone tell me I should sell pet clothes!
ST: Where did you start out in your career?
CW: Retail! I’m from Missouri so when I graduated I took the first job that would transfer me to the East Coast and that was managing for a popular retail chain.
ST: How did you evolve into a fashion entrepreneur?
CW: I always wanted to open my own clothing boutique. It has always been a dream of mine, so I guess I always had an entrepreneurial spirit; I just needed all the other pieces to come together and luckily they did!
ST: What inspired you to start your own business?
CW: I always wanted to do it. I was never a 9-5 corporate type of person, even though I did do that for awhile. I always had a dream of owning my own clothing store, it was something I just knew I always wanted to do.
ST: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a business owner?
CW: There are LOTS of challenges! The beginning is really hard because you are literally guessing on what is/isn’t going to sell. When it comes to merchandise you have to start out small and see what works and doesn’t work and be willing to adapt. For example, I didn’t realize how many dresses I was going to sell! Now that is the biggest selling category I have. You have to always be willing to change your business concept a little bit to go with what is selling. I had to drop lines that I thought would sell great and just didn’t. It’s a learning process. Then you have to figure out what price point works best and what brands work best, then it gets easier. There are about a million challenges but that has definitely been the biggest and the one I have learned from the most.
ST: What advice can you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
CW: Don’t let people tell you NO or that you can’t do it. If you don’t try you will never know! And the biggest risks lead to the greatest rewards.
ST: What’s you favorite item in your store right now?
CW: Right now in the store I have this awesome dress by Gentle Fawn that is a tribal print with a great crochet back. It’s really cool and different. I’m a sucker for a cool back to a dress or top!