Manager and Design Director: Substance for Fashion Conscious People
Owner: Phyllis + Hazel
Prior Internships: Abercrombie & Fitch - Girls Woven Bottoms Intern
Lip Candy: Maybelline Vivids in Hot Plum
Coffee: Latte from our Columbus Neighbors, One Line Coffee
Describe a typical day:
As the manager of a store front, I spend a considerable amount of time handling merchandising, customer, inventory and sales related tasks. I open the store, I run the deposits, I wait on customers with a smile. It’s my job to know where everything in the store is. We have two stores, so communicating with our owner and other shop in Cincinnati Ohio is crucial for organizing product stock and getting customers what they want and need. I also run our E-Commerce business. We have a web developer for major changes, but when it comes to adding new products, adjusting the inventory, receiving and shipping packages, and coordinating photography, it’s up to me. Running a website is, in and of itself a full-time job, so I try to give it the attention it deserves while being careful not to neglect customers or other store tasks.
Our store is also unique in that we design in the store front. Our mission is to be a sustainable company and leave a small carbon footprint, so we try to re-purpose any damaged items that com through the store. Every 3 months we produce a collection for sale in stores and online using our salvage. Most recently we used broken jewelry and buttons collected over the last 7 years, paired with over-sized button-down shirts to create a collection of entirely hand-beaded, one of a kind collars. My job is to brainstorm ideas for our theme, determine what supplies we will need, design a plan of execution, and over see the production of every collection. Myself and our Design Assistant, Katelyn, split the work designing and sewing the last collection for our store and we were really excited with the results!
I spend about 45 hours a week at my “day job” and use my two days off a week to work on my own collection of clothing and jewelry for Phyllis + Hazel. I sell my items primarily out of the lofts space at Substance with the occasional arts festival or craft fair booth. It’s really like having two jobs. Some weeks it doesn’t feel like I get to have any time off. I have to keep myself to a tight schedule and prioritize tasks to get things completed on time, but if feels really good every month when I see my sales results. Not a bad paycheck bonus either. Right now I’m gearing up for a fashion show sponsored by our Alternative Fashion Mob in Columbus, Ohio. Details about the event can be found here:
Most memorable moment(s):
I graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design in 3 years instead of 4. It takes most people 5 years now to get through college. I was 20 when I graduated. I couldn’t go have a drink at the bar with my friends to celebrate, but it saved me money and kick-started my professional career.
Can’t live without: Beagles, dogs in general, but specifically Beagles.
Must have (now):
Zoya 5-Free Nail Polish- They did this great promotion for Earth Day where you could exchange your old nail polishes from other brands with new Zoya polish at a great discount and they’ll recycle your old polish for you according to EPA standards! That’s so great.
Must have (later):
A bed frame. It might seem more important than nail polish, but a mattress on the floor is just as comfy and who has the money to have Ikea deliver? What we need is a friend with a truck.
Favorite place to shop/eat/socialize:
The Short North Arts District in Columbus Ohio. That’s where our business is located. There are so many great small independent companies and restaurants sourcing locally grown produce.
For coffee I like One Line Coffee, for lunch, Northstar Cafe, for dinner, Sushi Rock, Basi Italia, or Marcella’s and for dessert, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
If you’re trying to start a business of your own, making a budget and sticking to it is really crucial. Save all your receipts, write everything down and ask people you know who are good at money management for help or get an accountant. Learning to ask for help instead of trying to do everything myself has been hard, but it’s really paid off.
I’d like to have my own store front by the time I’m 30, which feels far away right now (I’m 24) but I’m sure it will fly by. I need to learn more about what it takes financially to run a store front, and what’s involved in applying for a small business loan before I jump into a huge commitment like that. I would like to spend more time traveling to get a sense of where I might like to settle down. I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life and I’d like to visit more places before I put down roots and open a shop. Long term, I would like to sell my own clothing and jewelry at wholesale to other businesses.
photo credit: 1st & 3rd, Sasha Bohn.