TWS: How did you get started?
JG: I graduated from UNL (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) in 2006 with a degree in Fashion and Merchandising. The summer before I graduated I started talking to my mom and my sisters about opening up a store. We decided the 3 of us would open a boutique in Lincoln where my sister and I would run it and my mom would be the silent partner and help out with vintage furniture and jewelry. Within 3 months we went to the Las Vegas Magic Tradeshow to buy clothing, gutted the space we are currently in and opened up for business.
Funny Moment – When clothing vendors were trying to communicate with us about what we ordered, there was a language barrier. Our conversations were really broken and it was really stressful because we didn’t know what we were going to get for our very first order.
Highs and Lows – It was a stressful time because we were trying to get everything done in a short amount of time. We realized that the clothing tradeshow we needed to go to in August was a week away once we got the acceptance from our bank. We had to have business cards, submit our application for the tradeshow, purchase our flights and have our hotel booked all within about 5 days. That was pretty crazy!
Finding Comfort – My sister was a comfort in the opening process because she had already been in management (a purchaser) before she moved here. She had worked with vendors and knew how the entire business side of purchasing goes, so that aided me in the whole process as well.
TWS: What did you do previously to get to where you are now?
JG: In college, I had jobs outside of the retail world. I was a waitress and a full-time student. I had also worked in the corporate industry for a very short time (Dillards’ Origins counter) and knew that the corporate ladder was not for me and that I really wanted to work for myself. I knew that I needed to start thinking about what I really wanted to do because I was about to graduate. I did my internship with the Black Market and that got me thinking that I really could potentially open up a store of my own because Jackie (owner of Black Market) was a young business owner herself. When I get determined about something it’s pretty full throttle.
TWS: What are some of things that you do or practice that have contributed to your success?
JG: 1. I definitely check all of my style feeds on Instagram as well as Pinterest to keep up with trends, styling and what’s new out there.
2. Paying attention to what my customers are wearing in store. We have a really fashion-conscious community in Lincoln and it’s always fun to see what kind of street style everyone has or how they’re putting looks together. I also keep my eye open to what people are wearing around here or wherever I travel. I also look at what’s trending not just in the fashion industry, but the interior and architectural world as well.
3. I haven’t meditated as much lately, but one thing I do to gain insight or to keep my head extremely clear is to take a walk every single day. That’s where I feel ideas come to me and it’s almost like my meditation. I’m not talking to anyone, I’m strolling and I’m not trying to physically exert myself too much. It’s relaxing. It’s funny how many times I’ve thought I’m so lucky I have a dog because she makes me takes walks every day. It’s crazy how many ideas have popped up in that short timeframe of about 20-30 minutes.
4. Within the community, especially the small business community downtown and surrounding areas, there’s a lot of young business owners that are full of ideas and are always eager to collaborate.
That definitely makes you think outside of the box and makes you think about new ways to do things.
5. Being in a collective environment (Stella Collective) has really contributed to my success as well. I’m involved in a team atmosphere now where there are creative minds that are constantly thinking “how do we branch ourselves out?, how do we improve ourselves?, how do we step up our game?”. At least each week we talk about something, whether it be what event we have coming up, what store display do we need to focus on, etc. It’s times like that where it’s really nice to have 2 others in the store that give you an extra push to do your best.
TWS: The retail industry is a crazy world. What are little things that you do to get through the day?
JG: If I can, I do really like to start my morning slow. We’re fortunate enough to have some days where we don’t open until 11:00 AM, so we have a good breakfast. This morning I just placed a huge order and eased on into my day. It’s good for the mind, body and soul to give yourself a slow start every once and a while. Happy hours also help me get through the day
My day-to-day is very different from others since I am a part of Loft and Craft as well as Stella. I’m kind of spread amongst a larger spectrum especially as of late. I like the fact that my day is different every day. Some days I’m in the store from 11:00 AM-6:30PM and other days I am working on a renovation home all day. That gives me equal time to be in store and be around people and then when I’m alone, I can really think about the business and what needs to be done. When I’m in store I think about what daily things need to be handled and helping people that come through door. It’s more about the task at hand rather than future goals. Having diversity in my work helps me get through my days. I feel fortunate to have no day that’s alike.
What I really value now is having Cameron on the team and having other individuals that are passionate about the same things I am. We all know there are so many facets now to focus on in order to succeed. Having people you can really count on and to trust their judgment (sometimes over yours) is very comforting and is a new thing for me.
TWS: What are 5 things that you can’t live without that you use religiously?
- My phone
- Laura Mercier Vanille (perfume)
- Artist Jacket – It makes me feel powerful whenever I put it on. It’s a longer, menswear style jacket. Whenever I feel like I need an extra oomph or to feel like a boss lady, I put that on.
- My loafers
- My Hobo wallet - I’ve had it for almost the timespan of Stella (11 years). It houses my EVERYTHING – all of my credit cards, I’m a receipt gal so all of my receipts. It’s a functional yet stylish piece that doesn’t look like it’s any more than a couple of years old.
"Lately, my mantra has been hard work pays off.''
TWS: What’s one piece of advice that someone has shared with you that you would like to share with someone else?
JG: Lately my mantra has been “hard work pays off.” My good friend Leah told me that this summer and it has stuck with me because it has been a year full of some long days and I feel like my brain and body have been exhausted a lot. But it’s been something I hope for in that the fruits of my labor will pay off.
TWS: What’s one thing that you’ve done today that no one knows about?
JG: Today has been a slow morning day so I’ve gotten spoiled by Alison, my wife. I’ve had French toast, coffee, got to relax on the couch with my animals and it has been a really lovely start.