“I loved the feeling of being in neighborhood stores with my mother as a kid. The shopkeepers were so personable and everyone knew each other. I’ve always been a people person so I guess I felt that community connection from early on.
When I was about 10 years old, there was a big toy-craze for the ‘Easy-Bake Oven.’ My parents got it for me as a gift. I remember being grateful for it, but at the same time, I wanted a cash register to play with, just like the ones in the stores. That Christmas, my parents got me one and I could not stop playing with it. I loved that thing. I knew I would have my own business one day."
"My first job was at Claire’s where we sold fashion accessories. I felt like my personality connected with helping the customers. I observed them and shared feedback with management about items I thought they should carry. They listened and even gave me a promotion. After Claire’s, I worked nine to five in the corporate world, took some business courses, but by then I had the responsibility of my son. My heart wasn’t in my work. I wanted my own business so I could provide for myself. I filed for my first business loan and was denied. That’s when I knew I was going to make it happen because I work harder when I’m challenged."
"My mom is a hard worker with a great work ethic. She’s driven and so kind. I followed in her footsteps and charged on with my dream and it happened. Fortunately, I have a good foundation. My family is very supportive. They allowed me to accomplish my goal by providing care for my son as needed.
Having a small business gives me the flexibility and freedom of working on my own. I’m passionate about my job and comfortable in my workplace. Direct connection with people is important. I had to act a certain way for the employer before I had my own business. Now I get to be who I am, all the time."
"I draw strength from others. I have a network of local creatives who I buy from. We help push one another through hard times. We learn from one another’s stories so we can adjust and carry on. It helps to know we’re not alone.
My business has been in Federal Hill for 20 years. This is my third location. It’s a small space that’s filled with a lot of character. I love the skylight, being near the corner and right across from the market. It’s comfortable and the community feels like home."
*Story made in partnership with Federal Hill Main Street & South Baltimore Gateway Partnership