Monday, May 10, 2010

Self-confidence comes from believing in the value your business offers

Showcasing early entrepreneurs offers an added marketing communications or social media element to help promote their businesses. In addition, it provides a forum through which they can guide other aspiring business owners around avoidable obstacles and toward a path of attainable goals. Sharing their insights begins with hearing their stories like the one offered by

Pamela DeVos, Partner
A’nuyu, Lincolnshire, Illinois -

My business partner, Diane Smith, and I had been in the fashion business for years. When I retired from it a few years ago many of my clients asked if I would still continue to buy for them. So, when I would attend North American style shows I’d have my list of clients for whom I would shop. This rolled over into Diane and I starting our own personal shopping business we named A’nuyu. We began simply by refreshing people’s closets with jewelry, wrapped scarves, handbags, and accessories. Then we began getting requests for T-shirts, beach cover-ups, and other basics. As a result, we began expanding the lines we carried to the extent that, today, we’re even offering a line of cowboy boots hand-made in Mexico.

What makes A’nuyu different from other personal shopping services is that it’s comprised of three distinct parts – personal shopping, trunk shows and fashion consultancy. While there are other personal shoppers in Chicago, we don’t run up against many in the suburbs. And, unlike your major department stores who offer style assistants, we are not limited to shopping in one store for our clients. What’s more, we’re able to shop at the various style shows. Consequently, we don’t pay retail. So, our pricing is generally 20 percent less than retail. And, about 95 percent of the fashion lines that we work with are produced by women-owned businesses.

We’re targeting everyone from their late 30’s to 70’s – especially women who, over the years, devoted all of their efforts toward caring for their families and less effort toward themselves. Now, they are coming to the startling realization – what happened to me? Often it is truly emotional to see women literally change before your eyes. We look for people who you might hear say – “I have nothing to wear,” yet have closets stuffed with clothing. Our clients need to be open-minded because this sort of change is very personal. They must have the will to empower themselves. In the end, they become more enthusiastic and confident because no matter what anyone says, when you look good you feel good.

What surprised us the most when we started A’nuyu was how much work it would be. When you’re doing it all on your own you’re not able to chose the fun aspects of the business for yourself and delegate the rest to staff members. While we did have a business plan in place when we started, we probably should have stuck to it more closely. We tend to follow opportunities that come along that aren’t part of our plan. As a result, we often find ourselves in a “catching-up” mode. Just as we tell our clients that they need to “own” their new images, I’d tell new entrepreneurs that they need to own their new businesses. Listen to your own advice. Remain self-assured. Don’t become intimidated among other, more seasoned business owners. You business offers a worthwhile product or service, so stand tall and represent it with confidence.

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