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Stephanie Rozanovich of Trend Boutique

How did you start your business?
I worked for IBM for 12 years before deciding to open Trend Boutique. While at IBM, I met some extremely smart businesspeople and learned a lot about how a successful business operates. However, I found myself sitting in meetings thinking about opening my own business.

I decided to leave the corporate world and open a women's clothing boutique because I love how fashion can transform a person and build self confidence. I also believe there's a misperception about boutiques being unaffordable and overpriced. So, I decided to open a boutique and buy lines from more affordable designers. I went to a buying show in New York, found our great storefront in Oakley, and my husband worked on building out the space at night after working his corporate job during the day. Trend Boutique opened a few months later.

How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I grew up in the Cincinnati area, but lived in Raleigh, N.C., and Boston, Mass., for 12 years before moving back to this area in 2008. I saw several boutiques open and flourish around our Boston neighborhood. I love how small businesses are such a big part of the community there. When my husband and I moved to Cincinnati, I started looking for a location to open a store, wrote a business plan and modeled my store after the boutiques I loved in Boston.
What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
I read a few books about starting a retail business. I also took advantage of the free information you can find online at sites like business.ohio.gov and sba.gov. I also talked to new small business owners from different segments of the market to hear about their lessons learned.
What does a typical day in your business look like?
I spent a lot of time in the store the first couple of years we were open. Now, I’m trying to juggle being a work-from-home mom to my one year old, Noah, and running the business. I work in the store on the weekends when my husband can watch our son. On weekdays, I work when Noah is napping or after he goes to bed at night. During this time, I focus on buying, planning, finances, advertising and other administrative tasks.
What’s next for you and your company?
I’m always thinking about how I can grow the business. I spent the last few months focused on redesigning our web store, which launched last week. With our old site, we shipped locally as well as to 20 states from Hawaii to New York. The new site is more aesthetically pleasing with larger pictures, easier navigation and allows customers to shop by brand.

Right now, I'm focused on getting the word out about our new site both locally and nationally. I’m also working on adding new product offerings like shoes and jewelry that sell well both online and in-store, and I’m working through a business plan to see if it makes sense to move into a larger space in Oakley.

Interview by Robin Donovan

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