Name: Eileen Potrock
Business: E Designer Resale
Location: Cliffside Park, New Jersey, U.S.
Industry: Apparel & Accessories
Reason for starting? I have always loved fashion and after many years in the entertainment industry and then starting my own styling business, the opportunity came up to buy an established store in nearby New Jersey. I decided that the time was prime to follow my passion. I wanted to create an atmosphere where women (and their significant others) could come in and feel like they are in a salon, where there is no pressure, but instead a warm, welcoming situation, so that they feel comfortable. The most important thing that we represent is honesty with our clients. We will not sell them something that doesn’t flatter them.
How do you define success? Success is not just about money. For me it is about people trusting you and about being able to hold your head up, knowing that you’ve done the very best you can do. For me, opening my own business and being my own boss was my version of success. People looking up to me, trusting my advice and thanking me for my help is also a huge success in my book!
Biggest success: There have been so many. In this business having someone tell me that my help changed her life was really a keystone to realizing that I was more than just good at this. Working with women who are going through changes in their lives and making them look at themselves in a new way is always empowering for them and for me. I’m in business to make a profit, but not at the expense of others.
I really want my customers to come to me because they know that they will have the personal service and attention that they deserve. I know that these days people want to buy things online or get them quickly, but I want to spend time with my customers, get to know them and really be able to understand their life, their lifestyle and their needs. If that is what I get from this job and I can make a difference in people’s lives, then that’s a goal I want to attain. It wouldn’t hurt to make a bit of money as well.
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Taking over an existing business that had a base that was mostly Korean, where I am not, was a challenge. At first I lost quite a few of the customers, but was able to expand the business and attract a new audience and new customers who more than made up for the initial loss. And the best part of it, is that many of the old customers have started coming back – and trusting us.
I aged out of my previous industry and knew that unless I came up with a business of my own, I would not be able to continue to live the type of creative and independent life that I love. By buying my own business – even one that is not hugely profitable, I gave myself the present of being able to steer my own future.
Who is your most important role model? My Mom. She came over to this country not knowing the language and not having any career. She learned English and got a job in fashion as a showroom model at Hattie Carnegie (a couture house on Park Avenue). She started helping the designers and eventually became a designer for the house before she met and married my Dad. Even after she left work and was a Mom bringing up her children, she continued to learn and eventually became an investor (always telling us that it was important for a young woman to be independent). She always told us that money comes and goes but that you should always follow your passion and live your life to the fullest.
Edited by The Story Exchange