Your Name: Elizabeth Jeffer-Anerousis
Business Name: Roztayger, an online collection of accessories for men and women
Type of Business: Clothing & Accessories
Business Location: Chappaqua, New York, United States
Reason for starting
Since graduating in Art History from UCB, I wanted to open a specialty boutique (much to the chagrin of my practical parents). I decided to get my feet wet at local SF specialty boutiques. For many years I worked in sales, eventually doing managerial work and assisting in buying. I almost took the plunge and opened a shop in the late 80’s but got nervous and took the lower risk route of representing designers to small boutiques. I moved to NY in my early 30’s for a sales position in an Accessories Showroom for emerging designers. Finally, in my 40′s, after getting married and having two kids, I found myself more and more uninspired. Being older, I realized that the fear of failing didn’t seem as daunting as having never tried. The business is not a hobby and certainly not an easy way to make money. But the business is growing and heading in the right direction so I am cautiously optimistic.
How do you define success?
At this point I would say success is seeing the business grow (even if its slower than I would like – I’m naturally impatient), making a living out of it at some point in the near future, seeing this dream realized and maintaining my sanity.
I think so far I have managed to make some really nice connections with a core group of fantastic customers out there and I just LOVE that. When you follow up after an order with a personal note and you get to find out a bit about the customer, how they found you, what their demographic is, what they need as far as other future products, etc. – I love that. Sadly I really always saw myself in a brick and mortar store helping people in person. With the way of the world today internet made more sense so I have to work harder to connect personally, but in all honestly that is what I love the most (other than the buying and visual elements) – I love meeting people from all over and connecting them with great product. I enjoy forming those relationships. It makes my day – sounds terribly corny but I could not be more sincere about this sentiment. It’s really what propels me forward.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
I have had to learn very quickly how different online sales are compared to in-person sales. This has been a giant learning experience as I had only a rudimentary understanding of the mechanics of how an online store works. I am still learning and if looked at properly with a positive outlook – that’s a great thing. For so long I was doing a job I could do in my sleep. I have addressed these challenges by trying to educate myself as much as possible. I have made mistakes and have learned to a certain degree where to spend money and where not to. Marketing for a niche business is challenging to be sure. The traditional models don’t necessarily work so I have spent money and then had to sit back and say, “oh well, that was an expensive learning experience”. For example, traditional print or online ads don’t seem to work as well as visual/product related coverage on blogs.
Who is your most important role model?
I would say my Father is. He is a successful lawyer and businessman and although I do not have the same exact business acumen he has, I have learned quite a bit from being in his presence over the years. I was brought up to always be professional, organized, responsible, do what you say you will do, take care of the client and follow through quickly on the business at hand. I see how hard he has worked for so many years, how he has grown his business and earned so much respect in his industry.