Woman Wednesday: Valerie

Q and A with Valerie from Cherry Hill, New Jersey

“I have learned that the ability to pivot in business is the way to survive.”

Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am passionate about quality of life, finding balance, and working hard to enjoy the things you want! I have never really wanted to do anything else but fashion since I can remember; even as a little girl, I played “boutique“ by setting up “stores“ in my room. My twin bed was the counter, dolls or my mom or little brother were the customers, and I would take my mother’s shoes, clothes, jewelry and set up displays. I played like this for hours! Even if I was at my grandmother’s house. All I ever wanted was my own boutique. After a career in accessory design, import, and wholesale, I decided to move to retail and open my own store. I felt there was a missing component in my area…there were a lot of shopping centers and malls but no true specialty boutiques with personal service and simple things like actually being waited on and someone making suggestions to help you find the perfect outfit that makes you feel amazing. Everything had turned chain store OR to get great customer service the store was very expensive. I set out to have what I considered affordable pricing (mainly under $100) and great personal service that you would expect in a much more expensive store.

At present, I am working on moving my store into (gulp) a shopping center!

I never thought or felt my store was that “type.“ We are stand-alone, a bit private, sort of pride ourselves on “if you know, you know“ specialty boutique that is not cookie cutter. However, surviving Covid-19 in business has led me to realize some things, and learning to pivot is one of them. Right now, the location and ease are huge. I was offered a really great situation to grow and I took it! (Hence looking for a rebranding on the woman’s site.)

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I went to art school albeit I wanted to go to fashion merchandising school. My parents thought that was impractical. My dad later retracted that when he saw my growth for my business.

My mother and both grandmothers were all really beautiful and very trendsetting. Their style impacted me a lot, and I played dress-up and store in all of their closets while other kids played soccer. I used to “style“ my friends or anyone who would let me! [She laughs.]

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I have learned that the ability to pivot in business is the way to survive. And working hard to enjoy things that are important to you is priceless. Covid made me realize how little control we have. I no longer really say, “I can’t do XYZ because of the business this or that.“ During those first years of building the business, I worked 24/7 and never stopped. I missed out on a lot. I don’t do that anymore.

Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism means to me that I am in control of my decisions emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially, no matter what.

MORE ABOUT VALERIE: I am a proud mom of four and love the beach! I am from Cherry Hill, NJ, where I reside currently. I was born in Philly, and I lived previously in Los Angeles, CA, and Scottsdale, AZ.

Shop Haute Bungalow is my store!

13 East Main St, Marlton, NJ

Yes, we do have an online store as well!!

Online Shop: www.shophautebungalow.com


Thank you for reading!

Woman Wednesday: Courtney R.

Q and A with Courtney R., Vancouver, Washington

“We all need a great circle of empowering strong women to push us on all the hard days but also celebrate our wins.”

Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I’m a mom of three; two boys ages 13 and 11, and a girl age 6. My kids are my whole world. I own a women’s clothing store in Vancouver, Washington, and we specialize in size inclusivity and ethnic fashion. All things girlie is who I am; I love personal shopping and styling my clients and myself (give me all the fun hot tools to play with my hair all day and bright lipstick because it’s a staple) because showing up feeling my best is important. It also empowers other women to do the same.

Personal styling and shopping is what I do because fashion is for everyone and we always feel better when we like our outfit. The store was a dream I had with my best friend from middle school; that’s what bonded us. (Funny story) she didn’t like me but loved my outfit and her mom made her hang out with me [she laughs], we’ve now been best friends for over 17 years! I’m also the girl who loves to get dirty and camp (any outdoor activity hiking and swimming the river is what I do all summer here in the PNW, where I was born and raised). Count me in on long weekends with my girlfriends because we are the tribe we keep! We all need a great circle of empowering strong women to push us on all the hard days but also celebrate our wins. I love to travel. Hawaii is my favorite but Japan, Africa, New York, and Italy are on my long bucket list. I’m also a adrenaline junkie, so skydiving, roller coasters, all those things…count me in. My goal is to have my store in multiple locations where I can shop a little differently for each location. (Depending where its at…weather and all that).

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I have one older brother. My parents are divorced, so childhood was different in each house. At my mom’s, I was an only child. At my dad’s, we had a blended family and I had a step brother and 2 step sisters. I was the oldest. I graduated from high school in 2007 and became a mom shortly after. I stayed home with my kids until I opened my boutique. Coming from a divorced home had its challenges, but it made me the strong, independent mother and friend I am today.

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Being a business owner isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you always go back to your core values and stay humble, you can get through any hard day and you always appreciate the wins. (That’s what I’ve learned.) Believe came about because we wanted to inspire women to follow their dreams (that’s what we did), and when you put your whole heart into something, anything is possible.

Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism, to me, is rejecting stereotypes and expectations put in place centuries ago to keep women in their “place.” And replacing those expectations with love, acceptance, support, and encouragement. There are millions of women in the world and there are millions of ways to embody womanhood. Feminism is cheering for every woman in whatever way she chooses to be a woman.

Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you! 🙂

Click here to shop and connect!

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂