Hey there!  Did you miss me?  Well, I missed you.  I was away from blogging for a bit due to being so darn busy career consulting to individuals and organizations and providing career mentorship experiences through VocationVacations.  I’m not complaining, however.  I truly love what I do.  And who wouldn’t?  I get to work with experts who love what they do and are willing to share their expertise and time with my Brian Kurth + Company and VocationVacation clients.  It just doesn’t get any better than that.

With that being said, I am thrilled to announce…our new….drumroll, please….FASHION Retailer/Boutique Owner career mentors, Tom and Karen Rochelle of ROCHELLE’s in St. Augustine, Florida!  We are honored to have Tom and Karen on board the VocationVacations team of experts.  Here’s a bit more about them….

Karen describes herself when she was growing up as an “experimental dresser”. “I was trendsetting in my choice of clothes and sewed my own clothing.” However, she never considered her eye for fashion would go any further then her own closet.

But that changed after she and her husband Tom decided they wanted to own a business together. Karen’s fashion sense and Tom’s strong sense of style would ultimately serve them well when they landed on the idea of opening a women’s retail clothing store. “We both had earned degrees in business, and between the two of us we had little or no experience in this field,” laughs Karen. But that didn’t stop them.

Karen and Tom figured they would get “chewed up” in the big city, so they chose a smaller community, St. Augustine, to open their boutique. They had a little money, were able to get a bank loan and opened Rochelle’s in a strip mall in 1984. Their goal was to offer a wide mix of youthful, moderately-priced, high-quality stylish clothing that would appeal to all ages. “The first seven years were challenging, but we were committed to do whatever it took,” explains Karen. “We loved the creativity of owning our own business.”

Locals and visitors to this small tourist town began to take notice of the unique mix of clothes and accessories sold at Rochelle’s. “We learned about customer buying patterns, the psychology of working with customers and what sells,” Karen says. Customers from New York and Los Angeles became regulars when visiting St. Augustine and enjoyed selecting items from lines like Ella Moss, Susana Monaco, 7 For All Mankind, Tarina Tarantino and many more.

Karen knew they were on the right tract when a $5,000 sale to an out of town customer became a regular occurrence. In 1999, Karen and Tom moved Rochelle’s to an old warehouse which had been home to a sign studio since 1950. They renovated the building but maintained its character and charm, keeping some of the neon and painted signage as décor and for displays.

With the help of one permanent, full-time staff, Tom and Karen have successfully grown their business and gained recognition for the boutique’s unique style and product offerings that make it special. Rochelle’s has been featured in a segment of the TLC television program, “Making Over America with Trinny and Susannah”, and has a long history of being named by the local newspaper as the number one boutique in St. Augustine.

Karen loves her job, but, of course, there are always challenges. “You really have to stay on top of things. The new era of the Internet and the advent of social networking offer new opportunities and challenges and you have to understand how to work with them,” cautions Karen. There are many pieces to the puzzle of owning and operating a profitable boutique. Karen and Tom have successfully learned how to fit all those pieces together and can help you decide if the world of fashion retail is also the right fit for you.

While on your Fashion Retailer/Boutique Owner VocationVacation career mentorship with Karen and Tom Rochelle at Rochelle’s, activities will include some or all of the following:

  • Assist in selecting merchandise (color, size run, ship date) from samples during a buying session with a sales representative in store
  • Coordinate and participate in informal modeling event at local restaurant
  • Develop marketing emails and send to customers
  • Write up sales, collect payment, and package purchases for customers
  • Write radio advertisement
  • Design and arrange accessory displays
  • Call customers on special orders received or on merchandise they have expressed an interest in
  • Review clothing/accessory line sheets/catalogs and write and place order
  • Engage customers and provide assistance with their clothing and accessory purchases
  • Rearrange clothing on racks by line, color or style so that they are visually appealing
  • Receive inventory and hang, price and merchandise in store

Ready for your career mentorship?  Or know of someone who could use some mentorship under the tutelage of Karen and Tom, please send them along to the following link to submit for their very own VocationVacation career mentorship:

http://www.vocationvacations.com/DreamJobHolidays/rochelles.php

If being a Fashion Retailer/Boutique Owner isn’t your thing, what’s YOUR dream job?  See our currently available list of VocationVacations.  Do we offer your dream job as a mentorship?  If so, great!  We look forward to your patronage.  If not, please tell me what your dream job is as we’re always bringing on more amazing mentors across 180 career types — and growing.  Hopefully with one for you soon!

Best,
Brian

President of Brian Kurth + Company Career Consulting and VocationVacations

Author of Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love — Hachette, 2008

Speaker represented by George Greenfield at CreativeWell.

Advertisements