GrrlPuncher’s! I recently had the pleasure of interviewing a young entrepreneur from Memphis about her thoughts on running your own business. We would like to thank Katie Gore for her time and her awesome advice! If you’ve ever had any interest in opening up your own store or you don’t know as much about entrepreneurship as you would like, check out the interview below! Be sure to check out Katie’s store, Fox + Cat Vintage, if you’re in the Memphis area!
In speaking with Ms. Gore, I learned an incredible amount on her personal views on motivation, the importance of communication in getting started, and hiring practices as well as her experiences as a young, female entrepreneur in today’s society. Katie Gore recently opened her first store in Memphis, TN called Fox + Cat Vintage that provides affordable, unique vintage clothing that is also high quality. Ms. Gore described the mission statement of her store to be based on the concept that everyone has the inmate desire to be different through fashion and style and that she strives to cater to that desire.
Ms. Gore placed a great amount of importance on motivation and how it can often times go hand in hand with communication in the workplace. Ms. Gore stated that her main motivation is the passion that she has for her career. Other sources of motivation in her store includes her duties and responsibilities like “curating the overall style of the store with hand selected pieces, ensuring that the pieces are accommodating for a wide range of people, surrounding herself with helpful, loving people in all aspects of her job”. Because I have a great interest in entrepreneurship and specific retail for my future career path, I was extremely interested to see what Ms. Gore considered beneficial in preparing for this kind of business. Her main advice was what she called “personal motivation” meaning that she placed a substantial amount of importance of taking your own advice and the advice of others with a grain of salt. “There is constructive criticism and then there’s mean hearted criticism” Ms. Gore stated, “you should take everything you can from constructive criticism, and you can sometimes learn from mean hearted criticism as well”. Ms. Gore specified that before asking the opinion of anyone else that you first need to “identify yourself first without relying on another person or without male validation”. Katie emphasized that a huge part of defining your purpose with your job comes from the individual first and foremost, but having a strong team behind you whether it’s to motivate you, inspire you, or assist you is something that young business owners should work towards. Although she never discouraged seeking out help from others, she also recognized that this could be hurtful to the personal style of your business in retail. Ms. Gore also stated that there is a connection between motivation and the significance of staying focused in whatever you do. We briefly discussed how, as a business owner and not just an employee, she never truly has a day off, but keeping that motivation to constantly better the store is what helps her to stay focused whether she is working on personal branding items, looking for new merchandise, or continuing to develop the store’s overall style through decoration.
Katie also stressed that developing a quality business model is incredibly helpful because it allows an individual with an idea to have the groundwork to build upon said idea and strengthen it. “When your business is young, you are the only person who truly knows what you are trying to say and what you would like other people to think when they see an advertisement for your business”, therefore, personal branding is beneficial to the start up entrepreneur. Ms. Gore’s main advice concerning hiring practices was the importance of trust, clear expectations, and employing all forms of communication. Ms. Gore’s importance on trust comes from the idea that without trust you cannot be successful in working with other people. Entrusting individuals to “carry out the purpose of your store, website, etc. in their work within the company” is an important risk Ms. Gore stated that she finds this trust through customer service interactions with her staff and the people shopping. “When you charge someone with representing your store in setting clear expectations with her staff, Katie states that “if they don’t know what they’re supposed to do, then they definitely cannot do it well” which makes this such a fundamental part of hiring practices and leadership. She continued to stress that giving your staff the tools and information to do something can ensure success in their work after necessary training which promotes hard work and dedication. Setting these clear expectations, however, also places a great deal of responsibly on the boss of leader because they are expected to follow through with what they say no matter the circumstance because that shows employees their dedication to their personal work and their willingness to be a team player no matter the different job title.
In talking with Ms. Gore I could really see how much she cares about being the best manager and leader she can be. I hope this helps some young girls in the decision of being their own boss!