Local entrepreneur Tina Cole is back at it with a new storefront on Jefferson Street.
Cole opened The Studio at 314 Jefferson St. on Nov. 19 and will sell jewelry for the company, Paparazzi, along with various handbags, all year. During the fall and winter, she plans to offer colorful leggings while, in the spring and summer, the story will be full of basic cotton dresses.
Cole started The Bag Lady Exchange, a secondhand women's clothing and accessory store, in 2009. She, along with business partner Erin Gieck, then opened Switchin' Britches, a children's clothing exchange store, in 2012. The next year, they merged the two businesses together to create The Xchange Boutique.
After selling The Xchange Boutique earlier this spring, Cole sold Paparazzi jewelry from home, primarily using her Tina Marie Cole, LIVE Facebook page and tinamariecole.com. With a growing family, though, she once again needed space to sell products — and The Studio was born.
"I didn't want to completely give up my business, and I needed the space to do it the way I love doing it, so this was the solution," she said.
Cole will still use Facebook and her website as her primary business drives, but people will be able to pick up their purchases at The Studio during business hours.
The Studio will not have set business hours, so customers should check Cole's Facebook page for the hours.
After working long hours at The Xchange Boutique, Cole said she is excited to have flexible hours.
"That's my favorite part, the freedom," she said. "The freedom to have a choice of when to work and when not to work, how much to work, when to cut back, when to really ramp it up and how to do things if something's not working. Having that free spirit and working for yourself allows you to just kind of go with the flow."
The lack of regular hours may also be a challenge since some customers may not like the limited store location availability, Cole said.
"Not everyone is going to understand my new way of doing things because they were used to me being available every day, all day. It's not like that anymore," she said. "I do my baby's hair in the morning, and I clean my own house, and I like to pick (my foster daughter) up from school; so those things are the most important thing for me, and this (business) has to fit in there."
Cole also wants to use The Studio to encourage collaboration. She is sharing the 600-square-foot business space with Angela Buckhall, who will have an office for her business, Beni Births, in the back.
Entrepreneurs and local artists can also reserve dates from Cole and host a pop-up shop at The Studio for a day. It costs $25 to reserve the store for four hours, she said.
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