Business Series Part I: My History into an Entrepreneur

Photo By: Vantage Media

So most of you probably know that I am currently back in school getting my MBA with a focus in entrepreneurial studies! Lots of hard work, huge challenge, and totally exciting. One of my assignments is to start a blog and write one post weekly about my business. Well…. “Start a blog.”….CHECK! Now here is my first Business Project Post. I will start the series with the story on how I started my journey as an entrepreneur. Personal and Business.

My Resume Summary

Merle Norman Makeup Artist through High School, Bachelors in Business – University of Memphis (2004-2007), Bartender and makeup artist through college, Worked at Macy’s as a fragrance rep and then as the Christian Dior counter manager (2007), worked at International Paper for 5 years as a Marketing Research intern, then Customer Service Rep, then Account Manager Sales Rep (lots of flying) (2007-2012), started my cosmetic line, Adel Amor Cosmetics, at the same time that I worked at International Paper (2007 – present). And now we have come to 2012, the year that I took the biggest risk I have ever taken in my life to date.
 Photo By: Vantage Media

How It All Began

The true, nitty gritty story…. It all began when I started dating a boy. I was at a time in my life when I was making huge changes left and right. I had just ended a 3 year relationship and moved into my own apartment as a newly single woman on the island. I was really teeter tottering around…trying to find my balance and making drastic decisions left and right, searching for some sort of independent stability in my life. A true Gemini in distress…I know. 
Photo By: Sophorn Kuoy
As any single lady trying to be independent does…. I cling to a boy. WHOMP, WHOMP! Hey…in my defense, I was very young. This boy convinces me to quite my job at a Fortune 100 company, where I am quickly climbing the corporate ladder, because of the travel. Selfish reasons…but honestly the best decision to “follow” I have ever made. Following for me is very rare and usually results in regret…but this time resulted in the fast track to what I believe is my destiny!


The Opening of The Ivory Closet

Now I am not the type to go 100% dependent on anyone so leaving my job without any source of income…NOT AN OPTION. I decided that I would open a shop on the island to keep busy while I tended to working on my “prim and proper” skills. Cleaning, cooking (unsuccessfully), and trying my best to make a boy smile.

  Photo By: Sophorn Kuoy

But as with anything, my mind was a canvas with paint, all colors of the rainbow, flying at it 100 miles an hour. So many ideas, so much FREEDOM…so much money that I now need to make. haha

Photo By: Sophorn Kuoy 

So with my 26 year old life savings, $10,000, I opened The Ivory Closet Boutique. My family and friends got in there and helped me to turn the once Tan N Go Salon, into my little dream boutique.

I had my grand opening November 15, 2012. My store had only $5000 in inventory with 2 floor racks, an accessory table, and two wall racks. 

To put it in perspective, today I have 6 racks, 3 wall racks, 4 sheving units, 3 tables, and one gondola full of merchandise. That is 5 times the amount of inventory that I started with. Many people ask how were you able to become successful with only $5,000 of inventory. My answer…LOCATION. I was the only shop on the island and at that time, there were more females than males on the island. I was able to reinvest my money back into inventory to grow into over 4 times the amount of inventory by 6 months. 

Photo By: AM Photography
My grand opening party was a HUGE success. So many people came out to see the shop. Such a huge outpouring of support. I was and still am just so thankful for all of those who believed in my little boutique.

 Photo By: AM Photography
Once the party was over and I sat down to soak in all of the people that had just come out to support me, I realized that this was going to be big. My dream grew exponentially overnight. This was no longer just a little something to do, I want to take this idea to the extreme. I want to go nationally using the web as a platform and the WOM and popularity of the shop as a vessel to franchise. 
Photo By: AM Photography
I began planning what The Ivory Closet will look like in 5 years with a business canvas plan and spent a lot of time working on a website, hiring a strong stylist team, and creating vendor partnerships. My corporate sales experience gave me a leg up in creating sales goals and a service platform for my shop.


I still have The Ivory Closet . I started a fashion line of reversible camis, a line of body and skincare products and still have the cosmetic line, Adel Amor Cosmetics.We have moved The Ivory Closet to a higher foot traffic area that is still close to my current clientele so business will not be lost! In the mix of everything I have managed to complete my masters from The University of Memphis! 

Five years later, I married and divorced, have two beautiful baby boys, and am going strong as a single momma and entrepreneur. I work extremely hard, but also have the freedom to take last minute vacations….. HOLD UP….I did not married “the boy” I ended up marrying a fellow entrepreneur and while things did not work out, we are still friends. 
Lesson 1:
The boy was merely a messenger that pushed a teetering entrepreneur off the edge where she did not land on the ground but instead exploded in mid-air into a free bird that was ready to fly the distance to success. (wow….does that make sense? If it does, then I think I just had a moment) What I was trying to get at is: People come into your life for a reason, Take the time to build relationships and network!
Lesson 2:
Explode into mid-air so that you may fly the distance to success.

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  • Reply
    brandi hale
    September 18, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    I was wondering how you got to this point! So proud to watch your success!

  • Reply
    Alexandra Nicole
    September 19, 2015 at 12:59 am

    Thank you so much girl!!! 🙂

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