‘The accomplishments I have achieved…are the kind that I dreamed of’ - GUEST BLOG
blog by Crista Botticello • April 16, 2012 @ 7:00am
Photo above: Erie County Legislator Joseph Lorigo recognized the efforts of my small business giving back to the community in a big way. I received a proclamation for creating A Passion for Fashion and Business Scholarship for an Iroquois Central High School senior who will be majoring in fashion or business.
In our fashion obsessed world, the industry has an influence on all of us—we feel it every morning when we wake up and decide what to wear.
My personal passion for the fashion industry became my career. I knew that opening Ooo la la Boutique—a women’s clothing boutique in East Aurora that features modern trends to fit and flatter women of all ages—would be the perfect move to feed my entrepreneurial hunger.
I was 19 years old when I opened Ooo la la Boutique. This move allowed me to become one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the Buffalo area. Like all of my important life decisions, opening Ooo la la seemed to involve the act of jumping in headfirst, but I honestly believed that if I didn’t take the jump, I would never truly know what my definition of success could feel like.
Photo: Outside Ooo la la Boutique during our one-year anniversary celebration this past July.
The desire to be my own boss and create my own hours began simply with the feeling that many of us share—that we deserve to be more than just a number on a payroll, making minimum wage working for a huge corporation. Working as a sales associate and using my talents and skills to bring in money for someone else’s brand or company was not something I wanted to do anymore. I wanted to be the one deciding my own income and building my own brand based off of my own principles.
Photo: The East Aurora Bee wrote an article discussing the advice I shared at a conference for Iroquois, East Aurora and Holland school teachers and administrators about encouraging student entrepreneurs (especially at such a young age).
So now it’s two years later and I recently celebrated my twenty-first birthday. The accomplishments I have achieved in the past couple years through this business are the kind that I once dreamed of. The community support and the attention from the media that I have received has allowed Ooo la la Boutique to become an operating business with real, live customers versus just a passion.
Photo: With the Buffalo.com crew (from left: Ben Kirst, Crista Botticello, Ben Tsujimoto, S.J. Velasquez) at the Ooo la la Boutique Fall/Winter fashion show in November. The event drew an overflow crowd to the store.
I am also a full time student at Buffalo State College. I have been able to maintain a GPA that keeps me on the Dean’s List. Make no mistake, though—successfully operating the boutique and managing my undergraduate studies for my English education major is definitely difficult.
Even though I have learned to juggle several demanding tasks on one hand, my decisions may not always allow for as much of a social life as most young adults hope for. While many of my friends are enjoying the typical college experience, I am writing my term paper while also updating Ooo la la Boutique’s Facebook page and answering countless emails.
Photo: As part of the Mary Kay Global Month of Service, Ooo la la Boutique previewed some of our great spring fashion on CW23’s Winging It! Buffalo Style.
I think it is important to keep in my mind that opening a business does not automatically make a person wealthy or allow for the term “successful” to be tossed around lightly. It is both challenging and time-consuming to be a small business owner, especially in our current economy. As I like to share with my customers and the media, my world is not always filled with rainbows and butterflies—there are many challenges to face. Through this hectic lifestyle, I have built a strong relationship with the number of miles on my car, the contacts in my cell phone and the faded keys on my laptop.
While I do believe that anyone can open a business based off of a passion, it’s what one does after the initial buzz ends that truly measures someone’s success. I am excited about the next few years. I think my options are limitless. With my options being limitless, I plan to achieve my goals through academics, styling women in Ooo la la clothing and keep building my fashion empire.
I invite everyone to come visit me at Ooo la la Boutique (663 Main Street East Aurora).