DCFunemployment: Tell the people – Who are you?
Tanya Semsar, Owner of Refine Boutique
Refine Boutique offers appointment-only shopping sessions to the women of the DMV. Born and raised right outside DC, I had a vision for a space dedicated to simple shopping, period. I’ve had seven years of retail experience, combined with a degree in Communications specializing in Public Relations, and a strong interest in the fashion industry, and thus, Refine was born.
DCF: What does being funemployed mean to you & what was your path to funemployment?
TS: Funemployed is waking up every morning and being excited to go to work (DCF: Such a great way to start the day!). Growing up I worked many different avenues of the fashion industry to gain the knowledge I have used at my own boutique. Working retail is hard but I always loved being surrounded by clothes. I eventually had the opportunity to start my own boutique so I took the bull by the its horns and today I couldn’t be any happier.
DCF: Who was your first cheerleader?
TS: I have always dreamed to about owning my own store. It was my boyfriend who pushed me to pursue my dreams. Everyone else did not believe it was a good idea (DCF: haters gonna hate) but without my boyfriend’s constant motivation and support this dream would have never become a reality.
DCF: What experiences in your life prepared you for where you are now?
TS: My retail experience was key in preparing me for my own boutique. How to handle customers to merchandising the floor was all learned from working at different stores. Real life experiences are the best tools to teach me what owning a boutique would truly be like. (DCF: Can’t beat hands on experience!!)
DCF: Where do you get your inspiration and/or motivation?
TS: My motivation comes from my love of clothes. I can flip through magazine and surf the internet for hours just looking at outfits. Like a sponge, I soak up anything fashion. This passion motivates me everyday so going to work is fun for me. I love getting in new items, having to figure out how to dress a client or what item will work best for the store. Nothing makes me happier and motivates me to make the store the best it can be.
DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find balance?
TS: Balance is achieved when I am stress-free and happy. Things do not always fall into place but if you can stay positive everything eventually works out (DCF: Amen to that girl! Sometimes you just have to trust that things will return to balance). I find balance by giving myself some “me time” and working out.
DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
TS: I had to give up my social life (and still do) to make sure my business is running smoothly. It stinks to miss out on events that my friends and/or family plans but Refine is my baby and still needs a lot of attention to make sure it is perfect.
DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
TS: Fashion is a female-dominated world. I find that the biggest struggle I have faced is when another business owner isn’t willing to help because they think its competition. We should be empowering one another to help each other be the best we can be.
DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
TS: Properly keeping track of my finances is something I wish I did right the first time (DCF: YES!!). I have definitely changed my ways after year one 🙂
DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
TS: This whole journey has been a roller coaster of trial and error. All the advice and knowledge you can gain can never prepare you for running your own business. There will always be a mistake and all you can do is learn from it, move on and not repeat history. (DCF: Say it again people, there will always be mistakes, accept it!!)
DCF: What is your proudest moment?
TS: Honestly, it is every time a client comes in with an outfit they bought from the store. They are just so happy and I couldn’t be prouder to know that I helped them!
DCF: What’s next?
TS: Currently I am working on a Fashion Show and Shopping Event. Something fun for the women in the area and a way to make our Nation’s Capitol a bit more fashionable. (See below!)