Lori Harris, Mary Jane’s Shoes
Name:Â Lori Harris
Hometown: St Louis, MO
Education:Â BS in Finance & Marketing â€“ Lehigh University 1991.Â BA in Culinary Arts â€“ California Culinary Academy 1996.Â Semester in Spain â€“ Syracuse University 1990.
Professional Background (brief, please):Â 15 years of business management consulting in telecommunications, restaurants, insurance, consumer goods, and software.Â 4 years of owning/operating retail stores.
What you wanted to be when you grew up:Â dancer or singer â€“ I wasnâ€™t good at either
What you are:Â Retail owner â€“ Mary Janeâ€™s and Chesterâ€™s Blacksmith Shop
Brief Summary of your Start Up:
Mary Janeâ€™s is a contemporary womenâ€™s boutique focusing on affordable clothing, shoes and accessories for every woman.Â Chesterâ€™s is a skate, surf & snow fashion lifestyle store for girls and guys.Â The two stores provide shopping for the whole family.
What inspired you?
I started Mary Janeâ€™s because a friend said â€œthis town doesnâ€™t need a wine bar â€“ it needs a shoe storeâ€.Â That begat Mary Janeâ€™s and the rest is historyâ€¦
How long have you been in business?
Mary Janeâ€™s just celebrated 4 years.Â Chesterâ€™s is almost at 2 years.
How did you fund it?Â Self debt (credit cards and loans).
Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or Mentor)?
I have had many over the years and I have been one for several women entering the retail business.
Do you belong to any Business Organization or Networking Groups?
Yes I am the president of the Park City Womenâ€™s Business Network.Â I am also on the Board of Directors for the Park City Chamber of Commerce and for the Historic Main Street Business Alliance.Â I have also participated in an incubator for Ladies Who Launch and am an ongoing member.
Current Business Challenge?
Expanding to store #2 for Mary Janeâ€™s and determining do I franchise or bootstrap the growth.
What are you doing about it?
Funding store #2 â€“ location TBD.Â Searching right now for the right location.Â Working with several franchise â€œexpertsâ€ to determine if that is the right way to go.
Favorite motivational quote:
I believe that if you are walking the right path it really does come to you and it doesnâ€™t feel hard (even though it might be hard it doesnâ€™t feel hard, it just feels right).
2 Brothers in MO and MI.Â Lots of friends that I consider my family.Â And Clyde, The Pug, age 10.
If so, how do you balance family and business?
I always try to make time for my friends and for being social.Â I also try to do at least one thing nice for myself each week.
Wuthering Heights â€“ I am a sucker for romance especially if it is doomed.
What do you do to relax?
Massages, dinner with friends, and singing out loud badly in the car.
What do you want to change most about your world?
Take my business to the next level and have a Love life!
What are you most proud of?
Continuing to grow sales in both of my stores over the last few years.
What advice would you like to offer other Startup Princesses?
BE persistent, be diligent, and if it seems right it is right.
Favorite Magic Wand (tool/resource)?
Karma and other women!
If you could design a tiara, what precious stones would you use?
Diamonds are a girls best friend.
Would you be interested in being a Fairy Godmother to another woman entrepreneur?
What business subjects would you feel comfortable mentoring in?
Starting a business, retail, merchandising, idea generation
Would you be interested in going to lunch with other women entrepreneurs for a â€œnetworking tea partyâ€?
Yes definitely â€“ who doesnâ€™t love tea, coffee or wine when the time is right.
Would you be willing to be a facilitator of such an event?
I already am a princess I might as well act like one.