Bungalow 26 is a lifestyle store with an emphasis on local goods, eclectic home decor, body products and fragrance. I make several bath and body lines in the store, as well as soy candles. My joke is that I'm the owner/CEO/cashier/janitor. August will be the 11-year anniversary. We opened in 2006.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I love retail, I love shopping, I love this city and I believe that little shops and restaurants really play an important role in a city’s identity. I wanted to be part of that and offer things that you don’t easily find here. I import lines from France, I find small batch products from all around the U.S. as well as fair-trade products.
Do you have a mentor or someone who influenced your life professionally?
My husband - he’s not really a mentor, but I really could not have done this without his support. It’s hard to be married to an entrepreneur!
What’s your most significant professional accomplishment so far?
I’m proud I’ve been open this long! I take a lot of pride in the fact that I see the same people week after week, and year after year.
What’s your favorite aspect of Wichita’s business community?
Wichita is a metropolitan city in some aspects, but it’s also got the soul of a small town. Everyone knows everyone and other business owners are typically quick to be supportive of your business and want to send people to you. It’s a real “We are all in this together” mentality, that’s pretty cool and I don’t think you see that in larger markets.
What are your professional aspirations for the near future?
I would like to open another shop, different concept, same feel.
What advice do you have for aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Advice for women entrepreneurs...That’s a big one! It’s still different for women unfortunately, the way you are perceived, the way you are spoken to--Be an expert, the more you know about your chosen field, the more respect you are given. Speak your mind, be in control, hold people accountable. I think generally female entrepreneurs feel so much pressure because they’re taking care of households and children, in addition to trying to make their dream career trying to happen--my advice to someone in that situation is to go easy on yourself!