• From Computer Geek to Fashionista in 2.5...or 25 (years) - but who's counting??

    124 comments / Posted by Melinda Irby

    Hi there! For those who do not know me, I am Melinda...the soul & sass behind Pretty Please on Broad Boutique. I am a native of Pittsylvania County, just across the river from where my brick & mortar store is, having grown up and settled there after graduating from James Madison University (Go Dukes!).

    I began my career as a computer geek...fo' reals! Now if you knew me back in the day, this isn't much of a stretch for you to imagine. I was very much the shy, awkward, nerdy "had the latest technology / gadget" computer geek that comes to mind when I say this. I'm still not sure how I ended up in Fashion most days, but hang in there with me...it's coming! I was (am) all about computers, new technology and particularly training others on how to use it "in every day, kitchen English terms" as I used to say. This path led me to work for a tire and auto accessory manufacturing plant, an Infant and Adult formula manufacturing plant, and eventually the technology department in a large financial institution before making my way to where I am today. You see, I LOVED my job and working in technology - I couldn't imagine anything more satisying than what I was doing for my employer. 

    Fast forward 12-15 years (sheesh....has it been THAT long!??!), and my company went through a major shift in their senior leadership. There were frequent lay-offs, lots of shifts in teams and managers, and changes in strategic direction, The company that I so loved working for had become a place of mis-trust and low moral. During this same time frame, I had moved back to my childhood home and was exposed to small, but powerful and motivating group of women who all owned their own businesses in the small town in which we lived. I had never once considered myself to be, or have the desire to become, an entrepreneur but listening to these women speak so passionately about their own businesses started a little spark in me...."What if? Could I do that?!?!" 

    Fast forward a few more years, and I found myself helping a dear friend whose shop I have frequented often as a customer. I began helping on week-ends and a few holidays, and helped her move to a new - more visible - location. I found that after having been "behind the scenes" in technology for so long, I had missed interacting with people and the public in general. Then, as it happens, as part of scouting for Shay's store, I found myself with the unique opportunity to own my OWN boutique v. working for someone else. I won't lie, that thought both excited and terrified me at the same time! After a lot of soul searching, thought, prayers, talks with my family...I was still very much terrified, but I decided to go for it and thus began Pretty Please on Broad Boutique. 

    As I said earlier, I've never considered myself to be any sort of "Fashionista" ~ far from it, in fact! I have always tended to buck any current trends and just seek out and wear the things that I like to wear, which is a mixture of things depending upon my mood, quite honestly! My closest friends are quick to point out, however, that I have ALWAYS been a shoe addict and was much more likely to be found reading Cosmo, Vogue and Marie Claire than Tiger Beat or whatever my friends were in to at the time, lol! So I suppose the roots have always been hidden in there somewhere.

    That was around 2.5 years ago and most days, I'm STILL terrified! Terrified to own my own business, to be the ONE who is responsible for all of the things, to pick the wrong thing to sell, to not pick the right things to sell, to, to, to.... BUT, I can tell you that there isn't a day that goes by that I am not thankful for my choice and the path I'm on. I have learned so much about so many different things / areas, not to mention all of the wonderful people I've met since I started this journey! It isn't always easy, but it is certainly worth it and the lessons I've learned and friendships I've forged will go with me forever. A sincere thank you to all of you who are following me in this journey, as I cannot not live my dream without your wonderful support!

    Now that you know all about me, let me know more about YOU ~ as in, what topics are you interested in, what would you like to learn / know more about? As I always say, YOU all are always the BEST indicators for me on what to carry in the store, what events to have, what to share....so keep that feedback coming!! Going forward I'll be posting helpful tips, tricks and life hacks to help you get through your week because life is hard enough sometmes; so let me know what you'd like to hear!

    Until then, Keep it Sassy!

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