Why did you start Urban Gypsy? I’ve been in the business for years and you reach a point where you build your confidence and you say, “I can do this!” You kind of want to project your sense of style and where you’ve been, and help others build their confidence and find their own style.
What do you love most about your job? There’s no greater feeling than walking down the street and seeing someone rock an outfit that you have put on them. I’m also incredibly fortunate to have each one of my girls on the staff. You can’t get anywhere in life solo. I come up with some really crazy ideas whether its windows, events, volunteering, and they just kind of go with it.
How did you decide on Grandin Village for Urban Gypsy’s location?It was just this quaint neighborhood that I wanted to be part of, and I saw the potential of growth. It’s given me a sense of community. I love the people. It’s nice to just walk down the street, know practically everyone, and know they are rooting for you.
What is your favorite quote as a business owner? “This too shall pass.” Whether it’s a trend that I cringe over or just a really bad day. My grandfather is my biggest inspiration, and maybe that’s where I get that from. He perseveres through every type of obstacle, and he has taught me strength.
What else inspires you? I’m inspired by random acts of kindness. I take them as a sign that there is still humanity out there.
What are you excited about for fall? Bright colors, sweater weather, and our redesigned website! This will be like a second store. There will be website exclusives that you can only get online, so be sure to check it out: www.urbangypsyva.com
When I first started, I was making jewelry, and I thought the space I rented in Salem would be my studio. Then I decided I really wanted a store. I love clothes and jewelry, and I love being around women who come in looking for something to make them feel pretty. [Opening a store] wasn’t my original intention, but it completely organically happened and I followed it.
What do you hope that your customers take away from their experience with you?
We do way more than sell dresses. We give women confidence and help them try on things outside of their comfort zone. I had a lady whose husband sent her with his credit card because he loved the way she looked when she went home. We are so hard on ourselves, and we need to be nice to ourselves and kind.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Iris Apfel (fair to say, she is also one of our biggest inspirations) and Magnolia Pearl
Do you have a favorite quote that guides you in your role as a business owner?
“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” Minor Myers
What is your favorite up incoming style?
I love layering up lacy summer pieces, or dressing them up with clothes for colder weather! For example, adding a cozy sweater and a funky pair of boots. I love vintage hats too!
You all took over Punch Boutique in May. At what moment did you decide that taking over the business was what you wanted to do? Whitney Greene: I have always had a passion for both the apparel industry and entrepreneurship. When the previous owner approached us about purchasing the business in late spring, we knew at that moment we didn’t want Roanoke to lose such an amazing business in the community. It was an amazing opportunity neither of us felt like we could pass up—and the support from our customers really affirmed our decision. I knew that it was something I couldn’t do without Catherine though, as we both have different backgrounds, personalities and perspectives. I think that really makes us a unique partnership.
Catherine Justice: I have been with Punch from the ground up. Our former boss taught me everything I know and I continuously want to know more! I love Punch and saw this a natural progression. There is nothing else I’d rather do, and no one else I’d rather do it with than Whitney!
What do you enjoy most about your job? WG: There are so many things! The customers that have become a part of our lives, the fact that each day is different and always requires us to think creatively and problem solve. I also enjoy being able to bring fashion and unique products to my hometown and spread my passion with everyone here. I love being a part of something bigger in the community.
CJ: The relationships. I absolutely love my customers, coworkers, and vendors. I thrive on building and keeping relationships. Finding that perfect outfit together is the heartbeat of my job. Also, the clothes…it’s pretty much every girls dream job right?!
Do you have a favorite quote that guides you in your role as a business owner? WG: “Always keep your eyes open, keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.” Grace Coddington
CJ: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Michael Jordan
You can’t be the best on the team without going to practice or failing!
Who is your biggest inspiration? WG: My family and our customers. Both are the reason were lucky enough to be in the position we are. My family constantly supports my dreams without question and our customers constantly fulfill my dreams.
CJ: My husband is my biggest inspiration. He works harder than anyone I know. No day is more important, he gives 150% every single day and it is very admirable.
What is your favorite style for Fall 2017? WG: There is a strong emphasis on sleeves for fall. Dramatic shapes and fresh details make arms key focal points. It’s classically romantic and feminine. I think the diversity in style, silhouette, and substance is what makes fashion great.
CJ: It’s all about velvet! All ages, all styles…you have to have something velvet or with velvet on it!
How do you hope your customer’s experience in Punch Boutique impacts their daily life? WG: We constantly strive to provide each customer with a personal experience. We are so lucky that many of our customers have become our friends, with whom we share our highs and lows. We wouldn’t have it any other way. We want customers to feel like even though we are a ‘dress shop,’ we truly want to be involved in the process of dressing them for all the occasions in their lives. We want to be a part of helping them feel and look their best for all their needs. We also know that our customers work hard in their daily lives, so we like to ask ourselves how we can make life easier for our customers: by being a one stop shop for clothing, shoes, and accessories. Our customers (hopefully) leave with a friend in our employees (& us), a personalized experience, and a phenomenal outfit.
CJ: I want women to feel confident in their Punch attire. It isn’t shallow or superficial to feel good on the outside because that is the first step to feeling good on the inside. “Retail therapy” is a real thing and I see it happen on a daily basis.