In the Author’s Note of my books in “The Boutique Series”, I point out just how Eden and her fashion shop, Josi’s Boutique, came about:
Given my love for fashion and makeup, my high-styled life lived vicariously through Billy Eikhorn of Judith Krantz’s Scruples saga, and the long, unfulfilled desire to run my own dress shop, it’s only fitting that Eden take the helm for me.
During college, on breaks when I was home and part-time when the company opened a store near my college in my senior year, I worked for a major department store as a sales associate. The experience was great, especially as a “floater” since I had the chance to work in every department and therefore no spot was a stranger to me. That includes a stint in the gift wrap area which made me nervous as hell because having your packages wrapped at that store was of high-esteem and my skills were certainly not near such a caliber. Thanks to the Lord, I had a great co-worker, that afternoon, who took away the sting with her patient training and as a result, it’s been me, as a matter of fact, wrapping all the gifts for my family over the years!
After college, I was fortunate enough to move up to management of my own department with plans to move up even further to the special events department and travel to all the stores sharing the latest fashion and merchandising trends. Unfortunately, that never came to pass since all the stores were eventually closed and torn down, and my career path took quite a turn. I still believe an opportunity to work in Special Events would have given me the additional skills needed to open my own little boutique at some point. As a department manager, I learned a lot with inventory supervision, sales planning and forecasting, personnel training, etc, and could see myself taking it all with me to my own store. (I could still do this all with a bookstore I’m realizing now, but I’m really going on a tangent right now with that!) Working in a large store, however, wasn’t my motivation; it was this cute little, local dress shop owned and run by a woman. I’d only gone in there once, but it stuck with me for years and I soon fell in love with the entire concept of staying on top of the latest fashions with and for other women and running my own business as a way to do it.
I’m sure that my grandfather was my inspiration in this regard. As a locally (and quite a few places outside of the area) sought-after upholsterer and furniture repairman, he ran his own business and trained many of his employees (and his children, including my mom) his trade. His drive and passion to use his artistic gift as the means to support his family and the blessings to even be able to do so has long stayed with me. That little dress shop was my idea of doing the same in something I loved.
Well, it didn’t really work out that way, but, I have another career – a family-run business with my husband – and the fortune to use my writing as a way to bring that old desire back and the ability to share my boutique owner and her adventures with everyone else. For that, along with Judith Krantz sharing Billy Eikhorn with me inspiring me to put Eden – a black woman at that – and her luxurious boutique to the page as well, I’m grateful. (Also, may Ms. Krantz rest in peace… I’m still saddened that we lost her this week and will long cherish the memory of reading Billy at a much too young age(!) and jumping right on out of children’s books with the rest of her stories and those of Jackie Collins.) Perhaps if my mom had known what Jackie Collins’s and Judith Krantz’s books were about long before they reached the TV and even before I’d bulldozed my way through them, I wouldn’t have had the chance – and then I probably wouldn’t have developed my own colorful language.
Click here for “The Boutique Series”.
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