Fashion Maven Turned Business Woman to Appear at Square One DSM
“If I could give any business owner advice it would be to start small. It doesn’t have to be perfect from the beginning, if you are passionate about it and it was meant to be, it will happen,” advises Rebekah Risbeck, Owner and Founder of Mint L.A. Boutique. Advice that perhaps belies the substantial work she has done to successfully launch a groundbreaking fashion boutique in the heart of Iowa. And advice that she will expand upon as the guest of Mike Colwell, Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives at the Greater Des Moines Partnership during the July edition of Square One DSM’s Startup Stories.
For Risbeck, the entrepreneurial passion was a secondary influence on her career path; the first was her love of fashion. As a Valley High School Junior she opted into the Central Campus fashion program. “I discovered fashion, and I have to say the rest is history,” she recalls of the almost immediate decision to pursue her dreams and seek admission at the earliest opportunity to the prestigious Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. “The week I turned 18 I bought a one-way ticket to L.A. and was on my way,” she remembers of what would become the grueling reality of supporting herself in L.A. while attending school full time, setting for her the kind of schedule that would serve her well when the entrepreneurial bug would find her.
Beginning her career in the product development side of the business, working as an intermediary between designers and factories, she eventually transitioned into buying. While on one of many business trips trying to stay ahead of the trends and reliably forecast the purchasing habits of her employer’s clientele, the seed of an entrepreneurial idea found fertile soil. “I had stopped to see some friends in Des Moines and was impressed by their wardrobes, finding them contemporary with the costal trends,” she remembered. Upon discovering that her friends were doing their shopping on-line for lack of a local retail outlet that would serve their needs, the seed took root.
Risbeck would launch a boutique targeting young professional women promising to keep their wardrobes fresh and affordable. Two metro locations and a growing national and international on-line sales component later, it seems that she’s been able to keep that promise.
The transition from fashion industry employee to self-supporting business owner was less magical and more meticulous, and Risbeck hopes to share some of the challenges as well as what she sees as the key to her success. “I’m not successful because I like to shop, in fact I don’t like to shop. I, and anyone else who follows this path, succeeded because we have the will, the passion and the drive to succeed,” she says while recounting long hours carefully crafting a business plan while seeking the advice of numerous advisors and mentors, including Colwell.
Risbeck hopes to share several messages while fielding questions from Colwell and the audience. First and foremost, follow your dream. Secondly, start small and grow and perhaps most importantly; problem solve. “I really believe that what makes a business owner successful is the ability to problem solve, every day a new problem pops up, and how you address that problem will impact your business. Sometimes you just have to go back to the drawing board and get creative,” she admonishes.
With an expansion of her successful social media marketing and franchising Mint L.A. next on her agenda, she’ll have plenty of opportunity to get creative, and in July, she’ll have an opportunity to share her thoughts.
$15 admission fee (includes lunch) or free (if you don’t want lunch).
July 15, 2015
Ruan II, 601 Locust
Conference Room 101
Contact us at info@squareoneDSM.com for more information.
Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact Square One DSM for details.
About Square One DSM
Square One DSM’s mission is to connect entrepreneurial needs with qualified community and state resources and to provide guided professional and business direction. Square One DSM helps entrepreneurs maximize their successes by helping them navigate resources, strengthen knowledge, improve skills, form strategic alliances and secure proper capitalization.