By Maggie Glynn
DECARTE INTERIORS STRIVES TO SUPPORT BUSINESSWOMEN IN EVERY WAY. IN THIS WEEKLY SERIES, CHICAGO WOMEN SHARE THE SUCCESS THEY HAVE FOUND IN THEIR PROFESSIONAL LIVES.
Kristi Gorski is a 28-year-old small business owner residing in Lincoln Park, Illinois. She and her husband, Lee, love the city life and spend a lot of their time on the lake path near the water. Kristi also blogs about small business tips and coach women who are interested in starting their own business at KristiMeansBusiness.com. DecArte Interiors recently caught up with Kristi to gain some more insight into her business life. Follow her on Instagram, @windycitykristi.
Q: What exactly is your business, and what is your role in the company?
A: I own a few businesses - I started my own women's clothing boutique called 522envy.com & I sell exclusively online. I also recently co-founded a pop-up event called Shop Buzzed where we curate local brands together for a night of shopping & drinking at local bars in Chicago! On top of that, I am also a licensed real estate broker in Illinois & I get to work with my mom on her real estate team!
Q: How did you get your business off the ground?
A: I attribute a lot of the successes my businesses have found to the mentorship I've been provided. When it came to my clothing business, I started under the wings of a previous employer who guided me through the processes of building a store. My real estate career is still young but I've experienced the same type of mentorship working with my mom. Getting a business off the ground is not easy, so finding an experienced mentor has been my game-changer.
Q: What obstacles have you faced along the way and how did you overcome them?
A: Early on, I hit a wall when realizing that my business was running me, not the other way around. It was difficult to spend so much time & sweat into something that wasn't ultimately able to give me the life I wanted. I've made changes over time in my business that have allowed me to have a more fulfilling life - one of those being making my clothing company exclusively online. This change allowed me to get my real estate license, start my blog KristiMeansBusiness.com and grow in other ways.
Q: If you could give advice to young business women just getting started? What should they expect?
A: Don't fit in. Be different. Do the things that others don't do or just talk about doing. Be interesting & well rounded. That will be the secret sauce to success.
Q: How have you balanced your work and personal life? Is it important for you to keep them separate, or are you comfortable letting them intertwine sometimes?
A: There's no such thing as separating work & personal life. The simple reason is because set work hours don't exist. But the real answer is that being a business owner is not just my job, it's part of my identity. It's impossible to separate it from my personal life because it's part of who I am, and it gets carried into everything I do.
Q: Do you think the space you work in has an effect on how productive you are? Where do you do most of your work?
A: I often work from my couch or home office -- I love working from home because I can start in my pajamas at 7:30 a.m., take a break to go for a jog at noon, do some more work, and maybe run errands after. I'm a more productive human when I don't have to waste my life commuting!
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*Editor's note: Answers have been slightly edited for length and clarity.