There’s nothing Booked Parties loves more than supporting the creative, energetic spirit of entrepreneurs. Recently, we are finding inspiration by setting our sights a bit lower…literally. A new crop of entrepreneurs are on the rise, but you won’t find them running their businesses between the hours of 9am to 3pm when school is in session. Gone are the days of paper boys and lemonade stands. Today’s young business owners are savvy beyond belief, successfully identifying niche business models and leveraging the power of social media in a manner that’s so natural to them, it’s staggering to us grown-ups. The children are clearly ready to lead the future.
What’s better than a shopping experience that caters to both mothers and daughters? To Penny Goffman and her ten year-old daughter, Jolie Vazquez, the answer is obvious. That’s why they founded Jolie Gotique, a mobile boutique that can pop up at any location for a unique and personal shopping experience. This mother/daughter duo curates a unique collection of local, emerging and foreign designers, empowering their clientele of all ages to effortlessly achieve their style goals. For the past 3.5 years, Jolie plays an active role in the business, both as the face of the children’s collection and in the selection of merchandise. Using an inherent sense of style and the industry tips she has gleamed from her fashion-forward mentor and mother, this “mini mover” is setting trends.
We sat down with this young entrepreneur to learn more.
How do you help select pieces in the Jolie Gotique collection?
My mom actually goes to New York City to pick out all of the styles, but I help inspire her choices. My style has changed a lot since we launched Jolie Gotique. Back then, I wore more pink and purple and dresses, but now I’m a true athlete with athletic style. I’ve convinced my mom to include more athletic looks in our tweens section because it’s important to have variety for all the girls who shop. When my favorite items arrive, I like to try them on and give my approval. My favorite job is to give my mom opinions on the cozy, fuzzy pants and shorts. I help her pick those pieces online!
What role do you play at Jolie Gotique?I have a lot of jobs at Jolie Gotique and I really enjoy all of them, but my absolute favorite is modeling. Since the beginning, I have been the face of the children’s line. At first, I didn’t even realize I was modeling, but now the photo shoots are very professional and there is hair/makeup and a photographer. I love going to different locations for the shoots and meeting new people. Sometimes, there is another child in the shoot and we can hang out and have fun in front of the camera. I also really enjoy being in fashion shows. I just walked in a fashion show for Jolie Gotique that benefitted a charity. At weekend events, I also like to work on the fashion truck with my mom and help people find the sizes they need and put outfits together.
What are your favorite looks?I like clothing that is comfortable and on-trend, but with a sporty feel. Currently, some of my favorite Jolie Gotique styles are black shorts with lace up sides and a sleeveless grey paint splatter top in sweatshirt material.
Describe the scene at a Jolie Gotique birthday party.
People are really HAPPY!! When the girls come onto the fashion truck they are wowed – it’s a boutique on a truck that looks so cool. The moms are also pretty excited. There’s also great music and sometimes a fun slideshow on the TV. People have tons fun!
How do you promote your business?
The number one way is through Instagram. I am not on Instagram, but my mom posts a lot of our pictures and it’s exciting to see what people write about the fashions. People can also buy the styles right on Instagram, which is great. The other way we promote is through word-of-mouth. I tell my friends about our business all the time. Some of my friends really love fashion and like to hear about the new styles coming in or the latest photo shoot. They love to come over to shop and sometimes their moms bring them to the fashion truck.
What advice can you give other kids looking to become “mini movers & shakers”?
My mom told me that you should always try because the worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work out for you and that’s not so bad! It’s also important to have patience – just keep going and keep doing it.
How do you balance running a business with all of the other activities involved in just being a kid?My mom helps me manage the schedule. I have a lot of after school activities and sports, so I don’t do much with the boutique during the weekdays. The weekends are when I help out with photo shoots, events or having friends over the shop.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
An interior designer because I like design and moving elements around and redoing rooms. My mom said I could redo my room next year before middle school. I’ve already been sketching designs and cannot wait to change things up!
Photographs provided by Penny from Jolie Gotique
Shauna Levy is a writer, communications professional and a stay-at-home mom. Her interests include flaunting her discount shopping finds, cooking food her children reject and restoring her 125-year old home. She is currently raising three boys, ages 9, 6 and 5 alongside her husband in Chappaqua, NY.