Congratulations to Latoya Johnson-Rainey, a Carlow MBA student, on her entrepreneurial endeavor. Her business is a new wig boutique named “A Hair Boutique“, located in Shadyside, Pittsburgh, whose grand opening events will be held on week October 21-26. She shares her experience of utilizing the knowledge and techniques that she learned in the MBA Program at Carlow University, towards helping her in her launch.
“My name is LaToya Johnson-Rainey and I will graduate from the MBA program at Carlow University in December of 2013. I announced the soft launch of my own business, A Hair Boutique, Pittsburgh’s premium experience wig shop on Thursday September 19, 2013. I would like to share my experiences from Carlow with hopes of inspiring other students who want to open their own business.
When starting my graduate studies I worked as a business administrator for my family owned businesses and I would apply the concepts from my coursework to that business. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur but I wasn’t sure what type of business I wanted to own. I stayed focus and started to get in tune with my innate gifts and applied them to the coursework. My Carlow experience has taught me to be more organized, diligent in my research, never to give up, and to let my work speak for itself. Specifically through team projects and the objectives I really grasped the importance of team dynamics, innovation, and planning.
Using the knowledge I gained as a MBA student I was able to successfully start a business using the blue ocean strategy which creates a totally new market. Business owners are problem solvers as we see a need for “something” and we strive to fulfill that niche. In my market I do not have direct competition because A Hair Boutique combines the personalized service of a high end boutique with quality products to create an ultimate experience for a vulnerable demographic.
In the initiation phase of creating A Hair Boutique I first created a mission and a business plan. I was in a marketing course at the time so I used that opportunity to work on my dream and receive constructive feedback through the coursework. Next I aligned that mission with everything that related to the business; finding distributors, location, supporters, marketing materials, and everything else that required a decision.
In addition to the coursework, Carlow provided many networking opportunities that helped fulfill this dream. I took advantage of these opportunities by attending Executive in Suite meetings, the View from the C-Suite: Insights from Women Who Cracked the Glass Ceiling event, and the SEO training via Luna Metrics. After attending the events I would write reflections for the MBA blog to share the experiences.
The SEO training via Luna Metrics taught me how to create organic SEO. I worked hard to impact the non-profit organization that I was paired with during the course. In return the instructor who is also a certified Google Analytics engineer appreciated my hard work and wrote me an outstanding recommendation. I was able to use this skillset to create the website for A Hair Boutique. When I completed the website the instructor from Luna Metrics analyzed the website. That was totally awesome because I was able to get feedback from someone with high credentials. Also this experience saved me money (which is important when starting a business).
During the View from the C-Suite: Insights from Women Who Cracked the Glass Ceiling event I sat at a table with a director from First Commonwealth bank. She and I developed a great relationship and she has been instrumental to A Hair Boutique. She has helped with banking needs, credit card merchant services, and connecting me with many women in business organizations.
I have gained so much from my experience at Carlow, to mention them all would make this a very long release. So I will sum it up by saying Carlow really cares; the professors, the students, the networking opportunities, and coursework are all reflections of the core values. I would like to encourage anyone with passion to start a business to do it. Trust your instincts and believe in yourself; all of the experiences will begin to show in your work. “Do all that you can, with all that you have”!