Alicia Russman, owner of Undeniable Boutique at Fairfax Corner, has traveled the globe for the last eight years observing trends in boutique fashion and taking note of eye-catching labels and products. As a result, she has brought global flair to her Fairfax Corner boutique. Alicia carries a lot of "not-so-conservative" lines from the West Coast as well as Europe and Australia. This spring, she'll be adding more international labels. "I've really tried to bring something different to the area so women who like a unique look have a place to shop. 'Dress for the occasion, but not like everyone else' - is one of my taglines."
Describe yourself in three words:
Always inviting change
What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
While I'd like to think my greatest achievement is yet to come, my most notable accomplishment to date is planning and opening Undeniable Boutique.
What are your professional goals for the next six months?
Most of my professional goals are related to the growth of my boutique and marketing consulting businesses, but more importantly, I want to expand my network of women business owners and professionals. I wouldn't have gotten anywhere professionally without the mentoring and support I've received from so many strong women business leaders.
How does your company stay connected through social media?
I've spent the last eight years of my career preaching the importance of social media to professional services companies. I'm thankful to have been with a technology company during the social media boom or I'm afraid I still wouldn't get it! I use social media outlets daily, but know that I need to be doing more (add that to my list of professional goals for the next six months!). Here are some of my daily outlets: www.linkedin.com/in/aliciarussman, www.linkedin.com/company/undeniable-boutique-llc, twitter.com/arrussman, www.facebook.com/undeniableboutique, www.fashionlista.com, www.lipstickrocks.com, to name a few!
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I wouldn't quite attempt it, but I'd love to be a back-up singer for a professional, touring band or a dancer. Sadly, I wasn't blessed with any musical talent but a good ear!
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Who says I do? :)
What website do you visit every day?
Admittedly, Facebook, especially now that it's the only active site for my boutique's online presence.
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
My to-do list and how I'm going to accomplish everything I set out to do that day (which rarely happens).
What book do you casually put out on your coffee table to impress visitors?
Typically the only publications that end up on my coffee table include health/fitness and gossip magazines -- so not impressive, but entertaining!
What is your favorite spot to visit in Northern Virginia?
This is a tough one; there are so many! My favorite clear-your-head spot is Burke Lake. I love being outdoors and running/walking the 5-mile trail around the lake with my dog. I'm from upstate NY and being near a lake makes me feel at home.
What is your goal for retirement?
As odd as it may sound, running my boutique is my retirement plan. I don't think I'll ever be able to stop working entirely. I'll be happy when the business is profitable and able to run more smoothly - that will feel like retirement to me! Also, having more time to travel is a long-term, semi-retirement goal.
Do you have any advice for women who would like to start their own company?
My advice is terribly clichéd but worth repeating - don't let anyone tell you it can't be done! I had a major career change when I opened Undeniable Boutique. I had no previous retail or business ownership experience - the two things potential business partners, lenders, real estate management companies and vendors wanted to see on my resume before entering into business with me. I spent close to two years pitching these entities and trying to prove my concept. I knew I had the experience, passion and drive to build a successful business. Each and every day will be spent proving those who didn't give me a chance, wrong! My other advice is to talk to people who have been there before you. I reached out to many strangers who I now consider close friends. The first-hand experiences and insights they shared taught me more about business ownership than any book or MBA course ever could!
Stay connected with Alicia:
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Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.
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