Ever since I was little, I’ve been an entrepreneur at heart. When I was just six years old, you could usually find me making little trinkets, setting up a “shop” in my basement, and selling them to my family and friends. I like to say that I’ve had that inner entrepreneurial fire in me all along, and it’s because I had the best role models. Both of my grandfathers, my dad, my mom and my stepdad all have had or currently have their own businesses. I saw firsthand at a very young age that discipline, a fierce work ethic, and a love of what you do can bring you great success.
Fast forward several decades (I’m older than I look, wink wink), and now, I’m also a proud small business owner. I own and run Gilded Social, a fancy occasion dress shop in downtown Columbus, Ohio that is targeted toward bridesmaids. I have always been fascinated with weddings and events. So when the opportunity to purchase this shop arose, I knew it was meant to be. It’s the perfect combination of my passion for the industry, my creative nature, and my entrepreneurial spirit.
I have always felt that being asked to be a bridesmaid is one of the greatest honors a woman can give a friend or a family member. My hope for every bridesmaid is that she embraces, cherishes, and loves that. And, I want to make sure that each bridesmaid feels special, too. That’s why I am laser focused on ensuring that Gilded Social provides a complete and distinct shopping experience from start to finish.
I want bridal parties (also known as our “Gilded Tribes”) to come in and feel like they are trying on beautiful dresses out of their friends’ closets or in their own stylish living room – it should be a relaxed, comfortable and fun experience (bubbly included, of course)! I want them to feel like they can communicate a vision to us, and we’ll nail it every time. Or, if they don’t have a vision quite yet, I want them to know that we’re experts and can help a bride hone her vision while she’s here, leaving her inspired and excited for the big day.
Gilded Social is my pride and joy – but with it comes with a great deal of responsibility. And at times, there is a lot of stress and pressure, too. So, for all you go-getters out there who are thinking about owning your own business, here are some of my tips:
Don’t look for the PERFECT time.
Sometimes in life, we sit around and wait for the perfect opportunity to make a life-changing decision. My advice is…don’t wait. There will never be a perfect time to dive in. That means that NOW is a great time. So, if you’ve been wanting to make a professional move, try a new industry or become a business owner, muster up your courage and do it! I promise you won’t regret it. (Okay, maybe sometimes you might say “What did I get myself into?” but most of the time, you’ll love every minute).
Know the ins and outs of your finances.
While I definitely encourage you to make the big move, make sure that you understand the finances associated with opening, buying, or running the business. Even if managing finances isn’t your strong suit, it is still your responsibility to know your financing inside and out, how your business will cash flow, and most importantly, how the business can make and lose money. And, be prepared for a stomach of steel!
Accept your expertise:
Having passion is paramount. But it’s important to accept your own areas of expertise and surround yourself with a team of people who can help in the areas where you might not be able to do it all. I’ve brought in an all-star team to provide help in the areas where I need support most. Don’t be afraid or skimp on bringing in solid consultants. Pros are pros for a reason! A good support system will be absolutely critical to your success.
I’ve owned Gilded Social for a little over a year and a half, and I can’t wait to see what’s in our future. We just recently expanded our physical space to help meet the needs of even more Gilded Tribes. I’m constantly thinking of new and exciting ways to bring the Gilded Social experience to life in a way that helps everyone feel happy, excited and confident.
I feel so grateful every day that I get to not only work for myself, but also do something that I love. At the end of the day, that is what it’s all about.
This guest post was authored by Tanya Rutner Hartman
Tanya Rutner Hartman is the owner of Gilded Social ~ The Fancy Occasion Shop, in downtown
Columbus, Ohio. As owner, Tanya works tirelessly each day to ensure that Gilded Social
provides a fun, comfortable and relaxing experience for all of her customers. Tanya oversees
the day-to-day operations for the dress shop, as well as all other facets of successfully running a
When Tanya isn’t busy running her business or immersing herself in all things bridal, you can
find her cheering on her beloved Buckeyes, traveling the world, or spending time with her
husband, Richie, and Shih Tzu, Chewy.