Boss Lady - Valerie Wingert

Several months ago, ok, maybe a year ago, I was inspired to start a blog series called "Boss Lady". The mission behind Boss Lady is to inspire young women (and men) to follow their instinct/talent/passion and become entrepreneurs. 
My team and I are reaching out to all the woman owned businesses that inspire and amaze us on a daily basis. We will start with a brief background, then dive in to the nitty gritty of running a business, what keeps them inspired, and everything else in between. 

Hi, I’m Valerie! I was born in Kansas, but my family moved here when I was about 5 years old. I grew up in Ferndale when it was the Boonies! I consider myself completely Arkansan and I love this state! I particularly love Little Rock because of its beauty, diversity, and wealth of creative talent. I have been married 31 years to my husband, Steve. We have an amazing 18-year-old-son who has just joined the Arkansas National Guard and will soon be off to college. We live in historic Hillcrest with our 5 (shhhh) kitties, but we are looking forward to building a new house very soon in the SoMa area! In 1999 I completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from UALR. The Art Department at UALR is fantastic and has gotten even better since I was a student there. I come from a family of artists, makers, and DIYers who also hoard and collect, so I have a genetic excuse for my tendencies!

  1. Give us your elevator pitch.  South Main Creative puts an urban twist on the traditional Antique Mall with antiques, vintage, art, handmade and upcycled. We even teach fun classes!
  2. What is your business? South Main Creative in historic SoMa.
  3. When did you start your business?  The concept was born sometime in late 2014. We opened the store on September 8, 2015.
  4. What inspired you to make the leap? My friends John and Chris who own SweetHome/clement in SoMa.


  5. What helps you get started each morning? Coffee, diet coke, 10 mile jog, meditation?? COFFEE!
  6. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business. I try to get to the shop by 8:30 or 9 to catch up on paperwork or organize my one million separate to-do notes! We open at 10, put interesting items out front and start on website updates, emails to customers, Facebook and Instagram posts for events and new merchants.  The most fun every day is interacting with our wonderful customers, both regulars and newcomers, who are so positive and supportive!
  7. What keeps you motivated? We have so much fun every day surrounded by creativity and positive feedback, it really feeds my spirit and keeps me going.
  8. Describe your dream day. I love to work in my garden and have my kitties hanging around. Always need a glass of cabernet right at 5!


  9. What is your greatest strength/super power? Tenacity.
  10. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat? I love Instagram!
  11. What do you do in your free time? (ha! What is free time?!) ummmm….
  12. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it? Oh, my! I would replace the entire glass storefront (which should have been done when I renovated the building) and buy a warehouse and more antiques! I would also immediately hire my BFF, Kim Christ, who is multi-skilled to work with me.


  13. What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go? Buying our building at 16th and Main. I felt it was absolutely necessary to own a building instead of paying rent (actually, I don’t even consider it a risk). My daddy taught me to invest in real estate! It is going very well, better than I ever imagined!
  14. Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable? I detest bookkeeping and paperwork. It is not tolerable, but must be done. I am blessed to have a stepmom who has done corporate bookkeeping, she helps me soooo much!
  15. How do you handle discouragement? Wallow for a minute and then move on.
  16. Which iconic person inspires you? I am inspired by the unwavering work ethic as exampled by my father, Dean Wingert.


  17. Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote? Ha! Just for fun, it is “If called by a panther, don’t anther.” (O’Nash)  A type-written note with this quote was included with a very sweet card from my loooong-time friend and local artist, Kathy Strause!
  18. If you could choose anyone to pick as a mentor, who would you choose? Dondi says Dondi.
  19. Who are you in your next life? Dondi says a bunny.
  20. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business? I surround myself with talented, fun, hardworking people who help me get through!
  21. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs? Don’t be afraid to come up with wild ideas! Then take the time to really think through the logistics to figure out if it can be done. It takes time for things to get going sometimes, be flexible, but stick with it!

    Visit South Main Creative in person
    at 1600 Main Street, Little Rock, AR 72206 
    or
    on social media:
    Instagram
    Facebook

    All Photos By: Saira Khan

7 comments

By Ralph, on

The bestest boss lady I ever had… except for my wife of course… she’s got a great sense of humor and knows how to use it! Go Val!

By Jill, on

Val is the best! I love all the women who make South Main Creative a special place.

By Maureen , on

Valerie, so proud to call you a friend. So impressed by your courage and hard work. Congratulations on what you have accomplished.

By Norma, on

I’m so proud of Valerie for finding the savvy to launch her dream! Way to go!

By Dondi Warren, on

What a great interview! Valerie is absolutely amazing and the hard work that she has put into South Main Creative is building traction! Some of the things that I especially love about Valerie is that she is community focused and passionate about building relationships, supporting other businesses, and her willingness to go extra (many, many extra!) miles to help others. She designed a concept and is building a business, but she’s also cultivating unique local talent. Thank you for your dedication, Val … and thank you, Brandy, for a super, amazing Boss Lady blog series!

By Sharon Cound, on

I love this woman AND her tenacity! She inspires so many of us, and I’m fortunate she’s my friend!

By valerie, on

Oh My Goodness! Thank you for including me in this great blog with all of these great women!

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