Boss Lady - Shelley Green


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. 

I was born in the Midwest and raised in California.  I was a working mom.  I’ve raised three boys who are now grown with families of their own.  They all live in Southern California.

I’ve worked for major department and specialty stores coordinating fashion shows, promotions and events. I managed a design studio for a New York menswear designer and had my own business consulting firm for manufacturers and retailers.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with clients in all regions of the country. I’ve always enjoyed the fast-pace and ever changing fashion industry.

At some point I yearned to express my own viewpoint and align my livelihood with my values. I was distraught by the persistent destruction and poisoning of our natural environment, the waste in our throw-away society and became an advocate for Mother Earth. While on a journey towards improving my own health, I found ways to make simple changes in my daily routine that were healthier, safer for the environment and enhanced the quality of my life.  I made the connection between personal and planetary wellbeing and wanted to do what I could to make a difference.  That search to find my authentic voice led me to write a column on green living, teach environmental literacy and finally open my store which showcases the products I believe in.  

My commitment to share with others the products and services I have discovered hasn’t waned in the years since I found my true passion. The excitement for my work grows as I see more people wanting to engage in ‘living lighter on the earth” and know that collectively, if we each contribute in our own way, we can make a positive impact for the future. 

  1. Give us your elevator pitch.  We share how people can care for themselves, their families and homes in ways that are healthier, safe, and creative. By spreading the word that if it’s good for you, it’s better for the planet, too, we can collectively transform the way we live in our corner of the world.
  2. What is your business? The Green Corner Store is a general, eco lifestyle store in downtown Little Rock. We carry environmentally friendly products that are local, sustainable and organic. Our assortment ranges from food, t-shirts, accessories, books, personal care and wellness, natural parenting and baby and children’s products. We also have a large selection of Made in Arkansas goods and artisan crafts.
  3. When did you start your business? July 2009


  4. What inspired you to make the leap? I went to a conference and the keynote speaker encouraged each of us to do ‘something bold’. Use your talent and skills to do what you can to help the challenges facing the environment. I was doing environmental education and making suggestions about products for ‘green’ living. I couldn’t find anywhere locally that carried the items I was recommending.  I decided to use my retail experience and showcase them where customers could trust the products were safe and healthy.
  5. What helps you get started each morning? Coffee, diet coke, 10 mile jog, meditation?? Coffee! I’m addicted.
  6. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business. Every day is different. That’s what I love about retail. It’s a mix of helping customers, ordering and checking in merchandise, working with the staff, marketing, bookkeeping and housekeeping. You can have a plan but have to stay flexible according to the needs of that day.
  7. What keeps you motivated?  Our loyal customers. I love helping people discover new products and find special gifts.


  8. Describe your dream day. Hanging out with friends and family. Wake up at sunrise and spend quiet time outdoors in nature. Cook dinner from scratch and spend the evening reading or watching a movie with a bowl of popcorn.
  9. What is your greatest strength/super power? Persistence.
  10. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat? Facebook and Instagram.
  11. What do you do in your free time? (ha! What is free time?!) Socialize with friends. Go out to have a glass of wine, dinner, attend an event.  I enjoy gardening, hiking and reading also.


  12. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it? I would definitely expand our selection of products and services. I would like to serve other communities in Arkansas with additional store locations, too.
  13. What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go? Opening my store was the biggest risk for me and it has given me the greatest sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
  14. Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable? I like variety so I really enjoy every aspect of the business. If there is one thing, it’s being interviewed.  Advance preparation and practice makes it more tolerable.
  15. How do you handle discouragement? Try not to dwell on it and shift gears as soon as possible to something positive.
  16. Which iconic person inspires you? Oprah Winfrey


  17. Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote? Many but I’d like to share two favorites: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”…Rachel Carson, Ecologist, Author of Silent Spring. and “Find Your Place on the Planet, Dig In and Take Responsibility from There.” Gary Snyder, Author and Poet, 1975 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  18. If you could choose anyone to pick as a mentor, who would you choose? Juliet Schor, Sociologist and Co-founder, Center for a New American Dream.
  19. Who are you in your next life? Organic Gardener/Herbalist and Restauranteur
  20. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business? The demands are constant so I just try my best to stay healthy and focused.
  21. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs? Be confident in your ability to make it happen.  I can’t say it better than with a quote from German poet, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Visit The Green Corner Store in person
at 1423 Main Street, Suite D, Little Rock, AR 72202 
or
on social media:
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter

All Photos By: Saira Khan

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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

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