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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Boss Lady - Martha Richardson

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 have lived in Little Rock for 10 years, but I grew up in South Florida. After graduating high school I pursued a 15 year career as a professional ballet dancer, dancing with companies in Miami, North Carolina and New Orleans. 

My husband, Lee Richardson and I moved to Little Rock from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. My daughter, Fiona, was about three weeks old when we moved. I had never been to Arkansas, so, it was a big change! We have met so many nice people and have really put down some roots here. When my daughter was about three a friend introduced me to The Yoga Studio of Little Rock. I had practiced yoga and pilates for many years and I was looking for a place to settle in and it was a good fit. The studio has been downtown for about 15 years and was owned by Cliff Riggs. About 3 years ago, Cliff decided to retire and asked me to take over the studio. I was so honored and humbled  and, quite frankly, scared to death. But, I decided to take a chance and here I am!

I received my Iyengar Yoga Teacher Certification in 2016 and continue to travel to Dallas on a regular basis to study with my teacher, Randy Just. Over the last two years, I’ve made many changes to the studio - the most significant is that we only offer classes in the Iyengar method, taught by certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers (CIYT). Their are only five CIYT’s in the state of Arkansas, and we have three that teach at YSLR. The studio has really grown and we are hoping to move into a larger studio space by this Summer. I love our downtown location and our yoga community! 

 

  1. Give us your elevator pitch.  I am a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher (CIYT). One of only 5 certified teachers in the state of Arkansas.

  2. What is your business?  I own The Yoga Studio of Little Rock, downtown at 6th and Chester. We are the only yoga studio in Central Arkansas that offers Iyengar yoga taught by Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers

  3. When did you start your business?  I took over the studio from Cliff Riggs in 2014. It has been a mainstay of the downtown area for over 15 years.



  4. What inspired you to make the leap?  The opportunity presented itself and it seemed to make sense! After a 15 year career as a professional ballet dancer, I wanted to pursue something that was fun and was a good fit for my life as a Mom and for my family.

  5. What helps you get started each morning? Coffee, diet coke, 10 mile jog, meditation??  I hate my alarm, but I love getting up early! I am usually awake before 6am and ready to get the day started. I do love a good Chai tea and a bagel. That usually gets me going.

  6. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business.  I teach 13 classes a week. Most of my classes are in the morning and I am finished by 1:30. Each day is different and I enjoy the variety of each level of class that I teach. We have a strong student base of dedicated practitioners. I enjoy going from teaching a beginner level class and then moving on to more advanced students. I try to keep my teaching fresh and innovative, which requires a lot of thought and planning. I love the Iyengar method so much because each pose can be done with modifications and various props so it can be different from day to day. It keeps me on my toes! In between my classes, I try to squeeze my personal practice in.



  7. What keeps you motivated?  My students and fellow teachers! It is so amazing to see people progressing in their practice. When you see people that a year ago couldn’t move without pain, coming to class with a smile on their face and a spring in their step, it makes all the hard work worth it.

  8. Describe your dream day.  I have a lot of scenarios for a dream day…. If I were to pick one it would probably revolve around a really long class with my teacher in Dallas, lunch and then just whatever came my way for the rest of the day with my family.

  9. What is your greatest strength/super power?  Resilience.



  10. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat?  Facebook and Instagram.

  11. What do you do in your free time? (ha! What is free time?!)  Hang out with my daughter Fiona, sewing and walking my dog

  12. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it?  I would buy the old service station on Kavanaugh across from Mylo’s Coffee. Install a rope wall and have 2 studios so that we could offer more classes. That type of investment would allow me to offer free yoga to those that might not otherwise be able to afford classes.



  13. What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go?  I feel like I’ve been taking risks my whole adult life. So far,so good.

  14. Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable?  Recently I decided to make some changes that involved some teachers that had been affiliated with the studio and the previous owner. That was very difficult. However, the changes were necessary to solidify the direction of my business. Keeping the bigger picture in mind helps me tolerate the unpleasant side of owning a business.

  15. How do you handle discouragement?  Be with it for a minute and then keep moving forward.

  16. Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote?  “If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud”  Emile Zola



  17. Who are you in your next life?  A librarian

  18. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business?  Go with your gut instinct. It’s usually right. Also, don’t try to please everyone. You will drive yourself crazy.

  19. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Surround yourself with inspiring people that encourage you, but most of all, trust yourself and be your own biggest fan.

Visit The Yoga Studio of Little Rock in person
at 910 W 6th St, Little Rock, AR 72201 
or
on social media:
Instagram
Facebook

All Photos By: Saira Khan

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