Central MA Up + Comer: Posh Boutique Owner Susan Shamoun
Thursday, May 01, 2014
SW: What led you to this career path?
SS: Since I was little I basically grew up in my mother’s alteration shop in Holden, Massachusetts. I was constantly involved with clothing and influenced by her distinct fashion sense and style. I also grew up with 3 fashionable older sisters, so working in the fashion industry seemed like second nature to me. I started working in retail when I was 16 and by the time I was 18, I was already an Assistant Sales Executive in the wholesale sector of the fashion industry in New York City, working with buyers of the biggest retailers across the country. From there I was determined to keep pushing myself to achieve the goals I had set out for myself. Some I have achieved but there are so many I am still working hard to meet.
SW: What do you feel stands you out from the competition?
SS: I have always loved shopping at boutiques that treated customers as if they have a relationship with the owner or sales associate. They know you by your first name or get excited to see you come back again, even if you haven’t shopped there in a year! It’s that feeling of knowing the owner/manager or associate just understands your taste and knows what you’re looking for.
I’m the buyer, owner and work with each client for a special reason. I personally want to be sure that my customer is always happy, not only their purchase but also the experience of shopping here. It’s very important to me that they don’t feel like it’s just a sale. I want to see my clients come in not only for their junior prom but also their senior prom and then again for their weddings! I love to share my store with their friends and families that they recommend as well!
For me, it is a pleasure working with each client and I have to say that I have the best time working with the ones that say they are “picky.” It’s a challenge for me and I usually find them the dress they fall in love with! Last but not least… our prices. You just can’t beat them!
SW: Who are your favorite dress designers?:
SS: Giambattista Valli and Naaem Khan. My jaw drops every time I watch their runway shows. Geniuses. That’s all I can say!
SW: What is on the drawing board for 2014?
SS: Custom made dresses are on the drawing board! I always hear my clients tell me they love the top of a dress but not the bottom or that they love a dress but not in that color. The list goes on. Eventually we find the perfect dress for them after trying on options and looking through my catalogues but I can’t wait to offer them the option of putting together the dress they envision, made to fit and most importantly, at an affordable price! That’s definitely on the drawing board for 2014.
SW: Who or what has been the biggest influence in your life?
SS: My father. 100% it’s my Dad. He’s been and will forever be the only person that can have such an effect on me. Whether it has to do with my career, personal or business matters or relationships, you name it. He was always so supportive of me and believed if I put my mind to something, no matter what it was, I could accomplish it.
SW: How do you spend your free time?
SS: I wish I remembered what free time was like again! Haha. I have to say I really don’t have much free time. I am either busy traveling in markets doing my seasonal buys, doing personal shopping for a client, working with my clients in the boutique, answering emails, working on social media, submitting orders, paying the bills and so on. I do it all so I really don’t have much time for myself. I try to make as much time for my family and friends as possible but I find it challenging to balance everything as I have so many career goals and ideas that I am working on at the moment. You can even ask my hairdresser. Just to fit in a haircut, we go back and forth with a minimum of 20 texts as I am always rescheduling just to fit in a simple cut! I wish there were more hours in the day! Especially Sunday’s!!!
SW: What is your favorite quote?
SS: “Work hard, trust your gut and believe anything is possible.” – Rachel Zoe
SW: What is a fact that few people know about you?
SS: If I could go back and choose another career path, I’d be an oncologist. That and the fact that I LOVE football! I am a huge Patriots fan!
SW: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
SS: It’s so hard to say. If you asked me this 10 years ago, I would have never thought I’d be doing what I do now. I actually wanted to be a lawyer at the time so I consider myself to be a very bad psychic! Haha.
GoLocalWorcester presents Central MA Up + Comers, a weekly profile of a member of the next generation as they are making their mark or charting new territory in the Central Ma workforce and community. Join us every Thursday for a look at the careers and lifestyles of the local digital generation.
Susan D. Wagner is president of Susan Wagner PR, a boutique public relations firm invested in meeting client's goals with integrity and creativity.
Related Slideshow: Worcester’s Tech Startups
Buzz Lanes started out as a small idea for a Business Model Competition at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Success there led to the semifinalist round at Harvard, and a new business that aims to accelerate the careers of talented musicians that don’t have big marketing campaign resources.
“As graduates of WPI’s School of Business, and with several years of experience in the entertainment world, we decided to push forward and make Buzz Lanes a reality,” said Gonazlo Cruz Blanco, the man behind Buzz Lanes.
A native of Spain, Blanco's passion for music and business led to the creation of this monthly subscription music platform. One of the bands he’s promoting right now is Heffay, a Worcester Hip Hop band.
“It’s a win-win situation: musicians grow their fan base and connect with new fans, and the fans will always have the opportunity to find new music they haven’t heard before.”
The company's online Beta version launches April 4, 2014
Salespod makes mobile/cloud software for organizations to manage field teams and the data that they collect.
“We currently have 2200 users in 31 countries, and are growing 10 to 15 percent per month. We are getting ready to launch a major marketing initiative and expect to grow to over 10,000 users this year,” said Mat Brogie, Salespod, Inc. COO.
“The software runs on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, and there is a web based management console that managers use to see where and when field reps perform their activities, and to analyze the data these field reps generate.”
Salespod has a research and development office in Zagreb, Croatia, and has established the Worcester office to launch its US presence. The company started in Worcester last year with only 800 users.
“There is a growing culture entrepreneurism in the city, and the physical changes in town add to the energy that is building … not to mention the economics are extremely friendly for a start-up trying to maximize the use of cash.”
Salespod announced in March that they would be making a name/logo change to Repsly.
Incite Advisors, Inc
Incite Advisors, Inc. provides Web application development services for applications in the healthcare and life sciences.
“We are focused on data driven applications and visualizing big data. Our largest client has hired us to develop a web/mobile application that allows doctors to capture patient diagnostic information in the natural course of their work,” said Incite founder and President Ronald Ranauro.
“The application will allow for rapid updates as medical knowledge advances. The idea is that by using the computer care teams can more easily coordinate services. We are also developing a web application for visualizing and searching big picture trends in clinical trials. In support of our work, we have developed an open source software toolkit called BoxspringJS.”
Ranauro grew up in Central Massachusetts and graduated from WPI. He said his company is reaching out to the student population to offer training and real world experience on paid customer projects.
Technocopia is a non-profit (tax-exempt status pending) geared towards creating open-source technologies that will benefit the whole world. As part of this mission they are opening a “hackerspace” in Worcester, which will serve as a home-base for their research and development of these technologies, as well as a common collaborative space for anyone in Central Massachusetts to make their own projects into reality.
Their hackerspaces feature a lounge, kitchen, conference space and computer stations. Technocopia intends to support the development of open-source technology that will allow any individual, family, or community to sustainably and independently satisfy their own humanitarian needs. These needs are defined loosely as things such as nutritious food, clean water, shelter, electricity, medicine, and free access to knowledge (the internet).
Self-described as “World class incubators for world class science,” Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI) is dedicated to job creation and innovative healthcare throughout Massachusetts by promoting the growth of start-up biomedical companies. MBI is committed to collaborating with the academic, business and government communities to promote Massachusetts as the world leader in the health sciences industry.
Kevin O’Sullivan is the President & CEO of MBI, located on Prescott Street. O’Sullivan describes the company as a private, independent economic development organization that serves as a catalyst for life science and healthcare innovation.
“We help start biomedical companies and create jobs within the Biotechnology, Medical Device, Informatics, and Biomanufacturing industry by providing secure, clean bench and sink surface, staff trained and fully licensed laboratory space for usage by ‘seed stage’ companies. Building and maintaining collaborative affiliations and partnerships are essential to our success.”
What would a tech company list be without a little fun? While neighboring Rhode Island smarts over Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios disaster, MassDiGI is pushing academic cooperation, entrepreneurship and economic development across the Massachusetts digital and video games ecosystem.
MassDiGI is a US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center. Since starting up, MassDiGI has launched several initiatives that support entrepreneurship and strengthen the talent pipeline between higher education and the game industry.
Timothy Loew, Executive Director of MassDiGI, formerly held senior positions in business, development and academic planning at Becker College.
Jonathan Vo, Principal and Founder of Compex Software, is another Worcester Polytechnic Institute grad succeeding in the WPI neighborhood.
Vo’s software company has successfully deployed many of its software applications at hundreds of specialized operations throughout the US. Like others on this list, Compex Software came about as result of a student project. Vo did so well that he was recommended to an independent company and he’s never looked back.
Compex Software designs, develops and implements integrated business management software solutions to help small- and medium- sized businesses manage their operations. This includes manufacturing, inventory tracking, job costing, quality control, and accounting.
Yumei Huang is the Founder, President & CEO, CellMosaic, Inc. The company recently signed a collaboration research agreement (CRADA) with the National Cancer Institute to co-develop two AqT based conjugate drugs. One is an antibody-drug conjugate for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma and another is a protein-drug conjugate targeting CA125 for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
Under the agreement, NCI will provide its proprietary antibody and CellMosaic will design and synthesize an antibody-drug conjugate and protein-drug conjugate using its proprietary AqT linker and advanced conjugation processes. The CRADA grants CellMosaic an exclusive license option from NCI for any new products developed under this CRADA.