She established herself as the first upscale boutique of any kind on Pico Boulevard and blazed the trail for what is fast becoming a trendy destination in Mid City.
Pinky admits that the number one challenge to maintaining a store on Pico, (unlike Culver City or Melrose, or Larchmont) is a lack of foot traffic. Although she was aware of this before deciding on the location, it made more sense than opening her boutique on the already crowded Melrose Avenue. Pinky’s vivacious personality, talented design sense, natural creative instincts and true grit contribute to her success and longevity. She met the challenge of the lack of foot traffic with her signature brightly painted pink building which attracts drive bys like a flower attracts bees.
In the beginning her inventory was represented by high end and expensive designs but while taste and good quality remain a constant, her price point has adjusted to the times with prices to suit a working girls budget without compromising sophisticated tastes.
It’s one thing to open a store and fill it with inventory but quite another to develop a client base. Pinky’s natural ability to connect and make people welcome, keep her clients coming back for a chat and a try on. Women help each other decide what looks good in an atmosphere of friendly cheerful female comradery.
Entrepreneurs cannot rest on their laurels especially with the explosion of social networking and Pinky uses social networks like Facebook, e-blasts, and special sales events. She’s open to unique ideas like hosting a girlfriend’s shopping party and tea at the store. She also understands the importance of staying visible. Working hand-in-hand with emerging designers, Pinky participates in fashion shows and expos away from the store.
When asked what special qualities women bring to business ownership, Pinky feels that women are naturals because they are already experienced in running a household with very few resources. When I asked her what advice she would give her daughter if she wanted to start her own business her answer was clear and precise; have the capital to keep yourself and your business going for more than a year, be passionate about it and understand that it will take at least 3 years before you see a return on your investment; be unique and always give great customer service. Also seek out resources e.g. the Urban League and the Small Business Administration, two organizations that were very helpful to her.
Marcia “Pinky Rose” Charles also finds time to give back to the community, mentoring other entrepreneurial hopefuls and doing motivational speaking whenever she is asked. A true renaissance woman, Pinky’s mantra is “Do You! If you do you – you may not get rich but you will be happy.”