Meet Christy Enyart – A Small Business Owner
When I first decided to start this series a couple of months ago, Christy Enyart is exactly the person I had in mind. The concept of her company, The Gown Swap, is so fun and clever. It inspired me as soon as I heard about it. It also didn’t hurt that the more I got to know Christy, the more I absolutely adored her. She’s always willing to encourage, support and promote others. Her company is actually a great illustration of her personality – connecting people to spread a little joy.
Being in three weddings in one year is a huge honor. It means you’re a great friend and people want you to be involved in one of their most precious moments. It also means that you’re probably going to end up broke and with a closet full of taffeta dresses. That’s exactly the position Christy found herself in a few years ago.
There she was, again, at David’s Bridal to try on a bridesmaid’s dress. The problem was that there were two other women waiting for the exact same size 6, green and white gown. As they each waited patiently to try on the dress, Christy joked that they should just buy one and share it for all three weddings. Why not, right? It was the same design and color in the same size. That’s when it hit her: why aren’t people doing this every day?
And just like that, The Gown Swap was born. Christy began brainstorming the idea with family and friends, utilizing their talents wherever possible. Her vision was to become a place where women could sell their old dresses, making a little money and helping other cash-strapped brides or bridesmaids. Not only would the site help wedding parties save money, it would address the wasteful practice of wearing a dress only once.
One of Christy’s passions is her commitment to non-profit organizations like Children’s Hunger Fund and World Vision. Being in tune with how poverty affects our global community, addressing waste and excessive consumerism was an added benefit of her budding brand.
After about a year of work, the site launched on March 30, 2009, Christy’s 30th birthday. (I know, I know. This is supposed to be a series about 20-something business owners. But, she conceptualized and started the entire business before she turned 30, so I’m letting it slide. Plus, it’s my blog so give me a break).
She’s learned a lot of lessons along the way, but 2011 has proven to be her best year yet. Christy still doesn’t have the entire picture of what The Gown Swap might become, but she’s excited to keep walking one step at a time. It’s her innovation and ability to incorporate her passions into her business model that make Christy an inspirational just over 20-something Business Owner.
What can you take away from Christy’s experience:
- A business doesn’t promote itself. Launching a website is not enough, it takes a lot of work to get people involved.
- Learn from the people who are doing it right (and wrong). Christy learned some valuable lessons about e-commerce from sites like eBay, including how to protect vendors from being ripped off.
- Acting on your ideas is empowering. Don’t sit back and let life happen to you. If you want something, you have the power within yourself to make it happen.
We all know someone that could use this site. Check out The Gown Swap here: www.thegownswap.com
Do you own your own business? I’d love to hear from you and so would other young business owners who are looking to be inspired. Please share your website in the comments section so that I can keep featuring inspirational 20-something Business Owners on the blog!
Photo taken by Lukas VanDyke Photography