Dena Barskin, Designer, Entrepreneur, and Kindhearted
FJ: What lead you to create your company?
DB: I love people; I love fashion; I love to buy and sell. Perhaps inherited this from my paternal Grandfather. He came from Russia as a young man who was a peddler who finally settled in Martinsville, Indiana, and built a department store around 1919. A whole city block, two stories with a basement. Food was offered in the basement, men's furnishings and household goods were on the first floor and offices and ballroom on the 2nd.
I studied Fashion Design and textiles at FIDM in LA, and around 1999 opened my first store in Ventura, California, called Grand Tour Ventura. Still had some items leftover, and when I moved to Frazier Park, I was designing and making like crazy, clothes, sweaters, hats...on and on had to do something, so I opened Dena's Bazaar.
FJ: What was your vital driving force to become an entrepreneur?
DB: Who would hire me? lol
FJ: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
DB: Actually, everything...It is wonderful being in charge. Answering to no one and especially giving way all that I can.
FJ: What are three of your company’s goals?
DB: Reaching out more to my small community and letting them know I am here for them. I have great prices and fantastic merchandise. I am an image consultant and would love to get that aspect of my business going. Of course, have more customers and teach people to knit and crochet.
FJ: What challenges have you encountered?
DB:I think because I have only been in Frazier Park for less than four years, my community is entrenched. I also have a lot of items jammed into a small space to accommodate the diverse needs of our population. I am still getting people coming in saying they didn't know I was here.
I advertised in the paper, but that didn't work for me.
When people, women come in, they are surprised that I can fit them and have what they want, they usually come back.
FJ: What thoughts would you give to others who have similar aspirations?
DB: Have a lot of back up funds and know a lot of people in the place you want your business to be.
FJ: What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
DB: To give the best service and for me...to have the best quality within the price points I can offer. If something is damaged, I either give it or don't sell it. I love giving away free books, especially for children.
FJ: Why will customers stay or do repeat business with you?
DB: It may be the time and effort I take to support each customer. I am a fashionista, but each person is an individual and needs their way to be nurtured.
FJ: How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
DB: As I stated, advertising in the paper up here is a bust. Facebook helps, and the fairs and selling markets up here have helped a bit. I keep friending a lot of people on Facebook and hope satisfied customers tell their friends. Not a lot of tourists and people here shop online a lot.
FJ: What is unique about your business?
DB: I carry a lot of merchandise. Fabric, yarn, sewing, and craft supplies. Free books and clothing, some men's shirts, new, high-quality vintage, and items I make gifts; I have cards and some things for kids.
Like and old five and dime. No ice-cream though you have to go to Falcons Nest down the street for that...lol My prices for what I carry are epic, I think, and YOU CAN TRY THINGS ON and don't have to send anything back if it doesn't fit and hope for a refund.
FJ: Who inspires you?
DB:Women inspire me; they are smart; they have become fearless, finally... Coco Chanel is one of my favorite designers. The real Coco, not the people who are designing now. She was one of the first fearless, original, creative, daring, surprising, designing women and her clothing was gorgeous inside and out, she didn't take no for an answer.
She never gave up; she charted her own path. I am still in awe of her.
FJ: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting, what would it be?
DB: Make a plan, have back up, have a customer base, and plunge ahead.
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