Women and Men Who Mean Business, Too

Bob O'Brien of Pawleys Island Swimwear

Bob O'Brien of Pawleys Island Swimwear

Bob O’Brien

Pawleys Island Swimwear
The Village Shops
Pawleys Island, SC
Main: 843-235-3808
Inlet Square Mall
Murrells Inlet, SC
Main: 843-651-9372

Bob O’Brien, owner of Pawleys Island Swimwear, did not hesitate when I asked him his favorite time of day, “5 o’clock; time to relax! I do most of my paperwork early in the morning, but I look forward to the end of the business day.” Bob believes that attention to detail is the key to successful time management. “If you don’t concentrate on the details, you complicate the job.” Like many of us, Bob has not fully explored the business opportunities offered by the internet. “I am planning to hire a computer consultant to give me more internet exposure. I want to be aware of the advantages of an online presence.”

Bob started his career as a compliance officer on Wall Street, but relocated when his first wife became ill with cancer. After her death, he decided to stay for a few months—this turned into twelve years! When I asked him about his success in the swimwear business, Bob told me, “Success in this business comes from hard work and getting the right people to work with you. I have a great manager.” He also believes in stocking only the highest quality merchandise and carries all the top brand names, including local favorite, Tara Grinna.

Tilghman Smith of Studio77

Tilghman Smith of Studio77

Tilghman Smith

Studio 77
5001 North Kings Highway
Myrtle Beach, SC
Main: 843-497-5931
www.facebook.com/shopatstudio77

“I have more energy and my mind is more active in the morning,” said Tilghman Smith, owner of Studio 77 in Myrtle Beach—like many of us this busy mom and business owner tends to slow down in the afternoon. Tilghman laughed when asked how she manages to get it all done, and said, “I make lots of lists and love to cross things off!” She also gets a lot of help from her husband and son, and, when time is really short, buys her groceries online.

Tilghman utilizes the internet for business and pleasure. “I love the Studio 77 Facebook page, and I keep it current with lots of photos and ideas for gifts. I get quite a few phone calls asking about merchandise seen on Facebook.” E-mail also helps Tilghman get the word out, but she’s careful not to overdo it. “I don’t want to bug people, but I do send customers e-mails about sales or special promotions. It’s much more cost effective for me than mailing cards.” After nearly five years in business, Tilghman is living her dream. “When I was around 12 years old, I wrote my “bucket” list—some were kind of silly, but, even then, I wanted to own my own store.”

Ginny Lassiter of Sunset River Marketplace

Ginny Lassiter of Sunset River Marketplace

Ginny Lassiter

Sunset River Marketplace
10283 Beach Dr
Calabash, NC
Main: 910-575-5999
www.sunsetrivermarketplace.com

Early morning is Ginny Lassiter’s favorite time of day. The owner of Sunset River Marketplace, in Calabash, N.C., enjoys coffee and quiet time with her husband, Joe, while they talk about the upcoming day and watch boats float down the waterway outside their home. When asked about her time management tips, Ginny laughed and told me she “does a lot of multi-tasking!” She’s on the internet, “in bits and spurts throughout the day answering e-mails or looking at artists’ work.” Luckily, she has someone to help her with the gallery’s website and Facebook page. Ginny went on to tell me that, “the internet has changed the way we do business. Now, in addition to the website, we send our newsletters via e-mail and use Facebook to promote the gallery.”

A happy and upbeat atmosphere in the gallery is important to Ginny. “Customer service comes first—I try to give my customers what they want. Even if you’re not an artist, we offer programs like the Creative Exchange Series and Coffee with the Authors.” But, Ginny’s favorite part of owning this unique gallery is being able to give back to the community. “I love being a part of fundraisers. It makes me feel good to be able to help.”

Laura Howell of Sassyfras

Laura Howell of Sassyfras

Laura Howell

Sassyfras
5900 N. Kings Hwy
Myrtle Beach, SC
Main: 843-449-1420
www.sassyfrasonline.com

Laura Howell, owner of Sassyfras in Myrtle Beach, begins her day early, when she’s at her very best. Running a successful business is only one of her full-time jobs, though—Laura is also a mother to eighteen month-old, Ellis. “I’m blessed to have my family to help me stay organized, and my sister works with me—Ellis spends a lot of time in the shop with us, but he’s so friendly that my customers look forward to seeing him!” In spite of her busy schedule, Laura tries to get home early and get dinner started for her family each day.

The internet makes running a busy boutique much easier. “I always have my iPhone, so I can easily check e-mail and post on our Facebook site. Our new website, www.sassyfrasonline.com, will allow our customers to order online as well,” Laura said. She also uses the internet for keeping in contact with her out-of-town customers and ordering merchandise. “I love my business, it’s fun to discover what my customers like. My sister and I always talked about owning a boutique while we were growing up and now we’re living our dream!”

Hannah Spires of Hannah B's Children's Boutique

Hannah Spires of Hannah B's Children's Boutique

Hannah Spires

Hannah B’s Children’s Boutique
4640 Hwy 17
Murrells Inlet, SC
Main: 843-651-7424
www.facebook.com/HannahBChildrensBoutiqueMI

Hannah Spires, owner of Hannah B’s in Murrells Inlet, does her best thinking at night. “I’m a night owl. My husband and I stay up late—that’s our time together after we put our son, Henning, to bed. Thank goodness, he’s not an early riser!” Now expecting her second son, Whitman, Hannah is a busy mom and business owner, but is able to stay organized with the help of her husband and two wonderful employees. “I am flexible with my schedule and try to accommodate my customers. If they need to meet after hours or before I open, I try to work with their needs.”

The internet has always been a part of doing business for Hannah. “We use Facebook for Hannah B’s, and I’m on the internet e-mailing customers daily. I do turn it off when I’m with my family.” Hannah has been in business for two years and is living her dream. “I’ve always wanted to own a boutique, and when I was pregnant the first time I couldn’t find everything I needed in one place, so I decided to open Hannah B’s. It’s perfect for me because I can work around my number one job and first priority—being a wife and mommy!”

Alan Altman of Pawleys Island Realty

Alan Altman of Pawleys Island Realty

Alan Altman

Pawleys Island Realty
88 North Causeway Rd.
Pawleys Island, SC
Main: 843-237-2431
www.pawleysislandrealty.com

While not a ball of energy when he first wakes up, Alan Altman, owner of Pawleys Island Realty, loves the early mornings for exercise or just watching the marsh come to life. “Quiet time is important to prepare for a busy day,” Alan told me. “The first step for me each day is to have an idea of what I’m going to do and to like it!” A vision is imperative to this successful businessman. “Next comes having good people around me that make this journey a fun one. It’s a collaborative effort all the way.” When asked about the internet, Alan gave a thoughtful reply. “Life is full of critical conversations. While we have to have exposure online, we also have to make sure those conversations happen face to face or voice to voice. It’s very easy to hide behind the internet and miss the tone of voice or body language.”

In business since 1981, Alan still loves everything about Pawleys Island Realty. “I’m working in my hometown, with people who’ve been with me for 30 years and those new people who add a splash of enthusiasm. I still get a charge out of being a part of this community.”

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