Opening a retail store can be both risky and challenging. A lot of the time, there is great adversity and challenges at every turn. Owner Keely Gore did not give up when things got rough. When others may have given up she met every challenge and figured out how to make it work for her and not against her. Her story is one that is all about pushing through no matter what happens. What has emerged as a result is her unique take on art, fashion and retail. This is the story of our latest Owner Spotlight Neon Gypsy.
Neon Gypsy is a trendy, fashion forward boutique specializing in plus-size clothing. The store has been in business for two years and is located in Silsbee, Texas. The store features a number of popular lines of jewelry, fashion accessories and chalk paint. Within the retail store you can find all of the coolest trinkets, treasures, antique furniture and décor. In addition, Neon Gypsy offers custom painted furniture pieces and signage. They have made a freehand artist available for any other custom needs their customer may have.
Do you have a background in retail? If not, what is your employment background?
"At 19 years old I opened up a small one-room nail salon and offered small amounts of retail. I ended my last 4 1/2 years in the business working for a large company in Beaumont, Texas until 2005 when my home was devastated by Hurricane Rita. With only a new truck left, my brother got a job offer for me with FEMA in Louisiana. I traded my stilettos for steel-toe boots. I went from a classy salon environment to hauling FEMA campers to people that lost their homes. I learned to block, set, level and do electrical. A large change in my life made me a much stronger woman. I got married and started working in the oilfield business. Five years later after my divorce I loaded everything I could into a truck along with the last $100 I had to my name and moved back to Texas. I started college for Electrical Instrumentation, took care of my ill grandparents, got remarried and now here I am".
How did you come up with the name of the store?
Some of best names for anything start with a thoughtful process. The name of Neon Gypsy is the celebration of the eclectic product line that it offers. If the name of the store seems personal it's because it is.
"When I started in my junking venture, I started from my driveway as a kind of therapy after my grandparent's passing within a month of each other. I started doing pieces of my own and "Junky Gypsy" styling my own place, I got approached to paint a piece for a friend and the freight train took off. During this time I had heard a song on the radio that mentioned something about a Neon Gypsy, I thought to myself, "If I ever got the chance to open a store that sure would be a cool name." Who would've thought it would happen sooner than later."
The appeal of this retail space starts from the front entrance with a vintage Ford truck parked in the yard. The rest of the entrance features fabulous signage complete with trendy mixed media marquee lettering spelling out Neon Gypsy. This store understands how to get first time shoppers and regular customers alike to check out what's inside.
The store is a mix of furniture, ladies clothing, accessories and chalk painting products. The set up showcases the Bohemian style of the shop and all that it has to offer. There is a mix of modern and antique nods that really speak to the overall look of the space. Inside you are transformed into this mix as the groupings of products transition throughout.
"The design strategy is lots of fun and 'oh look at this' types. We re-stage our store at least every two weeks. I guess I would say we're constantly re-inventing ourselves once a month. We are busy gypsies."
"I have always been a lover of the oddities, the rusty, chipped goodness of an old find on a junk hunt. Junk Gypsies and other semi-locals have been an inspiration to me. I am now inspired daily by each and every one of the great friends I have acquired over my journey."
What are some features/special events that you do at your store to set yourself apart from other retailers?
"We love to have events at our shop for most any reason. We invite some of our local friends in the business to set up tents, usually bring in rat rod cars (junk hot rods) and bring in a bar-be-que cooking team for our customers. We like to do flash sales unannounced because everyone loves a surprise sale."
What advice if any would you give others seeking to open a retail business that you have benefited from?
"Know your market, all of it. Be consistent in everything you do. Empower other women in business. Help keep your own area thriving. Have a great support team around you; you're going to need it. Don't owe anyone anything. You will never get ahead in debt to everyone. Go for it. It is only dreams if you don't!"
Would you like to be featured in our next installment of the SSW Store Owner Spotlight? Email Patricia Sims for more information.
The Neon Gypsy
305 East Avenue J
Silsbee, TX 77656