Passionate About Columbia SC
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A Beautiful Balance :: Two Local Moms With A Business Plan

A Beautiful Balance - Two Local Moms With A Business Plan - Columbia SC Moms BlogShop owners, Jan Mitchell and Jill Atkinson, are inspirational mompreneurs. In 1993, Jan was a stay-at-home mom with two school aged children. She was ready to start working again, but her teaching certificate had lapsed. She recognized monogramming as an emergent niche in Columbia and with her husband’s encouragement, decided to open a small business. It’s Personal was born.

A couple of years later, her sister Jill was able to devote time to running the store as well. She had decided to wait on working at the shop until her youngest was old enough to attend two half day programs. Jill shuttled her son between schools on her lunch break. The sisters have five children between them and over the years made sure that Jill was able to leave the store early enough on weekdays to spend the after-school hours caring for all of the kids.

Jill had a background in catering, which was something she did nights and weekends while her children were young. She wanted to work, but didn’t want to be away from them. She was happy to have the flexibility of the store because she was able to be mom and to exercise her passions for style and working with the public. Jill focused on expanding the business to also include gifts and specialty items, which the sisters began offering in 1996.

it's personal

Just a few of the monogrammed and custom items you can find at It’s Personal.

Jan has watched her business grow over the last 23 years from a 500 square foot space, which she ran alone, to a 3,000 square foot store, where she and Jill currently employ three part-time staff members. One of Jill’s daughters worked at the store when she was in high school. The consensus among Jan and Jill’s {now adult} kids has always been that they are proud of their mothers for pursuing their idea and for making It’s Personal a thriving success. Even the younger of Jan’s children who had complaints about having to walk to the store and was teased by friends about the amount of monogrammed items he owned, is a proud son and nephew.

Jan and Jill feel that their creativity and admiration for their customers have helped drive their success.

They have a wonderful working relationship and are thankful that their strengths complement one another. These sisters moved from New York to the south to attend college and though they found themselves at rivaling USC and Clemson, they have very similar taste. When they attend showrooms as buyers for their shop, they separate and tend to note almost all of the same designers and products.

Both women are now grandmothers and especially enjoy watching their grandchildren’s faces light up when they visit It’s Personal. Jill makes sure that her schedule allows her to grand-sit, one day a week. Her grandson, Harrison, loves to help at the shop.

Harrison

Geneva Mobley and Harrison are hard at work!

Having the opportunity to include generations of family in a venture that has absorbed so much of their attention and time is a wonderful blessing. It’s clear that this business is their baby, too.

Jill made me smile at the end of our interview when she told me {knowing that I am a stay-at-home mom} that being a mother is the hardest work in the world, much more so than running a store. I found it particularly motivational that these women seem to have found a way to have their cake and eat it too {with stylish, monogrammed accessories, of course.}

Are you a mom with a dream? You COULD make it happen! Tell us about it!

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