JAMIE PARKER-KRAUSE OUTFITS THE LOWCOUNTRY
Question: What has been your biggest success?
Answer. One of the most significant projects in my career was growing my store from 2,400 square feet to a little under 5,000 square feet.
Q. How did that project help your company work more efficiently or become more successful?
A. About three years ago, my husband and I decided to expand the size of our store. We saw a need for contemporary and missy swimwear, and also saw a need for a more traditional style for the men. We expanded and created a store just for that. It was more resort wear than surf gear, so we decided to keep the two looks or styles separate in our new space. After analyzing our first year with the bigger store, we decided we needed to make another change, so we put all of the swimwear and contemporary styles in the new space and moved the preppy men’s stuff out. The second season showed a tremendous growth in sales.
Q. What advice would you give others who want to follow in your footsteps?
A. I am a true dreamer. I tell my kids they can be anything they put their minds to, and I believe it. Anyone who wants to succeed in retail can do it, but hard work and passion are essential. You must be open-minded and willing to learn, listen and lead — plus be able to make changes when the market does. You may have to start at the bottom, but that’s the best way to learn. As you work your way up, grab every piece of knowledge you can.
Q. How do you balance work and fun?
A. It can be tricky. My sons require a lot of attention. Being able to delegate has been key. For me, it is a lot of late nights when the kids go to bed, writing orders and keeping our books balanced and bills paid. I try to save the weekends for family time.
Q. Who helped you get to where you are today?
A. I used to work for Quiet Storm when it was a partnership based out of Bonita Springs, Florida. Founder William Dreibelbis saw something in me. He quickly promoted me, letting me help enter orders and work under the buyer. As the company grew, I became the buyer for juniors clothing, accessories, and swimwear for the majority of the stores. Dreibelbis mentored me for years, teaching me everything he knew about the business. When the partners decided to sell off their stores, my husband and I purchased the Hilton Head location.
Q. What have your experiences taught you about leadership?
A. I have always wanted to be the kind of leader that I would want to have. Throughout my career as a manager, teacher and business owner, I have learned that great leaders show respect, communicate and are humble. Respect is one of the most important pieces of leadership; respect shown to employees will help foster a caring environment, which in turn encourages others to treat co-workers, peers and clients the same way. Communication is also key — it can inspire and motivate my employees. And I always try to be humble — I don’t know everything.
Q. How long have you lived in the Lowcountry?
A. I moved to the Lowcountry from Fort Myers, Florida, 10 years ago.
1 North Forest Drive, #107,
Hilton Head Island