The Evolution of Business

posted Wednesday, January 09

Yesterday I heard news that made me reflect about the life of an independent business and the role of evolution in an entrepreneur’s success.

One of our long time members, cheerleaders for local business and friend announced she was closing her local brick-and-mortar retail store, Nana. My initial reaction was melancholia. I was sad that we were losing an independently owned business. Sad that we were losing retail. Sad that we were losing a interesting store that makes the Mount Pleasant street scape, “SO DC”.

Jackie took a plunge almost a decade ago to pursue a dream. She went two feet in (in cute shoes, no doubt) opening a business in her neighborhood because even as an infant independent business owner she knew it was important to work where you live and that your best customers are your neighbors. As her life changed and progressed she relocated this business to Mount Pleasant, where she and her customers now resided. And with this Nana continued to evolve as a business, grow and creatively engage customers. Jackie continued to build community with her business—internally with events, in her neighborhood as an organizer and with activation of MADE in DC artists through temporiums. Last year she released a personally designed and locally manufactured clothing line that began slowly to take over the racks at her store (and sometimes my closet). She was evolving and growing as a business owner. All continuing to grow personally and shift her business in a direction that made sense for her life and the lives of her customers.

Yesterday Jackie announced that she would be dimming the lights of her brick-and-mortar Mount Pleasant location. She would continue to produce her MADE in DC clothing line and feature handcrafted designers at trunk shows and pop-ups around the city. Her store will continue, but now online. As I reflect today on the news I am less melancholy and more excited and inspired. She is once again evolving as a business owner— a trait that I have always admired about Jackie and other successful entrepreneurs. Nana may not be enhancing the Mount Pleasant street scape but Jackie is continuing to enhance our community… and local economy. As her clothing line grows so does the independent, locally-owned company that produces it. With each event and pop-up she will be activating new space and new neighborhoods. With this shift in doing business she is growing herself and ideas and perpetuating the entrepreneurship that created the first Nana on U Street.

We wish Jackie and her locally owned business happiness and growth in this new journey. Knowing your expiration dates, having a vision for evolution and guts to act on it are character traits we wish for all of our members!

Stacey Price, Executive Director of Think Local First DC"