When Marsha Rule opened her latest boutique, things were going to be different. She would let her past experiences guide her. Any mistakes made are purely learning tools.
Rule is a Cortez native and Montezuma-Cortez High School graduate. At 34, her savvy approach to business and her eye for style and fashion, has proved marketable once again with her second Cortez shop, Envy Salon and Boutique.
Five years prior to opening Envy, Rule closed the doors to Crossroads, her first boutique, located at 25 E. Main Street in downtown Cortez to open her location in Durango.
A shop on Durango's downtown Main Avenue had always been a goal for Rule. However, when she and her husband decided to not relocate to Durango, the store closed two years later.
Rule then decided to enroll in a private beauty school. A Cut Above beauty academy is owned by Deanna Hinton, another stylist in town. She graduated with a confident air of knowing exactly the kind of salon experience she wanted to provide her customers.
"That's one of the main reasons why I opened my own shop," Rule said. "I wanted a professional, clean, positive environment. With my previous experience I knew I could do that."
Her newest endeavor has been at 209 E. Main Street since May of 2010. But for the past six weeks Envy has grown from a salon to a retail establishment.
Rule rented the building from Rocky Mountain One Stop owners, Matt and Donna Livengood. This was her first go at a salon and Rule felt that her past storefront experience was only going to make this time around better. She also had a firm idea of what she wanted her new store to encompass from both a professional and customer standpoint.
"I strive to make sure everyone has a good experience and are satisfied," Rule said. "A positive atmosphere is very important for my business."
Offering a full service salon was only the first step for her shop. Clothing, accessories and cosmetics became a key staple. The gradual increase of merchandise eventually had the salon packed with shoppers, customers getting haircuts and customers waiting for haircuts.
"I had been renting from them (Livingoods) for awhile and we had outgrown ourselves," she explained. "We were hoping to work something out so we wouldn't have to move and luckily we were able to do that."
It was luck indeed. Rule made an offer to the Livengoods and was able to purchase the extra space, which doubled her store's size by 1,000 square feet.
Rule had new floors and lighting installed and painted the interior and exterior. The entrance to the store was moved and the outside was touched up to give the entire shop a seamless look.
Rule said her expanded space doesn't include a huge amount of new product but it is more spread out. The boutique boasts two dressing rooms, a selection of footwear, two cases for jewelry, lots of purses, jeans and racks of dresses and tops, not to mention the many accessories dressing up every rack and table.
It's hard to believe it all fit into one small store, considering her salon offers manicures, pedicures, makeup application, waxing, tanning, facials and full service hair styling.
Including Rule, Envy has three stylists, two who also provide the manicures and pedicures and she has room for more. Since expanding her store, she gained a receptionist who is in charge of the boutique and manages the phone calls.
"It's nice to have a receptionist who can take calls and make appointments so it doesn't take away from the stylists' work," Rule said.
Rule wanted to run a salon her way. Her previous experience helped to quickly optimize her store and gave her the knowledge she needed to venture further into retail. She knows there are limited stores for women to shop locally but knows the importance of shopping locally. "If we don't shop locally, there won't be anything here when we do want to or need to," she said. "As a small town not everything we need is available to us. If we can shop here we should to help preserve our downtown." Rule is helping the women in and around Cortez who are fashion-forward and trendy by giving them a place to get exactly what they want. firstname.lastname@example.org