Overcoming Challenges

From Mother to Daughter
May 1, 2020
Never Retreat
May 1, 2020
From Mother to Daughter
May 1, 2020
Never Retreat
May 1, 2020

Paisley Park Proves to Be a Success for a Local “Momtrepreneur”

Jennifer Robinson realized a need in the Houma-Thibodaux community when she and her husband Chris visited her mother-in-law in Ponchatoula one weekend with their newborn — Paisley.

The Robinsons packed their vehicle with Paisley’s things: a swing, pack n’ play, high chair and other valuable items. “And we drove up and the truck was loaded down and my mother-in-law was like, ‘No…we’re going to go get stuff to put at my house,’” Robinson remembered.

Robinson said she didn’t see the need to buy a bunch of brand new stuff, however, her mother-in-law brought her to a second hand children’s store on the Northshore. She continued: “And I was like, ‘Why don’t we have anything like this in Houma?”

Thus, the idea for a local children’s resale shop was formed — and two years later, in 2015, that idea turned into reality as Paisley Park, named for her two children.

The store received positive feedback from moms immediately, Robinson said, and she still has regular customers from when the store was founded. “From day one, it was something that I thought would be successful,” she shared, “and then it turned out to be super fun to have in the area.”

Paisley Park buys and resales gently used children items, including clothes, apparel, strollers, high chairs, and toys, among other products. Sellers can choose cash upfront or store credit.

“We’re going to go through it with every intention of checking for recalls to make sure everything’s up to safety standards and making sure everything is free of stains, tears, odors and works properly,” Robinson added.

With the shop’s growing popularity, she was able to move it to its current location (6861 W. Park Ave., Houma) and triple the space.

“Everything,” Robinson answered on what her customers mean to her. “I don’t have inventory without my community; I don’t have the inventory without the moms that are coming in.”

“They’re also the people who turn around and come shop in this store,” she continued, “because they know they can get quality items for half the price than if they’re going to buy it from anywhere else.”

Robinson said she believes in leading a team through camaraderie. “Your employees are only going to be as good as you are. So I believe that I’m never going to ask an employee to do something that I wouldn’t do myself and get dirty doing with them,” she shared. “I’m really lucky to have an amazing team that we can kind of bounce ideas off of each other.”

The Sulphur native also said she believes in supporting other female business owners, passing out swag bags filled with samples, discounts and other items from local women-led businesses.

“That might be one of my favorite things that I’ve adopted at Paisley Park,” she said. “Just honestly because I had so many supportive women whenever I first started through the Chamber of Commerce and through the bank that I was dealing and with other people around the community.”

Robinson also knows some of the challenges women can face when starting out.

“The biggest challenges I faced as a woman came very early on, not just a woman but a young person going into a vacant building and meeting individuals, whether it was the contractor who had just built it, or it was the landlord who owned it,” Robinson recalled. “The challenges I faced were very like, ‘Oh, do you think that you can handle this little lady?’”

She doesn’t believe anyone meant those comments maliciously, Robinson said. “There’s a generation gap, and fortunately I grew up with a dad and three brothers who taught me how to hold my own,” she shared.

Fearlessness is something she hopes all future female business owners have.

“My biggest advice for any women out there who are wanting to start a business is don’t let anything scare you away from doing it,” Robinson shared. “I traveled the state with both of my kids in infant seats in the backseat of the car for a year and a half before I opened the business. I opened this business with a six-month-old child nursing in the backroom.”

“As long as you know that you have to work harder than anybody in the room and that you have more to prove because you are a woman,” she added, “you can absolutely do it and can prove yourself.”