Hello SOTGC Community,
I would like to introduce the SOTGC readers to a wonderful, intelligent, funny, and extremely driven friend of mine who will be referred to as “CK”. I’ve known CK for around eight years now. Our lives have definitely taken us on various journeys and through it all we have remained in touch. I especially wanted to get an interview with her because I see more and more women starting entrepreneurial ventures and I wanted to get her story to help guide or inspire others.
Christina’s Fashions opened its doors in May of 1986 in what was then, the underdeveloped industrial part of Chula Vista, California. It took many years of blood, sweat, and tears for this little family owned, mom and pop retail store to grow into a larger and very successful specialty store selling women’s formalwear for special occasions. The enormous amount of hard work and dedication the store’s owner and her loyal employees have had to put into it to make the store a success for over 27 years is pretty amazing.
In the beginning, Christina’s started out selling very casual women’s clothing and accessories. After about the first seven years in business, the owner decided that Christina’s should change out its casual merchandise to more specialized items in order to accommodate the demand for formal dresses in the area.
Due to some extremely fierce competition in the first fifteen years, the store’s owner and buyers decided to take their purchasing to the next level and try selling something more specialized. They started to travel all over the country to different trade shows in order to purchase dresses that you could not find at any department store or mall in San Diego.
In a strategic move, Christina’s started offering specialized brand named dresses that other stores were not able to carry due to zoning rights of specific designer brands. Once customers started noticing the high-end, unique products the store carried and the services they offered, the business really took off.
Christina’s is now a global brand due to their internet site and is especially well-known in neighboring areas of San Diego, all over Baja California, and even into Mexico.
CK is honored to have been a part of this wonderful and successful team for over 20 years. She has served as the owner’s “right hand woman” through the roller coaster of a journey, and has loved every minute. Not only has it enhanced her knowledge of the “to do” and “to not do’s” of entrepreneurialism, but it’s incentivized her to start coming up with ideas for her own business one day.
What is the one trait you admire most in others?
Ambition. This is probably because I have witnessed this trait in many of my relatives and family my whole life…this particular trait really seems to elevate people to another level in their careers/jobs/businesses. Goals and dreams can be attained if you work hard and want it bad enough.
What is the one trait you admire most in yourself?
The ability to be patient. I am surrounded a lot by those that are not patient and this can get irritating. Having the patience to think things through before I speak or act has really paid off for me in business and in my personal life as well. Sometimes it is just better to wait and take a moment before doing or saying anything.
Which quality or attitude internal to women have you observed that sets women back in the workplace?
Not having enough confidence in themselves. Some women are plenty capable of doing exactly what is asked of them and more, but they freeze or shut down at the slightest pressure because they tell themselves they cannot do it. This lack of confidence then gets these women “run over” by the confident ones at work which is even worse. Confidence is critical at work…and for a happy life in general I think.
Which external situation/circumstance do you believe sets women back in the workplace?
Jealousy is definitely a huge problem amongst women in the workplace. This jealousy sometimes leads them to spend more energy on the drama that doesn’t even exist, than on their actual work, which is completely un productive. So if you have a lot going for you and you know someone else does not, do the courteous thing and don’t share or brag about it. It sounds easy enough but this scenario still happens, unfortunately.
What is the hardest lesson for working women to learn?
The hardest lesson for working women to learn is who to trust at work. It is probably best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but cover your own butt.
Which book is on your nightstand?
Right now I am re-reading parts of this wonderful book “The Voice of Knowledge” by Don Miguel Ruiz. Love how this book helps us to stay conscious, authentic, truthful, and keep our spiritual eyes open.
What woman do you feel is a role model in today’s working industry (could be any industry)?
I would definitely have to say my mother is one of the best role models in today’s working industry. She has so many traits that I admire and look up to. She is definitely the “captain of her ship” and a great one at that! She is super ambitious, very confident, most loyal friend, brutally honest, and will go above and beyond to help someone she cares about.
What is the quality you admire most in a successful man?
One that can juggle his work, family, hobbies/interests, and friends all at the same time… He prioritizes well and makes sure he has time for all of these people/things because they are all important to him.
The quality you admire most in a successful woman?
The same as above, this is something I strive to practice on a daily basis.
A virtue you believe is underrated?
Being “brutally honest” and telling someone what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. However, there is a thin line between being brutally honest and being cruel (it is all in the tone and choice of words).
What is your idea of happiness?
To find my life partner, and together we would live a very simple life, along with many people around us to love and to receive love from. My parents taught me that a simple life along with marriage and having my own family to raise, is a very happy life and I couldn’t agree more! It would also be wonderful to have the means to live “comfortably” and not worry about money.
What do you value most in friends?
I value their time and reciprocation of love…friendship is a 2 way street!
What, in your mind, would be the greatest of misfortunes?
To give up on someone you’re dating before you get to truly know them, because you never know what that relationship can blossom into! If this was the case for me, I would not be married to the man of my dreams today!
What do you believe is a working woman’s greatest fear?
Not making enough time to “find” a partner for life (that is if she wants to get married one day) because her focus is on her career so much there is no time for dating. Also fears that you may miss so many of life’s precious moments that you cannot get back. For example, if you are a working mom, you may not being able to witness when your baby says his/her first word, or takes his/her first steps, because you are at work!
In your career, what has been your greatest regret? Do you feel this is a male oriented regret or one shared by men and women alike?
Wishing I could go back and change a couple of situations at work in terms of how I handled them. I believe this is shared by both men and women alike.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Beautiful” and “gorgeous”
Cite an example of a woman who you feel made a great achievement?
My aunt had been a very hard worker all her life. She was the kind of employee that goes above and beyond the call of duty for her company and helps her co-workers all the time without the boss knowing. One day she had an aneurism and almost lost her life in an instant. Not only did she overcome her illness, but she also became a spokesperson for specialist doctors to educate the world on how it is possible for people to survive an aneurism with the latest technology. Years later after fully recovering from her aneurism, she now owns her own high-tech LED screen company, and is a very successful entrepreneur! She is wonderful example of someone who has made great achievements in their life despite everything she had to go through to get there.
List five qualities that this woman had that you feel helped her achieve her success.
Spirituality, courage, strength, intelligence, and wisdom.
What do you think is the greatest difference between our mother’s generation and our own?
We are less close-minded about all of the unique and different cultures that exist.
One piece of advice to young women in the workplace
Believe in yourself, be confident, and know that you can do anything you set your mind to!