Interview with Woman in Business Owner Nadi Ovanessoff, the owner of Gift Guiders
1. What do you enjoy most about your profession and why did you choose it in the first place? What was the inspiration for your company/project?
From the time I was a child I have loved redecorating spaces. I would go somewhere and in my mind’s eye I would redo the room I was in. I remember sitting in the waiting room before my guitar lesson and redecorating the entire space. It didn’t matter where I was, a home, business, there was always something that needed to be changed. When I went into retail it was the perfect fit for me. The home accessories & furnishings market is like fashion, it is constantly changing’ which is intriguing and exciting to me. Once I opened my own retail store, customers were always coming in and asking for help buying a gift for a friend or family member. It was at that point that the idea of having a place where you could go to get information about what a friend or family member likes or dislikes came to me. At the time, 20 odd years ago when I came up with the idea, I wasn’t sure how to market it. Several more years passed, I hadn’t done anything with the idea until my daughter’s birthday. When she was 5 years old she loved everything pink & sequined, by her 6th birthday she hated the color pink & didn’t want to be near anything with a sequin on it. Well, almost every gift she received for her 6th birthday was either pink or had sequences all over it, she was heart-broken. That was when I decided I needed to put my idea for Gift Guiders into action.
2. Tell us about any new projects you have coming up (or recently completed).
At the moment I am beginning phase 2 of Gift Guiders. I have some new ideas to add to the site to make it even more user-friendly as well as some new and exciting features. One of the new features we are working on is a mobile app, so you can have your family & friend’s lists with you when you are out and about shopping. Whether you are buying gifts for the holidays or a special occasion & want to know a favorite color or style or you are inviting someone out and want to know what their favorite type of food, or restaurant is you can have all that information with you. Gift Guiders is an on-going never-ending project. The wonderful thing about an online business is you never run out of space, you can keep adding new ideas and features.
3. What is a typical day like for you?
My day starts at 7 am. I take my youngest daughter to school, I try to get in a little exercise to start the, one day or two days a week I spend at the store with my partner (who happens to be my mother, we have been in business together for the past 20 years) redoing displays & putting out new merchandise, the other days of the week I spend in my office working on Gift Guiders and my retail business. My work days end around 2:45 when I head down to pick my daughter up from school and begin the afternoon afterschool commute to the many activities she is engaged in. Generally I am home around 7:30 when I get dinner ready, have some family time and then spend a couple hours on the computer working on networking for homeless and abandoned animals, talking to long distance family & friends or relaxing with my family.
4. Tell us about your community involvement – what you are passionate about outside of work and home and why/how you participate?
I am passionate about animals and spend a lot of time working on animal issues. I am also co-leader of my daughter’s Girl Scout troop. We started the troop back when the girls were in kindergarten and here we are 8 years later working with a wonderful group of young girls that we are very proud of. My hope is that each of the girls will take with them the memories, and experiences we have had and give back to their community in some way. I am also very involved with my daughter’s charter school and have been since my oldest started kindergarten 13 years ago.
5. What is the biggest risk you ever took professionally and/or the biggest obstacle you have overcome?
The biggest risk I have taken professionally has been putting my idea for Gift Guiders into action. Creating my own business was a bit scary at first.
6. From where do you draw inspiration? Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?
I draw an enormous amount of inspiration from my family and friends. My husband has been my biggest source of inspiration. His strength and determination in every aspect of his own life has been an incredible inspiration to me. He pushed me to go forward with Gift Guiders even though I was somewhat hesitate because this was not only new territory for me, but also uncharted waters. The rest of my family and friends have all been there to give me advice, feedback and support. They have all been extremely encouraging, which has in turn given me tremendous confidence moving forward.
7. What do you do to keep yourself sharp? What one thing have you done in the past year that has made a significant difference in your life/your business?
I believe you never stop learning, so in order to keep myself sharp I am constantly reading books, articles, researching on line, going to trade shows and talking to people. This past year I have pushed myself to learn more about on-line business, marketing and I have worked on increasing my computer skills so that I can continue expanding Gift Guiders. One of the things I have done this past year is listen to my inner voice and believe in myself.
8. What one thing would you like to learn this year?
I keep coming back to this question trying to come up with an answer and I haven’t been able to. This is a difficult question to answer because there is really nothing I would not want to learn about.
9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I see myself running a highly successful business. I see Gift Guiders not only as a successful business but also successfully giving back to the community. I believe that success is built on a foundation of hard work, determination and the desire to contribute back to your community.
10. What do you do for fun/relaxation/entertainment?
I love to travel, go to the theater, movies, museums, restaurants, entertain, and my all time favorite thing to do is spend time with my family & friends.
Learn more at www.giftguiders.com