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SUPER HARBOR | July 2017

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Risking It All for All the Beauty of It

Risking It All for All the Beauty of It
Fikriyyah George

Creating something out of nothing is scary. What do you risk and how much? Don’t ask Katie Chang owner of the Williamsburg beauty boutique Miomia. She’s comfortable with risk. She quit her corporate job, moved to Brooklyn and opened Miomia a month later.

“This was purely my passion project. [I] packed up my bags, packed up my car, and moved out here. I sunk all of my assets into this.”

How did you get into this industry?

“Almost purely by accident” she wrote her thesis on men’s grooming in the heterosexual male market in grad school.

Katie was having drinks with a friend when the friend suggested a retail space for Katie’s business. “There’s this trendy neighborhood called Williamsburg in Brooklyn,“ Katie recalled her friend saying.

“Girl, Brooklyn, do people live there?” was her reaction. “I was so ignorant, I didn’t know anything about New York, I thought she was nuts.”

However, Katie’s feelings changed when her friend sent her a photo of the raw space the day after. “It was one of those things where something clicked in me. I move very quickly when I know I want to do something. If I don’t do this I won’t forgive myself.” She looked at the space that weekend coming in from DC, where she lived at the time.

Did you have a Plan B?

“Go back to old job, [but] I already knew I didn’t want to go back to corporate.”

Was your freelancing writing a Plan B?

“I do it just because it’s fun. I will stop it when it ceases to be fun. I’ve been doing it for 3 and half years.”

Why are there so few mom and pop beauty stores open?

“It could be a lot of different things. Unlike food or fashion, which I really enjoy, there’s a real science behind skin care.”

“You really have to understand the market. Understand your client. Understand new trends, understand how men and women consume differently. It’s a really tough climate economically. I think because of that it’s harder for mom and pop businesses.”

Any advice for entrepreneurs looking to get started?

She recommends if any entrepreneurs need web help to go to Stephanie Patafio of SuperCharged, which we at Super Harbor think is a great name.

Does building community lessen the chances of failure?

“You need to know your overhead. You need to know what’s coming in, coming out. But, that’s basic. Focus on nurturing your community, building your customers. Building your reputation. Focus on the vision.” She thinks that’s tougher than making sales happen.

Small business “it’s like a plant, if you nurture it, take care of it there will be days where it looks wilted and brown and there’s going to be days where it’s thriving and bright green.”

“I support a lot of lines that are local.” – Katie Chang

Katie’s Favorites

McBride Beauty Balm in a Stick

Why She Loves It

  • Handmade, Brooklyn-based company
  • Everything’s clean and natural
  • Moisture for lips, face and body
  • “I love everything McBride does. She’s a really special woman with a special business.”

Knock Out Cosmetics Matte Nail Polish

Why She Loves It

  • People “freak out” over the matte nail polish
  • The owner, Mike Potter, has a beautiful eye for color

Fatboy Perfect Puddy (picture above)

Why She Loves It

  • It’s their top selling hair product
  • “It flies out of here, can’t keep it on the shelf.”

Ulrich Lang (picture above)

Why She Loves It

  • Sophisticated, European sensibility
  • Refined, and understated
  • All scents are unisex; “In this day and age you can wear what you want. I have guy friends who love to wear floral, female friends who like to wear cedars.”

Brooklyn Bags Dopp Kit (picture above)

Why She Loves It

  • Hand Stitched & Lightweight
  • Exclusive to Miomia and only sewn three or four of a kind

Miomia

310 Bedford Ave.

(718) 490-5599

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Push Culture Meets Art in Billy Burg

Creatives Anonymous

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