Meet Angela Phelps, owner of Le Village Marche, a Parisian-inspired home decor & gift boutique. With this month being National Women’s Small Business Month,we asked Angela for the inside scoop on her entrepreneurial journey. Here’s what she shared.
Q. What inspired you to start your own business?
I began my career in media relations, which took me from college sports to radio, television, and publishing. In between all of that, I took a trip to Paris in 2000, and a seed was planted to do something different in my career. Six years later, I made the decision to get out of the Washington, DC rat race and do something I was truly passionate about – opening my own business and being my own boss. Being able to pair my creative side with my type-A personality was exactly where I thrived. In 2007, I opened my first boutique in Shirlington, and in 2015, I opened my second location at Cathedral Commons in Northwest DC.
Q. What piece of advice would you give aspiring women business owners?
(1) It can’t be about the money. If you’re going to start your own business, it has to be something you are passionate about at your core. If you want it to survive and succeed, you have to give everything to this “child.” Everything else in your life must take a backseat and that can be very tough. It requires a lot of commitment and there will be ups and downs. If you’re not in it for the right reasons, the lows can make you want to throw in the towel. The passion is what will keep you going.
(2) Identify your strengths and weaknesses before you open the business. Figure out what you’re good at – and do that. Hire people (experts) to cover the areas where you are weak.
Q. How do you plan to celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month?
By making a special effort to support women-owned businesses. At Cathedral Commons, we have a number of women-owned businesses & locally-owned small businesses. It takes a lot of courage to open a small business, especially in today’s climate with so much online competition. Local businesses are the backbone to our communities – they are gathering places to meet up with friends, they give our neighborhoods a special charm, and the taxes generated from them stay here locally. Their survival is a huge concern of mine.
Q. How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
Work/life balance is a huge priority for me, which was one of the main reasons I left my career. I’m an extrovert, so in retail I’m lucky because I’m constantly being re-charged by being around people. Don’t get me wrong, by the end of the week, I definitely need some me time. I’m also not the kind of person that needs week-long vacations a few times a year. I can take small chunks of time out throughout the week to keep my batteries recharged. It’s amazing what a mid-week happy hour or Sunday winery outing with friends can do to eliminate the stress of the week.
Q. What was the biggest sacrifice or hurdle you faced to start your business?
I left my career making nearly six figures to open a retail business, completely on my own. So, salary was definitely a sacrifice. At the same time, money wasn’t making me happy, so I was willing to give up anything to find what fulfilled me. Thankfully, I found it. I have always known this was exactly what I was meant to do in life.