We all have that dream of quitting our day jobs and pursuing the thing we love: opening a bakery or yoga studio, or blogging full-time, or going back to school for a totally different, more fulfilling career. For lots of us (myself included) though, we only get as far as imaging what that would be like. Because quitting a stable job is a risk, and it’s easy for fear to get in the way.
But Hanadi Hamzeh, owner of South Boston’s new consignment boutique, Covet, took that risk when she quit her job at a hospital to pursue her dream of opening her own shop. We caught up with her to see how the first few months were going.
BEFORE YOU STARTED COVET, YOU HAD A TOTALLY DIFFERENT CAREER PATH. WHAT MADE YOU GO IN ANOTHER DIRECTION? DID YOU HAVE AN ‘AHA’ MOMENT?
Before I started Covet, I was working at Massachusetts General Hospital in a lab. I loved being there, but always knew I wanted more – I always wanted to have my own shop. After months of planning I took the leap and quit my job to start on the path that would lead to where I am now!
THE STORE HAS BEEN OPEN FOR A FEW MONTHS. HOW’S IT GOING?
The store has been open for a little over two months and it has been wonderful so far. Women come into the shop all the time telling me that Southie (especially the West side) needed a place like this. People have been very receptive to the shop… I feel like I have the best customers. Not to mention, because I get new items in daily, I’ve already developed quite a few regulars who I love!
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BEST AND HARDEST PARTS ABOUT OPENING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
There are so many great parts to having my own shop. I’m in full control of the day to day in the shop and I love interacting with my customers and my consignors. Plus being able to have my dog Olive by my side is absolutely the best! In terms of the hardest part of opening a business – it certainly wasn’t easy getting to this point. But I will say, there really hasn’t been any truly negative aspects. Any hardship is worth it…
COVET IS CONSIGNMENT. WHAT SORTS OF ITEMS DO YOU GET IN THE STORE? ANY GREAT PIECES YOU HAVE THERE NOW?
My big thing when accepting pieces in the shop to sell is that everything has to be a “treasure.” You won’t see any basics in here – those aren’t fun! I have beautiful cocktail dresses, colorful high heels and unique and different accessories. A little something for everyone! A few of my favorite items at the moment include a vintage sequin black blazer, a color-blocked Diane von Furstenberg satchel, and a cool pair of brand new Frye boots.
FOR LADIES LOOKING TO CONSIGN THEIR CLOTHING, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR?
I tell them that condition is the most important thing I look for. Items must be seasonally appropriate and in style.
DO YOU NOTICE CERTAIN THINGS FLY OFF THE SHELVES?
In terms of brands, the usual suspects you would expect fly off the shelf very quickly – think Tory Burch, Theory, Rebecca Minkoff, etc. But otherwise – women just like finding pretty things that are versatile – I didn’t realize until I opened up my shop how practical women can be when they shop (I’m sure the husbands and boyfriends of the world would totally disagree with that!).
THE STORE DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A TYPICAL CONSIGNMENT SHOP- IT HAS MORE OF A BOUTIQUE FEEL. IS THAT INTENTIONAL, AND IF SO, WHY DID YOU WANT TO MAKE IT THAT WAY?
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT AS A NEW BUSINESS OWNER SO FAR?
My proudest moment was definitely opening day. It took me two years time and blood, sweat and tears to open these doors. Finally getting to that point and being so warmly accepted was such a wonderful feeling and such a big achievement for me.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER WOMEN WHO WANT TO QUIT THEIR DAYS JOBS AND START THEIR OWN BUSINESSES OR GO IN A TOTALLY DIFFERENT DIRECTION?