Within weeks of finishing graduate school, two Latham women became business owners, taking over a personalized gift shop they purchased on July 15.
We always wanted to go into business, said Jodi S. Emmott, co-owner with her twin sister, Heather Stein, of the store Clearly Yours in Newton Plaza. "The opportunity just kind of fell into our laps. We went and talked to the old owner and it just went from there."
The store mainly focuses on personalizing gifts such as T-shirts and baby clothes, and its big draw is Vera Bradley products. The store has a group of sewers who embroider the names of the customers on the products they purchase as well as engravings.
While Stein said their main target audience is middle-aged women, she said the store has a wide variety of products that appeal to those in high school and college. The display window showcases back-to-school materials, a Sesame Street collection and some Vera Bradley products.
This isn't exactly what the sisters had in mind as both of them were planning on heading to New York City to look for work after they graduated from Union College in June. But when their mother, an avid customer at Clearly Yours, tipped them off that owner Mary Jo Johnson was looking to retire and sell the business, the women saw an opportunity.
"It had no electronic computer system or inventory system," said Emmott. "The layout needed to be redone. Products in this store were very similar to what they are now, but we've slowly been bringing in new lines. The customer's need wasn't being fulfilled on certain products."
According to Stein, they remodeled the store in a way that it is more open and gives customers a chance to better view the products.
With their expertise in technology and their youthful enthusiasm, Johnson said the sisters could "take the store to another level."