Rachel Hall Taravella – P.O.W.E.R.ful Women
Owner (and Principal), Monomin (and Taravella Design-Build)
Q: How would you describe your business?
“We offer beautiful clothing within an aspiration space at an affordable price”. Our mission is to select beautiful, quality clothing from independent designers and private labels and make it available to women at a price they can afford. Many people think we’re incredibly expensive, due to our outward appearance and the architecture of the space, but the truth is majority of our items are under $200 many of which are under $100.
Q: When did you launch?
In 2014 online and 2016 brick and mortar
Q: How were you inspired to start your business?
I am an architect and designer by education, but I always had a love for fashion. I would walk into some of these store and felt overwhelmed by the displays, so I wanted to create a retail space that felt soothing and clear but also inviting. I wanted the store to be an extension of my architectural style which is Monochromatic and Minimal – which is the origin of our name, MONOMIN.
Q: What were the biggest obstacles and how were they overcome?
Certainly cost and budgeting – haha. I didn’t realize how much this dream would cost! I didn’t go to business school, but I’m smart and had the entrepreneurial spirit. So I knew before I run this in a ditch I needed to hire a business advisor. Natalie Barranco of Prime Business Advisory Solutions is truly my saving grace and got me back on track. She even connected with the POWER group!
Q: What local resources have you used?
I have definitely tried to take advantage of as many networking opportunities that I can with POWER. You never know who you are going to meet and connect with.
Q: What is your big focus right now?
Expanding our presence on different platforms. We’re known for our Instagram page, as we were one of the first to realize it’s power not just as a selling platform but as a mood board to support your brand. Six months ago, we developed an exclusive private face book group called Monomin 2.0, where myself and my store manager, Brooke St. Amant, style outfits and explain and sell them in video format. That platform has snowballed into generating so much revenue that we treat it as a separate store to our brick and mortar. We now are exploring a youtube platform, which we call the MONOMINUTE, where we are building on the facebook popularity. On that channel, we discuss fashion, design, and beauty, in hopes that it can be another revenue stream for us.
Q: What are your goals?
We set incentive goals for the shop and for the sale associates. Everyone is aware of our daily goal, monthly goal and annual goal in terms of revenue and they receive bonuses if these goals are met. Our goal for next year is to start our own private label of clothing.
Q: What is the best advice you ever received?
To not attempt to finish every task on your plate by the end of the day. Get it done when you can to avoid being overwhelmed. My my type of personality, I’m a hyper perfectionist and I would feel like a failure if I didn’t get things wrapped up immediately. I would stay up all night just to make sure everything was done on time or ahead of schedule. I learned to stop beating myself up about it, set some limits and introduced a new pace to my life that has been very beneficial.
Q: What success have you had in the last year?
I own and operate two businesses that are very demanding of time, along with being a mother of two small children ages 1 and 4. My other business outside of Monomin is Taravella Design-Build where I am the lead architect and contractor. So we do boutique renovation jobs. I only have one architect working with me so it’s a 2 person firm. It’s incredibly demanding. I love architecture and will never quit, but I took a break from client work to focus on Monomin.
Since that decision, it allowed me to think more creatively on how to grow Monomin. This is when we developed our facebook group, Monomin 2.0, and since then I have more than doubled our revenue from the previous year. The success of the group is that it’s super easy for our customers to shop. They see how the outfits fit on two different body types, the get discounted prices to in-store items and they receive their items typically within 2-days for free. So it’s easy for the busy mom on the go who’s used to an Amazon Prime lifestyle.
Q: What has been the biggest benefit of being a POWER member?
The network of fellow business women is so important. Many of us have the challenges of balancing home life, being a mom and running a business which is a unique set of circumstances that only a few can relate to. So, knowing there like-minded people like you that you can lean on and be supported by is extremely beneficial.
Q: What does POWER mean to you?
Power to me is about celebrating women entrepreneurs who are lifting each other in a group. Some times when you are in your bubble, you can feel very alone. But knowing that we all share the same unique struggles, especially as being women entrepreneurs, it’s a very powerful message and group that I’m proud to be a part of.