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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Gerstenberger

My Favorite Entrepreneur

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

I remember as a young parent wondering just how my children would turn out.  Would they finish high school, get accepted to college, find the love of their life, start a family and be successful at forging a career?

My son Rob always knew what he wanted to do.  He started reading the Wall Street Journal in the first grade and hasn’t stopped.  Today he’s in the investment management business with the Bishop Wealth Management Group at Janney Montgomery Scott and is truly in his “sweet spot”.  He manages all of my money and  I frequently remind him to do a good job since half of what remains after my wife and I are gone will be his!

My daughter Kathryn took a different route to success.  Like her brother, she also possesses strong relationship building skills.  While he’s more analytical, Kathryn is very creative and developed a particular interest in art and fashion.

During her senior year in high school, I was on a flight to Philadelphia one day and happened to be seated next to a man who shared that his daughter had recently enrolled in the Fashion Design Program at Philadelphia University, formerly known as the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences.

Kathryn applied, was accepted and graduated from the program in 2006 with a degree in Fashion Design.  That year she also received the Neiman Marcus Award for the “Most Saleable Collection” in the school’s Spring Fashion Show.

Her first job after graduating was designing young boys clothes for Dillard’s in their Little Rock, AR corporate headquarters.  As her father I was comforted by the fact that she had settled into a meaningful career…boy was I wrong!

Shortly after her one-year anniversary at Dillard’s, and on the eve of her wedding, Kathryn announced that once married she and her husband would be moving to Hong Kong to teach English as a foreign language.  I tell people that while I had the wedding in my budget for that year, I had not budgeted for the trip my wife and I took to Hong Kong over Thanksgiving to visit our daughter and son in law…but that’s where we spent the holiday.

Over the ensuing ten years, Kathryn and her husband Cullen also lived in Little Rock; Washington, DC; and Managua, Nicaragua before returning to her home in western Pennsylvania.

As she was settling in to Pittsburgh, Kathryn called one day to tell me that she had just signed a lease.  My response was, “great, where will you be living?”  After which she explained that the lease was for a store front in the village of Sewickley, PA where she planned to open a women’s clothing store.

Rosewood Boutique opened in April of 2012 and over the next four years I enjoyed a ringside seat from which I watched my daughter grow a 21st century business.

While much of what she accomplished was from the “retail sales 101 playbook”, a great deal of her approach to growing Rosewood was the result of true outside the box thinking.  She collaborated with other businesses in town; held pop-up stores at various venues around the city; and developed more than 14,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram which enabled her to established a strong on-line sales revenue channel.

Needless to say - I was a proud Poppa and comforted by the fact that Kathryn had found her niche and was finally settling down…boy was I wrong!

Perhaps you can imagine my shock when Kathryn informed us in the fall of 2016 that she had decided to close Rosewood and spend the next year traveling the world.  And so, in January of 2017, with a laptop, a stroller, three pieces of luggage and two girls under the age of four, Kathryn and her family left Pittsburgh.

During the ensuing 12 months they lived in Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Europe and the western United States.  Staying in AirBnBs my son-in-law Cullen was able to work remotely and supported their family by advising retail clients on how to effectively monetize social media to drive revenue for their businesses (skills learned by helping Rosewood do the same during the previous four years).

Kathryn and her family returned to Pittsburgh in early 2018.  Later that year she gave birth to their third child, a boy, as she and Cullen continued ramping up their social media consulting practice.

About a month ago, Kathryn called to say that she was about to sign a lease.  This time I knew enough to ask where the store front was located and learned that she’s taking over the former Cocothé restaurant in Sewickley, PA.

In a few weeks this storefront will be reopened under the name, The Loveliest Coffee and Clothes.

During the time she spent traveling the world Kathryn came up with the idea of creating a coffee shop environment that would also feature unique women’s clothes with many of the styles in her store’s collection inspired by her travels around the world.

While her grand opening date has yet to be determined.  She has developed a Crowd Funding campaign for individuals interested in investing in her newest venture.

So, if you find yourself in Sewickley, please let me know  as I’d love to introduce you to my favorite entrepreneur…the first cup of coffee is on me!

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