Ansley Goodman received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree last spring. Bucking a slow economy, the accounting major from Selmer, Tenn., has just opened a fashion store in her hometown. Read about her big dreams and how her experiences at FHU helped set her on her way.
What are some of your favorite memories of your time at FHU?
Some of my favorite memories definitely include Makin’ Music. I think Makin’ Music is one of the best things about Freed. My freshman year, I was involved in Chi Beta’s winning show. Sophomore year, I directed Theta Nu’s first show. Junior year, I was a coordinator, and senior year, I was a hostess. I feel blessed to have been a part of so many different aspects of the show! Being in the Ambassadors for two years is another great memory; the friendships I made through that experience are life-long. Last but definitely not least, the friendships I made in the dorms are invaluable. I was lucky to have the same roommates from my first semester to my last semester. They are great girls, and two out of the three made it to my grand opening!
In what ways did your time at FHU prepare you for this new venture?
My time at FHU taught me many people skills, time-management skills, and life lessons. Once you go to college and get out on your own for the first time, there’s much to be learned to “keep your head above the water.” I believe that being involved can make your college experience. To be involved, you have to be organized and responsible; therefore, many of the skills I learned at college are carrying over into my business today.
What classes and/or teachers at FHU continue to inspire you?
As an accounting major, my business classes were some of my favorites. I think Freed-Hardeman has a wonderful business department. Mrs. Judy McKenzie has the sweetest soul and always had an interest in my future. Mark Steiner always made class so real--I remember sitting in his office discussing the possibility of opening my shop and seeking his opinion. He encouraged me to go for it, which actually surprised me. Obviously, it was the answer I was looking for, but I figured he would think it would be smarter for me to work as an accountant for a few years to build some capital before I tried to start my own business. He insisted I follow my dreams and that continues to stick out to me. I also always enjoyed Lee Hibbett’s classes. Even though he always tried to convert me into a marketing major, he always had good advice.
Describe your new store.
I have striven to find unique clothing items at affordable prices. My goal was to display my merchandise in different ways from the normal store. I didn’t want the standard, chrome, clothing rack. I’ve used old ladders and wooden chairs to hang clothes from and antique pieces of furniture to display other items. My store is located in an old building in downtown Selmer. It had to be completely renovated, but I tried to keep as much of its character as I could, including the original wood floors and tile ceiling. Its location above one of the busiest hair salons in town is ideal.
How did you decide to open a fashion store in a small town at this particular time?
Growing up in Selmer, I always had to go out of town to do my shopping. I never thought I would return to my hometown, but once I left, I discovered that I really did appreciate its heritage and the people I had left behind. I wanted the residents of Selmer and the surrounding areas to be able to buy locally, no matter the occasion, without having to drive an hour to Jackson or even further to Memphis or Nashville.
Were you walking around campus with this idea in your head when you were a student?
I was. I have had this dream since I was in high school. I just didn’t think I would be able to reach my goal until later in my life. I was just worried that if I put it off, I would never obtain it. My motto throughout this process has been “live your passion.”
What are your long-range goals for the business?
My long-range goal for my business is to hopefully expand, maybe even become a small chain. If I do so, I would love to always be located in small, downtown buildings.
What has been the most difficult or fun about opening a business?
The most difficult thing about opening a business is all the decision-making. Also, there are so many hidden expenses you don’t think about that continue to add up. It’s hard to think about every decision and expense before you make the decision to open a business! It is rewarding though to sell things that people like and for people to enjoy coming into your store.
Tell me about the charitable contributions you hope to make through the store.
Each month, I hope to help support a different cause. I will give 3% of my sales to whichever cause I feel is worthy that particular month. For my grand opening weekend, I gave 3% of my sales to Matt and Charla Cook, both Freed alumni and former ministers at my home congregation. They have been very close to my heart throughout this process and mean so much to me. Giving to them was the least I could do. My next contribution will be to my sisters Meredith and Lauren who will be traveling to Africa in December. As a part of Meredith’s senior project, hey are raising awareness for girls in in Africa who don’t have access to sanitary pads. They and others are sewing reusable sanitary pads and delivering them.
What advice do you have for current FHU students?
My advice to current FHU students is to take advantage of every opportunity given them during their time at college. One I regret not taking advantage of is the study abroad programs and I’ll never be able to get that back. No matter what your degree is in when you graduate, try doing what you love, whether that requires your going back to school or not! Life is too short not to enjoy going to work every day!
wow..... i like this
This is incredible! It's great to be able to read about a success story like this from a student of FHU!
I was listening to my CYC 2012 album just as I was reading this article and was surprised when I heard Ansley's name just as I was reading about her! She has a beautiful, pure voice that was singing for the Lord. Also, reading about her boutique with the creative ideas and the contributions makes me want to travel down to Selmer to check it out!