Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristi Hipple, Owner of CT Weekends, located in Raleigh, NC, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

CT Weekends is a ladies' apparel/accessory boutique that caters to women who want to embrace their individual styles. Our typical customer is between 35 and 80 but knows that age is just a number. I offer apparel and accessories from throughout the world, providing unique products not found in other stores. I also spend a considerable amount of time with my customers, helping them choose clothes that best flatter their figures. The goal at the store is not to "sell" a customer but instead to have her feel good and confident about what she has purchased.

Tell us about yourself

When I graduated from college with a major in sociology and behavioral science, retail was the furthest thing from my mind. I was offered a job in the management training program of a local department store/specialty store chain and found this was something I enjoyed and was very good at. After working 21 years in the corporate world (and progressing from an assistant buyer to VP of Merchandising), I had the opportunity to open my own store, and I jumped at the chance. Leaving behind a steady paycheck was a bit unnerving, but that also motivated me to bring my A-game. This is my livelihood, and I was determined to make it succeed. Now, after owning the store for 24 years, my customers have become like family, and interacting with them on a daily basis makes my "job" a pleasure.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My greatest accomplishment has been weathering the storm of the 2008 financial crisis and surviving thru COVID. My corporate experience, vendor relationships, and unbelievably loyal customer base help me not only survive but thrive thru these difficult times. It forced me to think differently and become more nimble.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Understanding that cash is king. Most new businesses fail in the first year or two because they are underfunded.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Create a concept that makes you stand out from your competition. Don't just imagine it; write it down, analyze it, tweak it and then implement it.
  2. After formulating a business plan, make sure you are adequately funded and can withstand some difficult months as your business grows.
  3. Be flexible! Situations can change quickly, and you need to be able to adapt. Change is good.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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