I’m a Tulsa Kid: Shay Finch
Shay Finch might just be one the youngest business owners in Tulsa. The Union 9th grader started her own fashion retail business, Splash of Fash, when she was 13. Today Splash of Fash thrives in a showroom in The Market in South Tulsa. Shay handles all aspects of her business from ordering and purchasing items to helping customers select fashion and gift items. Shay’s profits from her business go toward her future college degree pursuit in fashion and business.
TK: When did you become interested in fashion and how would you describe your fashion style?
Shay: For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in fashion. My first outing as a baby was to the mall. Fashion has always been an important part of my life.
My fashion style is honestly my mood of the day; it’s very diverse. I haven’t been labeled with a specific fashion style. Some people have commented, “I’ve been trying to figure out your fashion style, but it is always changing.” Having one specific style seems boring to me. I like to experiment and create outfits that look good. I think that’s why I am good at helping others with their fashion because I’m not stuck on one style.
TK: When did you decide to take the plunge into retail by renting a showroom at The Market?
Shay: I got the idea in August 2011 and with the help of my parents I was able to open by October 15.
TK: How do you pay the rent for the showroom and what do you do with your sales profits?
Shay: I pay the rent by selling merchandise and even though my rent seems high, I’ve never had a problem covering rent. So far we don’t really have a profit, but when we do, it will go toward a car and college. My parents gave me a small business loan and I’ve about paid that back, but I’m at the point where most all of the money made goes right back into the business. This holiday season was better than the last, and it seems like I’m building a following, so I’m hopeful it will continue to grow.
TK: How do you select the clothing to sell in your showroom?
Shay: By reading fashion magazines, looking at fashion websites and asking customers what they are looking for. I try to keep trendy and classic fashion and gift items on hand. I have clients my age and some are as old or older than my grammy and all ages in between. I try to select items that will work for all ages. Many things I carry, I wear, my mom wears and my grammy wears, but we all wear them differently. We go to market and meet with our wholesalers about every other month. I don’t like to pick up a brand without first knowing the quality because I like to offer boutique quality with a more affordable price.
TK: What side of retail and owning a business do you enjoy and what part is the toughest?
Shay: I enjoy going to market, and I enjoy the market research, better known as shopping. Of course we have to continue to shop to stay up on trends. That is something I had to explain to my dad. Working with the customers is fun, and I like helping them find something they love. It is always nice to see a customer come by wearing something I helped them pick out. And I love it when I am able to get customers to try on something they would normally not try and they end up loving the way it looks on them.
Probably the toughest thing is getting all the merchandise ready to display in Splash of Fash. There are a lot of steps to go through before it is ready to sell and fortunately this is where my mom and dad help me a lot. It is also tough learning what customers are looking for. I’ve learned I can’t buy just what I like but instead I want to have something that appeals to everyone.
TK: What type of degree do you plan to pursue in college and do you foresee staying in the fashion and retail industry?
Shay: I definitely see myself staying in the fashion industry. I’d like to pursue a fashion/business degree or designing and merchandising. Fortunately, I have a little time to think about that and explore all my options.
Do you know a kid or a group of kids that are doing exceptional things for others and their community? Every month we highlight these children in our “I’m a Tulsa Kid” profile. Let us know about them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.