If you have shopped at a small business in Little Rock, chances are you have felt the retail influence of Heather Smith.
With over 23 years of experience in the industry, Smith has worked, consulted or owned mom and pop shops in fields of food service, interior design and general retail – both brick-and-mortar and online. Most notably, she founded the Little Rock staples Eggshells Kitchen Co. and Domestic Domestic. Her expertise lies in the curation of products.
In Heather's words, "I passionately stock my shops with primarily functional goods you are just realizing you always needed. I always believe in quality over quantity and aesthetic over mundane."
As a small business owner, what is your vision for your business and our community?
Distinctive neighborhoods are only successful if all the pieces of the puzzle are represented. I would love to see those gaps filled in – gas, groceries, coffee, restaurants, bars, salons, pets, child care, retail, etc. Walkability, outdoor recreation access and places to gather are just as important. These things should be in every pocket of Little Rock. Hillcrest seems to come the closest to hitting this criteria. South Main also is getting there.
What advice do you have for keeping a team focused and motivated in challenging times?
Educate and listen. No one likes to be left in the dark. I try to teach my team all I can about what we sell and why we sell it. And as issues or complications arise, stay focused on what they are telling you. There is nothing more frustrating than a leader ignoring a situation.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Earlier this year, we doubled the size of the store. This expansion has allowed for more goods and room to properly display them. I feel like I now have my dream store!
Who has been the biggest influence on your life and career?
Really, me. But not in a good way. I have always been driven. Some people define that as stubborn. When I was younger, I would take motion before learning or researching. This obviously led to many mistakes. While painful and costly, my decisions finally gave way to a more thoughtful and calculated professional.
What experiences most shaped your path as a leader?
Folks will laugh at this! Athletics at Piggott High School. I had great coaches who valued the team concept. They taught me leadership and nurtured my path to success.
Tell us the most meaningful piece of career or life advice you have received.
Always have an exit plan! Think of the worst-case scenario. What if the business isn’t as successful as you wish? What if you just don’t like it? So many what-ifs. Having an exit plan will relieve late night stress.
How do you like to de-stress after a difficult day/week?
I enjoy mountain travels, folk music and web browsing, but it is hard to beat a Crown & Coke.