One of the largest women’s magazines in the country is featuring a local entrepreneur’s story to show that good things can happen in a bad economy. As an executive at Bellevue-based Eddie Bauer, Stephanie Storm-Robertson says the paychecks were great, but as the economy tanked company sales struggled and management needed to reduce expenses. In 2009, despite overseeing $250 million worth of women’s apparel inventory in more than 500 Eddie Bauer retail stores Storm-Robertson got downsized. “The last time I applied for jobs I received multiple offers, relocation packages and ample benefits,” says the 41-year-old Redmond resident told REDBOOK magazine. “This time no one responded. I realized my future success depended on my ability to make something happen.”
Storm-Robertson decided to launch an Internet-based bachelorette party supply website called The House of Bachelorette. She took computer courses at Bellevue College, bought inventory and hired a web designer. This year marks the end of her second year of business. So far she’s hired four employees, reached a half million dollars in annual sales and helped outfit thousands of bachelorette parties across the country.
Better than launching a business, Storm-Robertson decided to start a family. She got married and welcomed her first child in 2010. “My son Beck turns one December 23 and I can’t imagine living my life without being a mother,” she says. “And I can say undeniably I never would have arrived in this place if it weren’t for the economy.” Storm-Robertson’s success story is featured in the December issue of REDBOOK magazine, on stands everywhere now.
She’s also co-hosting a free webinar on Tuesday, December 6 at 1pm PST designed to give entrepreneurs tips for launching a business. “I started my business completely debt-free,” says Storm-Robertson. “If I can do it anyone can. I just want to help them do that.” People are invited to register for the free webinar “A Roadmap for Start-up Success in a Down Economy” by visiting https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/162727126.