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Storefront Stories: The Rainbow Fleet

Storefront Stories: The Rainbow Fleet

Storefront Stories: The Rainbow Fleet - Celebrating Women's History Month Spotlights

In honor of Women's History Month, we’re spotlighting #ACKChamber Women Owned Businesses! We asked Kristen Johnson of The Rainbow Fleet a few questions, here are her answers!


Q. Tell us a bit about your business?

A. The Rainbow Fleet is a women’s consignment shop located mid-island near the rotary and open year round. We carry vintage, modern and designer - clothing, shoes and accessories - all in excellent to new condition. Our goal is to provide affordable fashion options for ALL women on Nantucket. 


Q. How did last year challenge you as a businesswoman, if at all?

A. I fall into that category of businesswoman/mom and balancing those two roles was extra challenging last year during the lockdown. Aside from that, I am very lucky the retail industry was not as badly impacted as other industries on-island. 


Q. What are the pros and cons of being a female entrepreneur in 2021?

 A. The biggest pro that comes to mind is that you can be self taught in just about anything these days. When I owned my own business in 2001, I did not have the same resources and tutorials online or on my ancient not-smart phone. I think it levels the playing field. All the information you need or want to improve your business skills is right in the palm of your hand.

I can’t really think of any “cons” for women unless you are trying to start a business while monitoring remote learning for school aged kids. I can only imagine how challenging that would be in 2021.


Q. What tips or advice do you have for other women wanting to start their own business?

A. Write out your mission statement and memorize it. My mission statement reminds me of my goals, my vision for my store, my drive for coming to work each day. It becomes your anchor when things get crazy and it provides answers to your toughest decisions. If you believe in the purpose of your business it will give you the confidence you need to keep moving forward.


Q. What mantra do you live by?

A. “Look for the open doors” I’m not sure where I first heard that one, but it pops into my mind often. When we are struggling with any challenge big or small, it is a good reminder to open our eyes and see the helpers and opportunities in front of us instead of focusing on the people or situations that are giving us resistance. 


Q. How do you balance owning a business and your personal life?

A. I believe in separating my personal and business communications and presence which is not always easy since my home and my business are in the same building. I use a separate phone number for the store, a separate email address, separate social media accounts, etc. I have even asked close friends to message the store when asking about their accounts instead of texting me and you will never see my kids in the store or parking lot during shop hours. Also this year I decided to close my store on Mondays in addition to Sundays, so that I may have a full 2 days with my family. 


Q. Who is the most influential woman in your life and why?

 A. This question in particular is tough for me to answer and the one that I have spent the most time pondering. There are just so many, how do you choose one? 


I look back more recently to 2019 and remember one woman in particular who believed that I could start a business from scratch and be a full time mom of 2 babies (both in diapers and one still nursing). I dismissed the idea immediately and she pushed me to believe in a dream that I once told her of having a colorful and affordable consignment & vintage clothing shop on Nantucket. For me it was the worst possible time to consider a business but she taught me that timing isn’t the most important ingredient in life. I will always admire how adventurous, artistic and accomplished she is. She raised two boys while starting her own successful screenprinting business on-island and she would never think twice about jumping on a plane and seeing a new part of the world. Her complete fearlessness continues to influence and inspire me.


Q. Why do you think it's important to support other women?

A. We are stronger together! Women tend to be their own worst critics. With support from our peers, from other women in the community, and the women in our families, we can accomplish so much more.


Q. To what do you attribute your success?

A. I believe that my path to success is built upon being a hands-on & on-site owner. I enjoy being in my store everyday and I love that I can greet each and every new consignor in person. I have met so many incredibly cool women in our community through conversations in the store and have made many new friendships.


Q. What can we expect next from you?

 A. More of what our growing customer base wants: more clothing racks, more actual store space, an additional dressing room, bilingual employees and more community involvement with the return of Makers & Menders night this winter. Oh and finally a website! 

Photo credit: Charity Grace Photography

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