Take charge of your destiny
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amber Greene was a field sales manager for a company that advertised beauty products at salons in Indiana, northeast Ohio and Illinois. However, when the first wave of the pandemic hit the United States in March 2020, Greene was out of work when the salons she worked for began closing.
Greene’s company promised her a position when businesses reopened, but in August 2020 she was told she would not be brought back. For the rest of the year, she sought another job in field sales.
She applied for a position at several companies, but none responded favorably. In fact, some companies rejected her application and took over so quickly that it was impossible to have considered her first, Greene said.
Meanwhile, Greene noticed construction at 8919 W Adaline Street, knocking down walls and renovating a unit for sale. Frustrated with the job search and digital filters, she made an unshakeable resolution on New Year’s Day 2021.
“I told my husband… ‘I’m not waiting,'” Greene said. “’I want to know who owns this building, and I’m going to set up a store there.’ Within two days, she had a meeting with the owner of the building.
Then six months later, in July 2021, Greene became the owner and manager of Fate Style Studio, a women’s clothing boutique in Yorktown.
She is also the sole operator of the business, handling everything from managing finances to checking customers at the cash register, said Chris Greene, her husband.
“I hung her store shelves, and that was it,” he joked.
The Greenes both said opening a store in response to Amber’s job search issues was a risky move, but Chris had faith in his wife and her ambitions.
“She’s a very motivated person and she works hard,” he said. “It’s probably worth the risk because she’s going to do whatever she can to make it work.”
When she was still in school, Amber said there were plenty of stores for her, from big chains like JCPenney to small local clothing stores. That variety no longer exists, she says.
“If a high school girl or even someone my age wants to go buy a new outfit, our options from just 10 years ago are a quarter of what they were,” she said.
Although its target population includes young women and middle-aged women, Fate Style Studio has attracted the attention of customers as young as 12 and as old as 90. She doesn’t wear kid-sized clothes, but she never discourages her customers from trying on something they’re interested in.
“Especially… older women will step back and say, ‘Oh, I’m too old for that. [outfit].’ I think it’s garbage,” Amber said. “Wear what you want to wear.”
Amber also makes it a point to wear plus size clothing. She said she often decides which products and brands to carry in her store based on the size range of the clothes.
She said she chose to open a particular boutique because it was an example of a missing business that wasn’t giving Delaware County residents a chance to shop locally.
“By not offering that option to buy … an outfit or a pair of shoes or anything here locally, we’re literally forcing that money out of the community,” Amber said. “You can’t grow up that way.”
Amber considers many different factors in her business decisions, including the location of her store, the state of the economy as a whole and how she can advertise her business, she said. . Although her position is difficult, she has every intention of developing the Fate Style Studio brand.
“When you own a business, you have to have an open mind and you have to be prepared to look at all avenues,” Amber said. “I’m between a rock and a hard place, but I’m not a quitter either.”
According to the Delaware County website, Muncie’s economic backbone was once industrial and manufacturing, thanks in large part to the large reservoir of natural gas in eastern Indiana that once supplied them.
The Ball brothers built a factory in Muncie in 1880, taking advantage of natural gas to produce glass. Indiana Steel and Wire, New Venture Gear (an automotive company), and Westinghouse Electric Corporation are examples of other companies that have brought wealth to Delaware County.
By the 1970s, however, after natural gas wells ran out, factories could no longer operate and began to shut down en masse. In the decades that followed, Delaware County lost thousands of job opportunities, marking the end of Muncie’s economic prosperity.
“Delaware County is in a rebuilding phase,” Amber said. “We’re still trying to figure out how to thrive without the factories this community was built on.”
Contact Miguel Naranjo with comments at [email protected] or on Twitter @naranjo456.