Meet Anne and Sarah: Sarah’s dream is to do retail and Anne’s dream is to help young women balance their personal and professional lives. Find out how their dreams converged and this mother-daughter pair became business partners.
What is Venable?
Venable is a fun, light-hearted, simple way to shop. We curate the collection for a woman who wants to mix trendy and classic, but most importantly wants to wear comfortable clothes she can look and feel good in. Whether that’s the softest Bella Dahl chambray around, or the slightly sexy Rachel Zoe black top with a little cut-out in the back, we’ve got her covered.
We give women a source they can count on and a selection that works for them. If women like to shop with friends, we’ll see them at one of our pop-up shopping events. There’s always wine (and M&Ms) and a guaranteed honest opinion. If they need something yesterday, we’re here for them online at shopvenable.com.
Why and how did you start it?
The real answer…we both had a little too much red wine one night on our porch in the mountains.
We probably reminisced about my childhood fashion gems (or faux-pas depending on who you ask…). I learned to sew in the 2nd grade. In addition to attempting a “scrunchie start-up,” I created my own version of a “t-shirt” dress, which involved a Hanes undershirt and a pattern pillowcase. There was also a floppy black felt fedora and a denim vest that I covered in sequins and buttons…Yes, there are pictures. No, I will not share them.
On a more serious note, retail is my passion and my dream. I used to (and still do) lend out all my clothes to my friends because I love helping them feel beautiful. I never thought I would be doing that as a business. It’s pretty surreal.
My mom, on the other hand, went to law school and spent her twenties trying to figure out how to balance her professional and personal life. Her dream is to help young women like me find that balance.
It’s crazy to reflect and realize that we’re really working toward my dream of doing retail, my mother’s dream of helping me launch a venture. Sometimes dreams converge, and for us, that has been Venable. Our experience has been made so rich by many wonderful friends supporting us.
The ‘why we started’ took a lot of words. The how is much easier to explain. My mom is also referred to among my friends as ‘Anne with a plan’. In simple terms, she gets sh** done. She set up a LLC. She follows up with designers. She makes sure we have the hangers, the racks, the little signs for the discounts. We joke that she’s the CFO, the COO, the CMO…We’re still deciding what I am.
How has collaborating on Venable impacted your mother-daughter relationship?
We’re going to take this one from two points of view…
Sarah (daughter): We’ve talked almost every day since I left home for boarding school in the 9th grade. The whole boarding school thing didn’t work out for me, and I spent 10th, 11th, and 12th grade back in Charlotte. But the talking every day thing never went away. Now, at 27, this habit feels way more justified when we have Venable issues to discuss.
On a deeper level, I’ve learned more from my mom about how to work through things with someone who doesn’t see the world the same way you do: I hate change. My mom thrives on change. I think everything through before I say anything. My mom says everything before she knows what she thinks.
While these differences make for some tense brainstorming sessions, I think they ultimately take Venable to a better place in the end.
Anne (mom): You can see from what Sarah said why I am a lucky mom, and why she is our PR go-to! Of course, I have never need a reason to talk to her every day, but I learn so much from our talks no matter what the topic. Although if you ask my husband, we’re known for debating colors and quantities a bit too much…
It is true that we have different approaches. I am less daunted by change, and I do like to talk through things. But I have the advantage of more life experience. Taking risks has gotten a lot easier and now, I am more willing to listen (definitely a skill I had to learn!) and sort through other people’s ideas.
What do you admire most about each other?
Sarah (daughter): She’s determined – gets what she wants because she works toward it. She’s brilliant – allegedly the prettiest nerd at Duke (according to my dad) and a Columbia law school grad. She’s graceful and an amazing conversationalist – that person that you hope you get placed next to at a seated dinner. And she’s beautiful – I always joke that I need to start the next MTV True Life – my mom is hotter than me. For now, I’ll just be grateful that she’s my business partner and best friend.
Anne (mom): Where do I start- Sarah is talented and smart. I think the saying is “Beauty is as beauty does.” She lives that in every way! She is sensitive, caring and the best ever friend. Needless to say, all these traits are true gifts in the retail world. She can read fashion trends and people and she knows just how to make someone feel good about herself. It makes perfect sense that she chose “Look good, feel good” as Venable’s motto. Sarah has a world view that goes so much further than skin deep, and I love getting a spoonful of it every day!