Nowadays, several people are getting creative about their businesses and even doing gigs on the side.
Barbara Guillaume, of Buckhead, dreamt of living in Paris ever since she was a young girl taking French classes in New York.
Her teacher inspired her, and she decided to move there in her early 20s, where she worked for a news magazine. She returned in the late 1970s and connected with her cousin Robert Preato, an art dealer and historian in New York.
“He said we should start collecting American paintings because there really wasn’t a market for it,” Guillaume said. “No one had caught on to the fact that they were valuable.”
She said, as a collector, she became fairly well known over the years to art dealers in New York. “Andrew Brunk wanted to expand the company and have regional representatives,” she said.
Guillaume, who is also a Realtor with Harry Norman, Realtors, took on the role last year, and now facilitates the sale of “treasures” at Brunk Auctions in Asheville, N.C. Items sold at Brunk are high-quality jewelry, paintings, antiques, silver and porcelains.
“Because we are a Southern, family owned company, we are very sensitive to stress that can be involved parting with family treasures,” she said. “We’re here to alleviate that stress and make the process of getting the treasures to the auction easy.”
In September, Harrison Rohr opened Exquisite Stationery by Harrison Rohr in Buckhead, an appointment-only personalized stationery and invitation company.
“I have 23 years of hotel service experience so my life is devoted to striving and providing an ultra-luxury experience,” said the Buckhead resident.
Most recently, he worked as director of catering at the St. Regis Atlanta since its inception in 2009.
“I do a lot of weddings and celebrations, birthday parties, wedding anniversaries and, of course, stationery,” he said.
Rohr works with his customers to create invitations to fit their personal taste and style, he said.
“I believe the invitation should be almost a surprise and a delight,” Rohr said. “I do believe the invitation sets the tone for the celebration.”
He said one of the events to open the pathway to his new business was a past client who wanted an elaborate birthday invitation.
“I found it very difficult to find someone locally to help me with customizing a one-of-a-kind invitation. I had to work really hard,” he said. “When someone wants something that’s unique, I want to be the person they come to.”
However, he said he also designs simple invitations for people who are coming with an economical approach. He described Exquisite Stationery as “sophisticated, yet comfortable.”
And after working in the cosmetic industry for several years, Buckhead resident Susan Myers started JP Crickets a year and a half ago after being inspired by her kids in college.
“My husband and I wore this style of shoe regularly and we were attending [college] events,” she said. “The idea just sort of merged.”
They decided to create the business, featuring shoes with university logos.
“It’s a nice way to show school spirit, … in a nice kind of elegant way,” Myers said.
The style of the shoe was originally called the Prince Albert Slipper.
“They were worn back in the day after sport [at home],” she said. “As it evolved, they moved into London and had a sturdier bottom. … They would have the family crest or monogrammed initials on the shoe.”
All materials are sourced from Italy, and Myers said shoes are available in velvet, linen or suede, in black, brown or blue. For example, the University of South Carolina shoe is black with a garnet logo, she said, and the Auburn University shoe is blue with orange. JP Crickets currently offers shoes for 50 schools, and is not limited to large universities.
“We’re guided by people contacting us,” Myers said. “All of the schools I represent are officially licensed. I have a contract with each school, and represent them correctly [with] their logo in the exact color and design.”
The shoes are available online and in Brooks Brothers in major cities, including Atlanta.
Information: visit www.brunkauctions.com, www.exquisite-stationery.com or www.jpcrickets.com.