Interview with Karyn Gold-Reineke, Founder of Pirouette
www.pirouetteessentials.com ◆ firstname.lastname@example.org
Business is going well for Karyn Gold-Reineke, founder of Pirouette, an artisan perfume and natural spa luxuries company based in Seattle. You’ll find her exquisite line of handcrafted perfumes, soaps and lotions in a number of stores around the area, including Town and Country Markets and Whole Foods. However, when Karyn was laid off from her comfortable, full-time job at an art museum at the height of the financial collapse in early 2009, her future was anything but certain. Encouraged by friends and family members to expand on her soap making hobby, Karyn initially decided to make ends meet by selling the artisan soaps she had previously enjoyed giving out as Christmas gifts. She started out with a simple Etsy shop, which she managed easily while working out of her 325 square foot cottage home in the woods. When she introduced her perfume line, however, her orders began to pick up. Karyn found herself working twelve hour days, seven days a week. While the progress was exciting, the work load was daunting. Her creative background did little to prepare her for the complexities of running a business on this scale.
“I’m so much more of the artist in this,” says Karyn. “I think of myself as more of a perfumer and a scent creator. I haven’t really ever been a very business-minded person, even though I’m very entrepreneurial.”
A friend introduced Karyn to Community Capital Development, where she got the support she needed to keep up with the demands of her rapidly expanding business. Karyn benefited from free counseling through CCD’s Washington Women’s Business Center on topics ranging from building a business plan to basic accounting.
“I wanted to have a long term plan for my business,” Karyn explains. “I have been working a lot with Nita Conlin, looking at my sales and profit margins for each item and doing cash flow projections. It was really enlightening for me to be able to project where I would be and plan ahead. You can see so much more clearly, and it was so simple! Even though it was kind of crazy getting all the numbers together, it was so empowering being able to understand. It was like getting a crystal ball!”
Now in her own studio space in a vintage brick building in Pioneer Square, Karyn is eager to continue on her upward trajectory. “It has been really good for me to get some of those skills and understand what people do,” she says. “I’ve told so many people about Community Capital Development, too. It’s so great, and it’s free!”