We had the good fortune of connecting with Shauntae Benton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shauntae, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
Texas Girl in the House! I am originally from Cedar Park Texas, north of Austin Texas. I was enamored by the church ladies hats and kitten heels at an early age, always trying on my nana’s outfits. As a teenager I worked in a small town boutique in the back inspecting the styles and pricing. This helped me understand the quality of the materials used to create these styles as well as pairing different pieces together to create a whole look. I worked as a stylist/sales associate until I graduated high school. Working in retail, I developed a keen sense of the client, their buying patterns, style preference and customer service awareness. After college I started my career in the aviation supply chain arena. I thought that corporate life would suppress my love and focus from women’s fashion. Well that did not happen. To fill the void I started styling and revamping closets. I realized over time that my clients needed a one stop shop when it came to style and fashion. A discussion with my husband and close friends the decision was made to start House of Merci…a boutique for all women created by a woman. As the baby of three girls, I had to find a way to stand out nothing, nothing came easy! I was always taught that whatever you get involved with, make sure you complete it at a higher level. Don’t just be good be great! Your word is more valuable than stuff so keep your word. So here we are…Keeping my word to myself and those that support me. House of Merci is a fashion house that is budget friendly, customer friendly and a boutique that is being recognized for its fashions.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
It has not been a smooth road. As a wife, mother of two boys and still a full time employee at my corporate job I struggled with time. I wanted to attend every basketball game and every event for my husband, there just wasnt enough time. My calendar kept filling up with their goals as well as my own…what to do? I started to block off time for my meetings first and started to fill in where I could. Learning to say no is really hard as a mother, a lot of guilt can start to pile up. To overcome some of that guilt I would involve my boys in the business, they would help me create marketing material, they would help to pack orders and most importantly, as a family we would discuss our schedules weekly. This helped them to see the work and time that goes into being an entrepreneur. I preach self empowerment and the power of NO. House of Merci is created by me but its a family effort. I want people to know that this boutique runs on love and strength in numbers. As a business owner I am able to provide you with the best because of the support I have. House of Merci’s philosophy is self-awareness is the best self love.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shoutout LaJune King, owner of PhotosbyLJK for the extra push in the back to keep me moving forward. As a avid reader I have to shoutout Valorie Burton the author of Successful Women Think Differently And last but not least, my devoted husband who has been there through the monthly doubts, frustrations and insecurities. He has been the silent partner and I love and appreciate me so much!
PhotosbyLJK LaJune King