When Allison Altzman was opening Adelaide Boutique in Ahwatukee Foothills she already had her first employee in mind — her daughter.
“I knew she was working at another job and I told her that I wanted her to quit, if she wanted to do it, and come work with me,” Altzman said. “She started it from the ground up. Before we even opened I brought her to meetings with me and we painted the walls together and designed the layout and shopped for items. She’s very capable, and I knew that when I brought her in. She’s got a great personality so I knew she would completely add value to the store and the business.”
Altzman has always been a business owner and opening a small boutique provided the perfect opportunity to continue doing what she loves, running a business, while spending more time with her daughter.
“It has been extra time to spend together before she goes off to college. Selfishly, that was absolutely in the back of my mind,” Altzman said.
It’s a sentiment Lisa Looney, owner of Katy Bug Faye Boutique, also understands. It was her daughter who encouraged her to start her business and the two have worked closely for the past five years.
“When we go to market it’s very helpful for me to have her viewpoint,” Looney said. “The angle with our stores is that we want to have something for everyone from age 15 to 50. She has the young teenage perspective on trends and what’s popular and I have a more mature perspective. It’s great because we always say mothers and daughters can shop at our store and find something for both of them.”
Looney, who was a stay-at-home mom before opening her business said she decided to go for it to set an example for her kids.
“I thought it would be a good way to teach her about running a business,” she said. “I think having stayed at home with my kids for 12 years, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything on earth but it worked perfectly because as they got older I got back into working and my kids are proud of me. I can sense that. It makes me feel really good that I’m setting that example of being both a mom and a business owner.”
Being both a mom and a business owner does have its challenges. Looney said her biggest challenge is trying not to expect too much from her daughter, just because she is family. Those boundaries can be difficult to set.
“It is a learning experience,” said Paola Caputo of Bell’ Italia Pizzeria, who has employed her two sons on and off over the years. “It can be a little rough in the beginning, but once you get settled and you know your job descriptions, I think the important thing is to treat each other with respect.”
Caputo said her sons helped build their restaurant. She credits them with helping in the original build out and said even now her sons help her with marketing and catering. Both have moved on to other careers, but she still hopes to one day pass the restaurant on to them.
“Having a business is like having another child,” Altzman said. “I feel like sometimes the business takes away from my family, but I guess any job does. I think being a mom just kind of adds meaning and depth to your entire life no matter what you do. I’ve always been a small business owner. I like that. I don’t mind the risk. I like the reward. I like that what I put into it, I get out of it. The buck stops with me. To have my daughter part of that has been very unique and very special.”
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