Listen, we are all legit in mourning over Nordstrom’s decision to shut down their Anchorage location. I’ve always called Nordstrom as a whole “The Mothership” (thank you, Janet Burts!) and the Anchorage location “My Second Home.”
WHAT (is Beautycounter?): Beautycounter is a cosmetics and personal care brand out of Santa Monica, CA founded in 2013. Beautycounter’s MISSION is getting safer products into the hands of everyone! BC has banned over 1,500 potentially harmful ingredients (found on their never list of items not used in any of their products!
WHO (is apart Beautycounter?): Beautycounter was founded by Gregg Renfrew (@greggrenfrew) who leads an incredible team at HQ including Chief Artistic Officer, Christy Coleman (@christy_coleman) one of my personal hero’s and friends! Beautycounter is made up of over 20K Consultants around the US and Canada!
Yours Truly, Tessie, gets to lead an incredible squad of Beautycounter Consultants who inspire me daily with their incredible hearts, kindness, and BEAUTY that radiates throughout our community and world! Some of the squad is pictured above: Nancy Sellers, Sarah Van Abel, Alicia Reando, Stephanie Wright, Amanda Loy, and Brenda Lester! * shop with them all here *
WHERE (can I buy Beautycounter?):
Myself along with any of the Consultants on our squad can host a One-on-One Consultation with you or bring the party to you and YOUR crew via a Pop-Up! Pop-Ups are super simple but fun and fabulous events with no pressure sales. Our mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone by sharing the story of Beautycounter and introducing the products to interested consumers.
WHEN (are my next Beautycounter events?): Whenever you book a One-on-One Consult or Pop-Up with me and my squad, boo!! <3
Annie Tasker - my full name is Annelise, which no one except my parents and Kim, one of my favorite bartenders at F Street Station, call me.
Store Manager at lululemon Anchorage 5th Ave Mall
What are some of your key responsibilities as Lululemon Store Manager:
I’m responsible for growing our business in Alaska, making key relationships within the community, and supporting our local ambassadors in their endeavors. My biggest responsibility is supporting my team in their goals, personal and career-related.
What drew you to become apart of the Lululemon community and when did you get started?:
I was hired to work in the lululemon showroom by local superstar and badass mom, Julia Von Imhof. We had been friends for a few years and ran into each other after a yoga class. We grabbed a coffee, caught up and discussed what I had been up to (business classes at UAA to complement my bachelor's degree and leadership concentration) Julia wasted no time and coffee quickly turned into a job interview to work in the showroom! It was amazing timing, I had been waitressing for a few years and needed something that was aligned with my personal values and somewhere I could grow into a leadership position. I started as a part-time Educator and moved into a Key Leader position when we opened the first lululemon store in Alaska in 2015. I was promoted to Assistant Store Manager in March 2016 and then Store Manager in this past January.
Has fitness always been apart of your life?
My family is very athletic, so the majority of my childhood fitness was sports. My dad played professional football and my mom is a lifelong runner. I grew up watching my mom prioritize her health through fitness, so that’s always been a priority for me as well. I definitely love to mix it up, I’ll go on a yoga kick for a few months, I love Vanessa’s class at Orange Theory! Since living in Alaska the past 8 years, trail running has become a huge part of my summers. My current obsession is Anchorage Cycle. I LOVE the vibe there, and how every instructor really brings the entire class together. Fav instructors: David Westlake, Courtney, Jen Evanson and Penny!
Describe a typical day in the work life of Annie:
Most days, I’m usually one of the first people at the store. I almost always start my day looking over our numbers, reading my leadership team’s notes and just getting an overall picture of where we’re at for the week, month, and quarter. I was never a number’s person before this job but now I rely heavily on using my tools to assess how my biz is doing! I often have a conference call or meeting in my morning. Being in a remote market makes conference calls interesting, we utilize Zoom meetings at lululemon which has really helped me get to know my leaders, and peers in a more personal way than just over the phone. After meetings, I spend quite a bit of time writing my team’s schedule. I don’t take scheduling lightly, I try to make sure my employees work a schedule that supports their life outside of work. This really allows them to show up powerfully, increases my team’s engagement and just overall allows them to be happy with their work/life balance. I always schedule myself at least a few hours every day, working on the floor at the store and checking in with my people. I absolutely love my team and this is usually the highlight of my working day.
How do you stay inspired/choose the flow of your store?
I get most of my inspiration from the people around me, especially at work. Right now, my team at the store is a pretty diverse group of women. I rely heavily on my work family to keep me present, objective, and to keep me living in possibility. I work with quite a few women who are younger than me, and it’s been an amazing experience watching their drive and ambition create the lives and careers they dream of. Watching the mom’s on my team balance their schedules, support their families and make sure they take time for themselves…is a daily source of inspiration. Whenever I get bogged down with my to-do list, and get stressed about finding time to exercise, walk my dog, spend time with my boyfriend, grocery shop, cook, manage our store’s hours and budget, schedule performance evaluations, and a million other tasks, I look to the mothers in my life who manage to do all those things while taking care of 2 kids and a spouse. What I’ve learned from them is that perfection is not the goal. If I worked an 80 hour work week, there would still be tasks to accomplish so I prioritize what is urgent and important and make sure to leave time to invest in my people. That’s where I see the biggest return on investment.
What is essential in your workspace? Ie: mood, music, tea- how do you get into your workflow routine?
I won't lie, coffee is essential. Like…essssssential. I either make my coffee at home (almond milk creamer is crucial) or pick it up from Starbs on my way to the store. I always take time to get clear before starting any task or meeting. Actually, this is something my entire team does before every single shift. Taking a moment to acknowledge what is happening in your life that is keeping you from being present is a game-changer in our ability to perform at work.
One fun thing that is new to my workspace is a Japanese Maneki Neko cat. My Asst. Store Manager brought it back from Tokyo and it now lives above our office computer. Maneki Neko cats are supposed to bring good fortune to businesses, it’s a quirky little addition but I’ll never turn down a little help towards success!
How have your surroundings helped develop you as a leader?
I feel very fortunate to have grown and worked in a progressive corporation that is mostly lead by women. Our culture is really empowering, we’ve created an environment where speaking up and being an entrepreneur is not only encouraged, it’s required. Previous to working at lululemon, I had never been in a work environment where giving (and receiving) feedback was such an integral part of the everyday. I’ve learned over the last 3 years that by sharing with a teammate when you see a way they could improve, isn’t being mean or cruel, it’s giving them the opportunity to improve and ultimately perform to their potential. It took me a long time to learn that as long as the constructive criticism comes from a place of love, you’re being a stand for greatness. One of my managers once told me “Annie, if you don’t share that feedback, you are holding your peer back and not allowing the chance to get better and to have the knowledge of where they can improve.”
We train our entire team, from the moment they get hired, to share what they’re noticing, to communicate in a powerful way and to stand for greatness. I take a lot of pride in our store in AK, I really think we do a great job at being genuine, inclusive, and brightening our guests day.
What do you look forward to most when leading a team?
I love being witness to people who are in the work of bettering themselves as human beings. Watching my team go through our vision and goals workshop and get clarity around their personal core values, set goals to get them to where they want to be and ultimately become more empathic people is my favorite part of being a leader at lululemon.
lululemon is so community and lifestyle driven - what are some events + partnerships you have coming up that you are looking forward to:
Well, first of, we’re really excited about hosting Tess and Beautycounter in-store for the 2nd time this summer. I’ve been testing out a few of Beautycounter’s products over the last week, and I’m super impressed. I’ve always said, when I find a chemical free, more natural product that works BETTER than what I’ve been using, I’ll make the switch. I’m REALLY in love with the tinted moisturizer and their face mask!
We’re also highlighting local athletes every week on our facebook page, lululemon Anchorage. This has been a fun new way to bring attention to some member of our community who is up to some really cool things.
I have to share a bit about our store’s ambassadors, they really are the embodiment of what we stand for at lululemon.
Megan Piersma is the owner of Deha Yoga, in south Anchorage. Megan is probably one of the coolest human beings on the planet, she is my favorite yoga instructor and I leave her studio feeling my best. Megan has created a warm, welcoming environment at Deha.
David Westlake is a yoga instructor and Motivator at Anchorage Cycle. He recently started Turiya Alaska, which is a non-profit that brings yoga to the downtown Anchorage Jail. He recently took my team through a meditation workshop, designed to help my employees battle the holiday stress. He really met my team where they were at and gave us some simple useful techniques to help us chill out.
Ryder Spadafore is the owner of Anchorage Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He’s just an overall bad-ass. His honestly and genuine attitude inspires the loyalty of his students. My team has been frequenting this gym and hitting up the kickboxing classes at ABJJ….these are not your mom's kickboxing classes. You feel super empowered and strong (also sweaty and tired!) after these classes. Stay tuned for a ABJJ and lululemon Women’s Self Defense Workshop in the near future!
David Norris is our ski racing ambassador. He’s currently somewhere in Europe on the ski racing circuit. He’s from Fairbanks and has the most humble, down to earth personality. He frequents the mountains and trails outside of Anchorage and loves working with young, aspiring skiers.
What is some advice you would give to someone starting out that you wish someone gave to you?
Your instincts are usually correct, so trust them. Have facts that support you and, humbly, stand your ground. Being the loudest isn’t the best way to win people over.
What are your favorite lululemon essential items you think everyone should check out?
Where to start????
-Wunder Under High Rise Tights in Luxtreme – AMAZING for cycle, everyday wear and doesn’t attract dog hair.
-Fast and Free 7/8 Tight – These are a must for anyone who works out no matter what you’re doing. #nakedsensation for the win!
-On The Fly Pants – my travel pants! These have an athletic, jogger look that makes me feel comfortable but polished on the plane.
-Energy Bra – perfect for high-intensity workouts but still has the strappy cute look I want!
-Free to Be Zen Bra – my every day/yoga bra, I haven’t worn a real bra in years. Seriously.
-All Tied Up Tank in Pima Cotton – my go-to summer top, perfect for jeans, yoga pants, shorts
In my opinion, lululemon crushes jackets and bags. I’m loving all of this seasons backpacks and our bomber jackets in springy colors like porcelain pink and teal shadow.
How can people sign up for fit session at your location?
Email me! email@example.com. My entire team thrives off getting our guests in their best fit, so I can connect you to an expert educator who with HOOK IT UP!
What is your mantra?!
Hmmm I’m not sure I have a mantra but 2 quotes I’m bringing to 2018 are:
People won’t remember what you said/did, they remember how you made them feel.
“I am expanding in love, success, and abundance and encouraging others to do the same.”
-Elena Brower (super cool NYC yogi, check out her IG)
Keep up with the oh so inspiring and lovely, Annie via her instagram @itsacurlylife! Keep up with our Anchorage lululemon store, their events (including TessieStyle + Beautycounter Pop-ups) via their facebook page and website! Call #907.677.1346 or stop by their Anchorage 5th Ave Mall location at 320 W 5th Ave on the 2nd floor next to Starbucks to find your perfect fit or schedule a fit session!
Owner, Circular Boutique
6th Avenue between C Street and D Street
How long has Circular been in business?
Amazingly, we’ve been open for 10 years!
What inspired you to start Circular?
Initially, I was interested in providing an eco-friendly option for Anchorage shoppers. I offered clothing for men, women and children, furnishings, and home décor, etc. When that message fell flat, I realized I would have to refocus on timeless and high quality products that didn’t contribute to the landfills and that helped people live a safer and healthier life.
What was your major in school and how did it help you with owning Circular?
My major in school was English. That helped me in my first business, Wordsmith, through which I provided a variety of writing services to private, corporate and governmental entities. My experience operating that business for 30 years prepared me for owning and operating another business, although retail was completely foreign to me.
What has been the biggest challenge in establishing your business?
This is tough. I would probably say the biggest challenge is getting people through my door so my brand became known. Advertising is a hit-or-miss endeavor and expensive. Word-of-mouth has been the surest way to gain customers, but it is limited. And often people hear something about the store—such as the cost of the products we carry—and this makes them scared to stop in and take a look (although we carry a variety of price points). This remains a difficult challenge for me to this day.
Owning a boutique is so much more than selecting beautiful clothing and product to sell. For example, so much of buying goes back to math/budgeting/inventory planning and control. Have you always been business minded or is it something you developed and continue to learn?
My father owned his own businesses so it was my environment growing up. He had both a home-operated business (Muzak) and a storefront (an electronics store). I realized fairly early on that it was much more rewarding and comfortable for me to be my own boss. A friend who also owned a business and I used to joke that we were “certifiably unemployable” because it was so difficult to not be the one making decisions!
Describe Circular's style aesthetic:
I would say we are a purveyor of beautifully designed and thoughtfully curated fashion and products. We look for unique and timeless fashion and premium products that enhance your life.
Describe a typical day at market:
It’s BUSY!!!! I create a very strict schedule when I go to market, with a little time left open for exploration. Some of the most loved brands in the store were found by just wandering through showrooms. I begin at around 9:00 am and finish about 6 pm each day with appointments every 15-30 minutes (depending on how much time I need with a brand). It’s exhausting, but fun.
What is your favorite season to shop for and how do you get trend forecasting inspiration?
My favorite season is everyone’s favorite season—Fall. I get ready for buying by watching runway shows from the various Fashion Weeks around the world and reviewing the collections of major design houses (often smaller design houses will take their cues from the large design houses, so I am able to find similar styles at much lower prices). This provides information on color palettes, silhouettes, and aesthetics that will be forefront in most designers’ collections. Several of my designers show at Fashion Weeks, so I’m aware of pieces I find interesting before I go to Market.
What are ways you have seen growth as a business owner over the years?
When I first opened Circular, I bought what I liked rather than what others found appealing, primarily because I just didn’t know yet what they wanted! This wasn’t necessarily a total misstep, but over time I learned what my customers like, what is right for their lifestyles, and what price points are comfortable for them. I am also more careful about my buying; I often have to turn away from things that I love because they just won’t sell in Anchorage.
How do you set yourself apart from other boutiques and how important was researching your boutiques market/demographic?
On our sign you will see “love your choices” which guides us in our sales approach. Circular prides itself on NEVER forcing a sale or encouraging someone to buy something if they’re unsure. Our customer service is strong, we are honest, and we stand behind our products. The last thing I want is for someone to regret buying something from Circular.
In terms of researching our market/demographic, I have to admit that we didn’t! I have lived my entire life of 62 years in Alaska and I think I have a fairly good feel for what people here want. Although I’m sure almost everyone will say that I can “get away with” wearing things that are different from the “norm”, I understand what it is to LIVE here. Although that doesn’t mean you can’t look and feel amazing!
Circular is much more than beautiful clothing and accessories - what services and products do you offer that people might not know about when stopping at your boutique?
Thanks for this question. This goes back to us getting out the word about the store. We offer wish lists (so you get what you want when people shop for you), gift cards, styling services, closet revamps, private parties in the store, and personal shopping.
For someone making their initial visit to Circular, what are some labels / products you suggest they must check out?
There are a few labels and products that are my favorites. I always want people to at least take a look at Maison Scotch, the female division of Dutch brand Scotch and Soda, which boasts a head designer from Anchorage, Tracy Reese and Rachel Zoe, both American designers with a definite point of view, Alexis Bittar jewelry because it’s amazing, and Little Barn Apothecary, which was founded and is operated by two amazing partners who have created a premium effective product.
You have always been an inspiration to me in so many ways thanks to your genuine kind heart, stunning style, and your deep commitment to our environment. What are some things Circular does to be as green and eco-conscious as possible?
I’ll mention Little Barn Apothecary again. All of these amazing products are vegan and organic—as well as being the BEST that I’ve used on my skin! I also carry Agent Nateur deodorant for men and women, which is the highest ranking natural deodorant in terms of effectiveness, and PRITINYC, an eco nail polish that has staying power and comes in great colors (many large design houses commission colors for their runway shows from PRITI).
The clothing I carry is high quality and will last. Some customers resell their pieces, while others keep them for many years, but either way they are not ending up in a landfill. And lastly, we recycle literally EVERYTHING we can in the store. Every scrap of paper. Every coffee sleeve. Every toilet roll :). Every bit of cardboard. You get the picture. I’m lucky to have curbside recycling in my neighborhood, so I take the recycling home from the store each week. I worked with the 5th Avenue Mall to get cardboard recycling and now they have TWO cardboard bins and only one garbage bin to service the Mall.
What advice would you give to someone interested in owning a boutique and buying that you wish someone gave to you?
I would advise that anyone considering owning a boutique define what it is they plan to provide that is DIFFERENT from what others provide. Even if the most unique aspect of your business is your personality, you need to know what you will present to the public that makes them want to shop with you.
Ask yourself WHY you are opening a boutique. Are you providing a different product? A different experience? Filling a niche that you know exists? You love fashion and want to share that love? Know what it is that drives you.
Be sure you’re aware of ALL of your costs (rent, utilities, product, shipping, etc.) and what your income will need to be to cover those each month. Try to start with at least 3-6 months of funding so you don’t find yourself in an uncomfortable position with your landlord or vendors.
What are your never leave the house essentials?
I HAVE to have lipstick. My natural lip color is super red lip and so I always have a nude lipstick in my purse to tone it down. And my phone because I have so much information in it!
What five items do you believe every woman should have in her closet?
A great pair of black pants, a GOOD black blouse (I must have at least 6 but my new favorite is from L’Agence!), a GOOD white/ivory blouse (again, I have at least 6), a chic medium weight coat (mine is a black straight coat with notched collar), and a truly unique piece that screams YOU! Basics are necessary, but having something that is really different and that speaks to your soul is a must in my mind.
What is your mantra?
Love your choices! Really, that’s all life boils down to and it is what directs your path. Choose with your heart.
Keep up with Kim and Circular via their instagram: @circularboutique +
Even better stop by the store to meet Kim and her incredibly knowledgable and inviting staff -----* Preferably during my Beautycounter Pop Up this Saturday - January 13th from 3-5:30pm! ;) *
Anchorage 5th Ave Mall
Photo Package with SANTA (and you can register to bring your pet from 7-9PM on December 10th* to be in the photo!! See link below for exact hours and information!!)
Anchorage 5th Ave Mall + SANTA
TessieStyle + Anchorage 5th Ave Mall + Santa (duh) all want you to start your holiday season off right! Treat yourself and others by shopping and taking advantage of all the incredible retail selections and services our town has to offer in a one-stop mega fabulous shopping environment. If you just can't wait and gotta get your photos on your own time and dime with the man in red ASAP pre-book your reservation here: simonsanta.com/
How to enter?
Share in the comments *of this blog post* your answer to one of the following three questions as well as your instagram handle or e-mail so I can contact you if you've WON!
** See below for official contest rules and restrictions.**
1- How this photo session will bless your holiday.
2- What items are on your Christmas list.
3- Type of Cookie you would want people to leave for you IF you were Santa.
**DAY 3 - PICTURES WITH SANTA contest ends at 11:59 pm AK time on 12/8/17. Open to Anchorage residents only. Items will be shipped to the winner within one week of total contest end date.**