WorkinCT: The Benefits of Women-Owned Businesses

OLD SAYBROOK -- At Tova’s Vintage Shop in Old Saybrook, the finds are as unique as they come.

“These are things that even if you did look at the internet, and say you wanted a pink hat from 1910 with feathers, you probably couldn’t find something just like this,” said Tove Vigen, who owns Tova’s Vintage Shop.

Wearing the “hat” of business owner is something Tove Vigen has done for 18 years while managing her brick and mortar shop and her online store.

“I think women are really good at multitasking which is something you have to do. You have to kind of do everything, which is hard, especially when the internet is a whole different business,” said Vigen.

Cathy White, owner of The Stork and Fashion Exchange in Westbrook, agrees. She’s been in business about 21 years.

“They’re savvy. They’re smart. They run home budgets. They know how to run a business and they do it well,” said White.

White also says women have a special touch when it comes to interacting with customers.

“There’s a little more compassion, and there’s a little more understanding of your customers who are coming in if someone’s having a bad day, if a kid’s spilled juice in the car and they’re running late, we understand that. We’ve all been in that situation,” said White.

Caroline Lemley, owner of Pearls and Plaid in Old Saybrook, knows that all too well.

“I’m a working mom, I have a two-year-old, so that’s a huge challenge in itself to balance both. When you’re your own boss and you have children, it’s certainly a constant battle to get everything done in a day,” said Lemley.

She thinks the day-to-day challenges of managing employees, keeping the store stocked and adapting to consumers’ ever-changing needs are challenges that every business owner faces, male or female.

“I think any good advice I’d give to business owners is to constantly learn. You’re never going to know it all, and you have to be open to knowing new ways of doing things and improving what you’re currently doing,” said Lemley.