Omaha entrepreneur Megan Hunt tells the story best – how she and longtime friend/business partner Sarah Lorsung Tvrdik came to found the thriving online clothing and accessories store Hello Holiday.
“Sarah came into my office one night to borrow my garment steamer. As I worked and she worked, we started talking about what was next for us. I was a bridal designer, but I wanted to work more on the business side than the design side and get into something more scalable. Sarah worked in retail and social work and freelanced as a fashion writer and stylist. She told me how she wanted to use her experience to begin a totally new career and start a boutique. We decided to just do it,” Hunt said.
That was in February 2012, and that nighttime discussion blossomed into Hello Holiday, the online retailer that Hunt and Lorsung Tvrdik couldn’t find elsewhere – a store, Hunt said, “with lots of exclusive pieces from independent designers, clothes we can wash, clothes that represent the way we feel about ourselves deep down; a store that offers a friendly and accessible approach to fashion; a store that really celebrates every woman in an industry that can be so closed-off and pretentious.”
Hunt said the name Hello Holiday represents that approachability and optimism – and speaks to who their customers are.
“We created our store for women on the brink of a milestone in their lives: a graduation, a new job, a marriage, a new family member, a huge interview. These women have places to go, goals to accomplish, and ideas to share. Hello Holiday connotes arrival as we come into our own identities as women, and how we can use our clothing to make every day more festive, celebratory and delightful.”
She continued, “Wearing something we love is a way to escape the stress and monotony of our routines and lift us up. It’s a way we can go on our own little holiday and celebrate ourselves. We hope that the customers who visit our site will feel this spirit of celebration and self-confidence that we believe every woman is entitled to.”
Their concept is connecting.
“We have incredibly loyal customers – many of whom have turned into genuine friends,” Hunt said.
Besides adding those new friends, the founders’ circle of associates has expanded to include a corps of “fantastic mentors and advisors.” So, even though Hunt and Lorsung Tvrdik are funding Hello Holiday on their own, they are not going it alone.
“One mentor I have now in my life would be (Omaha entrepreneur) Dusty Davidson, who has always made me feel important, understood and who has done a lot to encourage and develop Hello Holiday. Dusty Reynolds from the Chamber has also been a huge cheerleader for us,” Hunt said.
She added, “Women mentors are also starting to play a bigger role for us. Tara Hunt and Cindy Gallop in particular are two women I’ve crossed paths with who are so impressive and intelligent and who have offered so much inspiration and insight into what we’re trying to build and create. Their humility in success and honesty in failure is something that really makes me want to be better.”
Hunt said Hello Holiday also benefits from an Omaha community that, as a whole, is very supportive of entrepreneurs and small businesses.
“Living in Omaha has been a huge factor in our success,” she said. “Because Hello Holiday is a fashion e-commerce site, we connect with customers all over the globe. But with personal mentorship from local business leaders and some of our most loyal customers here at home, it’s from our office overlooking beautiful Benson that we make it all happen. In an industry with so much risk, I love living somewhere with so much reward.”