We had the good fortune of connecting with Leonor Belderes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leonor, how do you think about risk?
I consider a risk as a challenge of everyday living whether its personal life or running a business. I worked in my early age with different job or selling anything that i can make a profit like selling my neighbor flower that the they’ re going to thrown in the trash, recycle it and make money when i was in the Philippines at the age of 9. What will i loss , it’s the time and effort to do it or you will regret that you never try. I feel better to fail and try ,than do nothing at all. Im 33 years old when I moved here in USA with my daughter Tasha who is 6 years old that time., I barely speak English, being in a new country with my daughter was very challenging.Both of us have to adjust and learned a lot overtime. When my daughter start driving, i told myself , I’m going back to school and I graduated from Kennesaw State University of Bachelor in Business Administration major in Accounting at the age of 50. Juggling of different role as a mother , wife , working as a custodian at Cobb County School District and student at the same time is not easy. When you trained hard , you have more discipline and don’t give up easily when situation get harder.
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?
I am in my senior year at Kennesaw State University when my family friend business decided to closed their store. The business is not making income and couldn’t pay their expenses. I asked if they want me to buy and will pay overtime instead of closing it. I saw a potential of the store and being closer to graduate ,its a great internship to use what i learn as as an Accounting major. I remembered , It was a disaster when i started this business, , the building has no Air-condition nor heating system. Condition of the building was so bad that when the fist time i enter the room ,i would like to close it. It’s dirty and stuff are everywhere. I take a break and make plan how to organize and safe to reopen the store to the public. When i look back , ask myself how can i do it. Imagine , no cashflow and manpower how to operate this dying store. During that time ,I am in college, lost my husband and working as a custodian at Cobb County School district. I have to juggle a time and financial situation. I borrowed a $10,000 to a good friend Dennis S., and pay $1000 every month for a start. They are friends and family help out for cleaning and co workers from maintenance department to installs heat and air system , re- wired all the electrical for a very reasonable price using my personal credit card. When you’re new in the business no one will loan you a capital. And every time you have a plan there is equivalent of how much will it cost . I change the concept of the store, its still second hand furniture but targeting more of the low budget customer like students or people who relocate to Atlanta that starting a new life , Our furniture are eclectic vintage and mostly ready to use for everyday living in a great quality. I have inspiring local artist who start their business and redecorate this place to look unique without ripping out the pocket. I also continued doing prop rental for movies, photography and videography. I would like our brand to be know as a store for a good quality vintage and low prices in town.
Having business is not just overnight success. One thing you have to ask yourself , do i like what i am doing? Once your happy and motivated for doing things you enjoy ,no matter how hard it is , you will overcome it. Planning, organizing and implementing are some of the key for my success. I always ask myself what will I loss for trying , NOTHING.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Atlanta is so diverse. A lot of places that very historic. I would like to give them a tour to Martin Luther King free event historical tour. And if you like nature, the Atlanta Botanical is a place to unwind to escape for the city life. Nature and landscaping is fabulous. When i am over worked and need to relax i love to go to Jeju spa.Its a traditional Korean baths with heated pools, saunas & a fitness room, plus a nail salon & restaurant.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I grow up without a guidance of my parents. I started working and separated with my family in my younger age to survived. I consider myself as a hard-worker and always have a positive attitude. When I married George Belderes , I already have my daughter . He raised my daughter more than his own. He taught me what is the true meaning of the family. He taught me to be strong and fly in my own. He supported me financially and emotionally to reach my dream and be strong who i am today. I lost my husband three years ago, When he left i have no financially support but i have a wisdom , hope and strong motivation that i can do it. My daughter who is in Veterinary School makes me inspire to continue in my life and now I have a boyfriend name John Bernardo that support and help me emotionally to continue my journey.