We had the good fortune of connecting with Valli Millsaps and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Valli, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Starting your business is everyone’s dream, right? Or at least it has been mind for my entire life. When I was young I thought I would have an artist school and gallery, then I thought I would have a deli or a B&B. But when it came time to actually realize my dream… it was a custom frame shop. I feel like I am in my art class all day. I love it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have always been creative in whatever I do. Drawing, sculpting, painting, remodeling, cooking or even working in the professional world of IT (before my frame shop). I sought out the creative solutions in everything I have done, and I believe buying the frame shop was my creative solution to get out of the corporate rat race. I am very proud of stepping into an established shop for over 30 years and making it my own… and succeeding!! My need to excite people is what takes my work to the next level. It is so important that I don’t just do what everyone else does… I make it my own. That sets me apart. It was scary, very scary to walk away from a 30 year career in upper management making well into the 6 digits to ZERO. But I just took it one step at a time. Learn the tools and equipment, and my artist background will take care of the design and my 30 years in project management will take care of the business organization and people parts. I trusted in myself to not fail. I know that I am always getting better every single day, and my lesson is to trust the process. I would like everyone to know that my main focus is YOU. I will focus on your needs and I will do everything possible to exceed your expectations every time.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
OH gosh! So many places!!! Well definitely lunch at Main Street Coastal or Table 20, then straight to the Booth Museum!!! Followed by some wine at Olive Tree & Vine for sure, then stop by JZ Taste of Georgia for a charcuterie plate and more local wine. I wouldn’t let them leave until they could experience at night at The Grand Theatre for whatever they have on the bill board at the time. Every show is a show stopper. And some local shopping: Olive Branch, It’s About Time, Periwinkle, Lulubelle’s and Love, Liberia!!! They will have to get at least one of the shirts from Love! I just love this town and the excitement and variety it holds. And if you don’t know what is happening just listen to Alan on WBHF. I listen every day. Joe Tilley is always a fun segment.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
It would have to be two people. First my husband that believes anything I set my mind to will be done great. He believes in me even when I doubt myself. He knew we were taking a huge risk by walking away from a very lucrative position to no paycheck for who knows how long. Of course he was nervous as heck… but he stood by me (and paid all the bills) And of course my mom. My lifelong cheerleader. She always see me better than I am, which makes me want to live up to her vision of me. She makes me want to be better and I love her for that. She led by example by always taking chances and going further than most expect. She grew up in an era where women just did no such thing….. and she did.
Linkedin: Valerie Millsaps
Portrait photography by Randy Parker