Know Your Neighbor – Jackie Kromm

Tell us about your background. How did you first get started in the retail industry?

Ever since I was approaching university, I have had an interest in business. This resulted from holding management positions at both a restaurant in my hometown and a children’s retail store in those earlier years.  After graduating from Hofstra University in New York, I continued to understand and appreciate what it meant to be in business for myself, in particular when I became a realtor/investor several years prior to starting my first retail business. I have always felt that when searching out a new business project there has to be a need within the community or a niche market for what I am interested in creating.  Whether it’s an investment property or a women’s retail business, passion for doing what I love, blended with a realistic business model, and a dash of gut instinct has never failed me in making solid business choices.  This recipe served me well when starting my first retail store in Canada.  The little town that I lived in did not have any place for women to find lingerie and intimates, and in particular, bras.  Knowing that friends of mine constantly complained about their bras and the lack of a proper fit lead me to believe that, even though Victoria’s Secret cornered the market for intimate apparel, there was still room for growth if I studied what might be missing within the realm of bras.  Not knowing anything about the bra and lingerie industry, other than being a consumer of those goods, I got to work on learning as much as I could about it and what women were really looking for.  I came to find that women I knew did not know what a good fitting bra was because of either a lack size range in the places they were shopping OR frustration with the painful process of finding a proper fit. With those two variables in mind, along with knowing the value of great customer service, I jumped in feet first and nervous as heck.  As a result of hard work, and some growing pains, my business flourished very successfully the nine years I had it and is still in existence under new ownership.

 

Use three words to describe yourself.

Loyal, hardworking, real

 

Where did you grow up? How did you get to Stockton?

I grew up in the Bronx and moved to Long Island at the age of 9.  I lived in NY until I got married to a wonderful Canadian BC boy almost 30 years ago.  Without first reading the fine print on the marriage certificate that stated I would follow him anywhere, I did so lovingly, and our 16th move landed me in a wonderful place called Stockton, California.

 

What is your most cherished memory about your job?

My most cherished memory about my job is the great moments I get to experience almost every day because of the dynamic, loving, supportive, sassy, intelligent and soulful women from Stockton and beyond I have the pleasure of meeting and knowing.  I have to say, as much as I think I’ve learned academically speaking, nothing can hold a candle to what I learn about life on a daily basis from all of my “Theadora Lovelies”.  It honestly does not feel like work to me because everyone has a story, and you would not believe how clothing and intimates play such a huge role in bringing out the best a woman can be, in such a soulful way.

 

Do you have a best-selling product in the store right now?

My pie graph would tell you that my best-selling item in the store is our tops, but a really close second is our Bra department.  We have found our niche and have very loyal customers who appreciate the attention to detail we provide when it comes to fittings, as well as education on knowing what a good bra is supposed to look and feel like on.

 

What is your favorite sport?  

It should be hockey, seeing as all four of my kids play the sport, as well as my husband who makes his living working in hockey,  but I have to say that being a diehard NY Jets fan, though tough at times, will always hold a special place in my heart.

 

Tell us about your children? Where are they now?

Erica, age 29, Alex, age 26, Bryan, age 22, and Natalie, age 18, are truly some of the funniest and authentic people I know.  They are part of my survival kit, and like the air I breathe, they are my purpose for living. All of us who have children know the love a parent has for their child and I am so honored to have four children who protect one another, are true and loyal to their friends and are loving and compassionate human beings.   Erica resides in Calgary Canada, and works for a chemical company, as well as playing women’s professional hockey for the Calgary Inferno; Alex plays professional hockey in the ECHL; Bryan attends the University of Jamestown in North Dakota, where he plays hockey and is studying to be a physical therapist; Natalie also attends the University of Jamestown, where she plays soccer and is studying to be a physical therapist as well.

 

Do you have any favorite books?

I love to read when I get the chance.  My favorites are The Book Thief, as well as The Red Tent.

 

What’s a quote or mantra you live by?

Serenity Prayer

  

How do you spend your days off?

I have gotten into hiking via my kid’s passion for it.  Honestly, though tough at times due to my kids loving to torture their mom and dad during a climb, there is no greater feeling than standing at a peak of a mountain you have just conquered, with a beer in hand, surrounded by family.

 

What is your dream vacation?  

Any place I can put my toes in the water and ass in the sand.

 

Do you have a favorite brand that you currently carry? Why?

I have 2, Veronica M and Joseph Ribkoff.  I love having these lines in the store because their pieces look great on a woman of any age, and they also put a trendy touch on a classic design, which in essence makes them timeless.  We are becoming well known for our Ribkoff dresses especially for weddings, graduations, wine tasting and the holiday season.  They really make your figure look like a million bucks, not to mention being great for travel, which a lot of our customers are after because of their no-fuss, busy lifestyles.

  

Is there anything new and exciting we can expect from Theadora for 2018?

I love Theadora’s because it is always evolving and growing. The lines I carry have to stay relevant and current to keep up with the demands of our customers, and we have a few new spring lines that I cannot wait to share with our customers.  We currently have Theadora Ladies that range in age from 16 to about 85, and a few of these new lines, in addition to some current lines, are so versatile that we have women at 30 wearing the same timeless yet trendy clothing as a woman in her 70’s, no lie.

 

Tell us about your involvement with the community.  

I feel so blessed to own Theadora Boutique for a million reasons, but in particular, because it has served as my platform for raising awareness about breast cancer.  Being a bra fitter for 15 years has provided me with the knowledge necessary to ensure that breast cancer patients have the proper intimates necessary to make them feel comfortable and somewhat whole again.  From carrying post-surgical compression garments to breast forms and mastectomy bras, I am committed to doing my part in ensuring that a patient, in some way, finds peace of mind throughout her journey.   Even though it’s just a bra to some, it means the world to someone who has had something so precious to them taken away.  In addition to the mastectomy products we sell in the store, I also am proud of The Battle of the Bra event we host, along with WDW, which raises money for breast cancer patients within the community and provides them with additional support for their specific needs.  This means everything thing to me, as well as my staff, and we are committed to continuing to do what we can locally to bring this disease to its knees.

 

For more Jackie, visit Theadora Boutique Monday – Saturday 10-6pm, Sunday 12-5pm.

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