Paulette Kasmer has unlimited energy. To say she lives with a positive attitude is an understatement. The owner of Polka Dot Parlor, one of the few retail shops and the only women’s clothing shop in the main street area of Bristol Borough, Kasmer loves to bring her own sense of style to her store. Everything about Polka Dot Parlor is a reflection of its owner, from the kitschy décor to the clothes she picks herself, this is truly a labor of love for Kasmer. As she admits, sometimes her own enthusiasm can be overwhelming, but she brings a love of what she does every day to every endeavor. The story of Polka Dot Parlor and Kasmer’s drive to empower women is inspiring.
Main Street: Season 2Meet the Characters
Featured Small Business
Owner, Polka Dot Parlor
- What does living and working in Bristol Borough mean to you?
Working in Bristol Borough is an interesting venture. There are all different kinds of people from different walks of life that come into my shop. I really enjoy being in such a historical place by the river.
- How did you feel when Bristol Borough won the Main Street contest?
Speechless. Simply speechless.
- What was one big struggle you were facing before Amanda and Robert came to Bristol Borough?
The main one was getting people to re-discover Bristol Borough for shopping and eating from surrounding areas. The second, on a personal note, was to tame my over the top antics (I struggle with ADHD) in retail display/presentation, it can be too much for some people.
- What was your favorite part of the Small Business Revolution experience?
Knowing there is a large, successful American company that truly cares about small businesses succeeding. Deluxe is inspiring. Its team makes me want to be a better business woman. I often try to help people on an emotional level but I learned by their example; you can do both and still be successful.
- What was the hardest part of the Small Business Revolution experience for you?
Physically, the hours of changing my shop. Emotionally, the crowded events and confronting my weaknesses.
- What have you learned about yourself in this process? What have you learned about your business?
I have learned that I’m far stronger than I thought and that people do care for the little gal. I am not in this small business revolution all by myself. It is ok to start from zero, it is what you learn and obtain from the journey that matters most. I have learned so much about my business, like people do want to know me, the shop owner. I make the experience for them. I never thought I was much of a draw. I thought it was my awesome merchandise at even better prices. Deluxe taught me otherwise. I always try to make every guest in my shop enjoy the moment and fill themselves with positivity.
- What is the one thing you hope viewers take away from this season in Bristol Borough?
I hope they become so interested that they come to shop!
- One word you would use to describe your experience?
One word? You’re killing me. Life-changing. Challenging, inspiring, colorful, blessing, four years of college wrapped up in months, unforgettable. Sorry, that’s impossible to answer with one word.
- Would you do this again?
ABSOLUTELY!!! Growth is necessary. There is always room for improvement. Plus, I’d get to see all the wonderful Deluxe faces again!
- What services provided by Deluxe did you find to be the most helpful to you and your business?
Their social media work is phenomenal. They took my business and did not change it but portrayed it on social media. I also think the bags are beautiful. My store front is KILLA! The market tips – signage, store display, etc. are on point. I love the Deluxe business and coupon cards. They feel so nice and the design is so rich.
- What was one piece of advice Robert or Amanda gave that will stick with you well beyond SBR?
Robert and Amanda both told me that I am what makes people come back to my shop. It drives home to always try to give each person good, friendly service. It’s ok to be me and not hide it (like I used to, especially on social media – I never thought people would be interested in me).
- What would you say to other small businesses or people in small towns thinking of nominating their town for the Main Street contest?
Do it if you are up for a major challenge. Only do it if you truly are going to be receptive to the ideas, changes and experiences you will have no matter how uncomfortable or uneasy you feel. The Small Business Revolution exposes you. They expose you then build from that to make your business better. If you are like me, soak it up like a sponge. Remember, Deluxe is in this position because they too started from zero. They are there only to make you grow into a more successful business, not change who you are.