To wrap up our Independents Week series, we talk to Elizabeth Todd — who, in addition to opening The Shoe Hive and The Hive, was one of the co-founders of both Alexandria Stylebook and the Old Town Boutique District — about surprises discovered and friendships made owning her business.
When did you open?
What made you start your own business?
My dad passed along his entrepreneurial gene to me. I always wanted to try my own thing. I didn’t know it would be retail but I always knew I would try to open something.
What had you done previously?
I worked in politics.
How did you prepare to make the switch?
I had a supportive husband and father. I also continued to work in politics for a few years. It helped having another source of income for a bit. I also started small and grew.
What is your favorite part about owning your business?
That you can have an idea and do it the next day.
What was the most surprising/difficult thing you’ve learned?
Retail is a lot more manual labor than anyone ever told me!
Tell us about a local independent business you love and why?
fibre space and I don’t even knit. She is just a genius when it comes to small business. She works so hard and has really created a community.
What changes have you seen since you’ve been in business?
The biggest change is the rise of e-commerce and social media. Websites were around but not like they are now. Facebook was just for colleges and Instagram came years later. It is hard to keep on top of it all.
What are you most excited about right now?
We have so many new lines coming into the store right now. At The Shoe Hive we are introducing Marion Park, Pedro Garcia, and Golden Goose, and at The Hive, Harvey Faircloth and Isabel Marant.
What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?
The people I get to work with. I have so many close friendships with people that have worked at my store or other small business owners. It is an amazing community to be a part of.