“Independents” Week Q+A: Mystique’s Elizabeth Mandros on “Heart, Sweat, and Tears”

“I just did it!” How taking a leap combined with “heart, sweat, and tears” has led to Mystique‘s Elizabeth Mandros’ success in this edition of our Independents Week series.

When did you open?

1991. 26 years ago!


What made you start your own business?

I wanted to share my passion and knowledge of gemstones and diamonds.


What had you done previously?

I worked for The Gemological Institute of America and owned a diamond wholesale company. I also managed many jewelry stores.


How did you prepare to make the switch?

I just did it!


What is your favorite part about owning your business?

I get to help turn dreams into reality and I really enjoy working with my customers who trust and love my designs. Thank you for all the kind thank you notes and big hugs!


What was the most surprising/difficult thing you’ve learned?

Owning a small business is extremely difficult and time consuming. I don’t think most people understand the heart, sweat, and tears involved. Keeping a positive attitude and developing your passion is the key to success.


Tell us about a local independent business you love and why?

I love Phyllis at The Enchanted Florist. Having had my store for 26 years, I met Phyllis when I first opened. She ran a bridal fair in Old Town Alexandria. Her style and stunning arrangements are still her passion and it shows. 🙂


What changes have you seen since you’ve been in business?

Mystique is located on the waterfront and we’ve seen big changes over the past few years. I have a new hotel next to me (Indigo) and there are many exciting future plans for the Old Town Waterfront.


What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

My passion allows me to fulfill the dreams of others. How many people can say that!? I consider myself very lucky.


What are you most excited about right now?

I’ve opened my second store in Middleburg, Virginia, near my home. And we are having a summer sale at both stores, Old Town and Middleburg, on all my beautiful jewelry I have hand chosen.  I’ve discounted special pieces up to 40 percent off – so now is the time to shop! Please email us or call 703.836.1401 for pricing inquiries.



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