Answers By: Perri Denese Rodden, owner of Bikers Closet
Location: Detroit, Michigan
The online boutique, Bikers Closet, went live on March 19, 2015.
2) Why have you chosen to dedicate yourself to this particular business/industry?
Because I ride a 2009 Harley Davidson Street Glide, I wanted [to] dress the part while still being fashionable. I noticed that conventional shops and departments stores didn’t sell tops for riding. I wanted something different, so I started to buy online. That’s when it hit me: why don’t I give other riders the opportunity to buy trendy biker tops from a fellow biker? That’s how Bikers Closet was born.
3) What makes your business/product unique?
Bikers are a special breed; we like to express ourselves through our clothes and our bikes. So Bikers Closet caters to this niche market. It’s a one-stop-shop where motorcyclists can find apparel and bike accessories specific to their likes and lifestyle, that aren’t found in brick-and-mortar shops. Also, Bikers Closet strives to offer all American-made products and support domestic businesses.
4) You could have worked for anyone and would have been successful, why become an entrepreneur?
I was a stay-at-home mom for 30 years with four daughters and nine wonderful grandchildren. I never went to college because I devoted myself to my family, but I always had an itch to have a career of my own outside of the home. Now that the kids have left the nest, I’m finally getting that chance and have been blown away by the warm response I’ve received from the marketplace. I wanted to do it on my own. And I am!
5) What was your last, “why did I go into business for myself” moment?
Without a doubt that would be when I had to start the bookkeeping process with no experience or education. It has definitely been a challenge. And on the occasion when a vendor isn’t prompt with distribution, I get frustrated on behalf of the customer. On a bad day I still wonder, why I did this to myself? Luckily those days aren’t often and the good greatly outweighs the bad.
6) Every female professional should have __________.
Every female professional should have perseverance, patience and a good partner to turn to when she needs help. And of course it doesn’t hurt to have some fashionable clothing to make her feel confident and sexy.
7) If you could steal some business mojo from another mogul, who would it be and why?
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller
This resonates with me because I’m very fortunate already and do have a good life. But to go out of my comfort zone at my age and start a business to achieve something great is very scary. I am working towards success and fulfilling a dream I’ve always had.
8) What is your business motto?
“Keep the paint up and the rubber down,” which is a friendly way that bikers wish each other a safe ride.
9) If you could give other entrepreneurs three tips, what would they be?
Be confident, be different and don’t give up. There are going to be a lot of obstacles along the way and you’re going to be told no or that you can’t do something. Embrace your uniqueness and believe in yourself and success will follow.
10) Has there been a piece of technology or software that has been a lifesaver to you?
I’ve always loved the latest technology and gadgets, so it was important to incorporate this into my business. In particular, I’ve found my video-editing skills and software to be the most valuable. It’s allowed me to create videos for my products to better communicate with customers and increase awareness.
11) What is your goal for the next year?
Besides aiming for growth over the coming year, I really strive to develop goodwill and build strong relationships with vendors and customers. I have a deep commitment to customer satisfaction and work hard to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable experience shopping at Bikers Closet.
12) When someone is telling their friend about your business, what do you hope they say?
I would hope they’d say that Bikers Closet has consistent, high-quality products and that I work hard to ensure that every customer is happy. Whether it’s finding the correct size or color, I make sure to give everyone the best customer service they’ve ever had. I believe great customer service is gone. I don’t argue with the customer; I treat everyone with respect and I make returns or exchanges easy.