Entrepreneurs of the Week: Kijafa Vick and Blair Sandlain, Owners of PNK Elephant

Learn how these boutique owners hustle hard to keep their business thriving

Does PNK Elephant have any outside investors or is it totally self-financed?

Sandlain: Before we opened, we spoke with a lot of potential investors. Some that were interested and many that didn’t believe in our business plan. It was difficult in the beginning because we wanted to offer our customers so much more, but we had such a small budget because we were using in-house funding.

Why did you open another brick and mortar store after what happened in Detroit?

Sandlain: At the time, financially, I could manage an online store. Call me old fashion but I still love the in store experience. I like to visit stores and try on things there.

What made you settle on your current store location in Philadelphia?

Vick: I am from Philadelphia. The city is supportive of me and the brand. There was a big demand for PNK Elephant to open a brick and mortar store here. The city kept its promise and supports us 100%. We have a large customer base in Philadelphia but I also wanted to add jobs to the market. I knew South Street would be the perfect place for the store, because it is a popular area where young people hang out, to go to bars and restaurants.

What have been your biggest challenges running the business?

Sandlain: It was a struggle finding employees for the boutique with real work ethic. Now we have four full-time employees who work in the boutique and three freelance employees who mainly work on the website. Another challenge was compromising and splitting the responsibilities. I’d like to think of myself as super woman. It’s really hard for me to delegate duties to my staff because I like things done a certain way, even down to the way our money faces for nightly deposits.

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