A Sluggish Economy Doesn’t Stink for Everyone

Despite the impact of the sluggish economy on their wallets, New Yorkers are not settling for dull skin, less-than-fresh body odors, and foul smelling apartments. At least that's the conclusion one could draw by watching the brisk business being done at Brooklyn's miomia apothecary.

Located in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood, miomia defines itself as New York's first truly unisex apothecary. Offering high-quality, independently produced and cruelty-free products together with personalized customer care, and with a reputation for launching "under the radar" and much sought-after beauty and grooming products from around the world, miomia was recently named by New York Magazine as one of the top five beauty stores in the city.

miomia owner, Katie Chang, began her entrepreneurial quest four years ago when she took note of the increasing number of "exfoliated metrosexuals," and was also tiring of a corporate consulting gig. She already had a life-long passion for hunting down cutting-edge beauty and grooming products for both men and women, which even translated into her Master's thesis at Georgetown University, "The Emergent Male Grooming Trend."

Initially scared about starting her own small business, she also had to deal with traditional Korean parents. "Like so many immigrant parents, my mom and dad sacrificed above and beyond for my brother and me," said Chang. "Their upbringing wasn't all roses, and it was fraught with challenges. I think it was painful for them to imagine me struggling as they did, especially when I had a safe and secure job to begin with."

But her decision made, and with the support of family and friends, Chang first contacted the U.S. Small Business Administration, which in turn referred her to its small business development center at Pace University. Chang used the SBA's online resources and the SBDC business counselors to help her build her business plan.

Finding just the right store location for her concept was a huge consideration. At friends' recommendations she scouted Williamsburg and found the perfect location on Bedford Avenue in the hip 'hood. In addition to the counter products such as Mario Badescu, Escentric Molecules, Knock Out Cosmetics, Cutler Hair Care, Histoires de Parfums, Armour Beauty, and McBride Beauty, the shop also offers celebrity make-up and brow services. And miomia's products aren't limited to New Yorkers and visitors to Williamsburg. They're also available online at: www.shopmiomia.com.

How do her parents feel about Chang's success now? Chang said, "While they were hesitant at first to support my decision to leave corporate America, they are now, without doubt and happily so, my greatest fans and supporters."