A Passion for Fashion. Meet Joan Lincoln of Panache & Trilogy

Photography by Natalie Sinisgalli of Natalie Sinisgalli Photography

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I'm Joan Lincoln of Panache Vintage & Finer Consignment, Panache Home & Design and Trilogy Fashion Foundry. Recently I have been described as a “serial entrepreneur”  bya few, I take that as a compliment, but usually I describe myself as: A mother of 3 beautiful daughters and blessed to be a grandmother at an age where I can still get down on the floor and play with Cooper Anthony.   I hail from the Finger Lakes area where my immediate family still resides. A Rochesterian for the past 37 years, I started my retail career with The Limited, Inc. then moved on tomanage Eastview and Marketplace Mall facilities, allowing me to sink my teeth into the “BIG” City of Rochester. In the 80’sand 90’s, I had a few good years of modeling for B. Forman VOGUE Show and many gigs with Kodak, Bausch & Lomb and Xerox, etc. Then stepping from in front of the lens to behind it I began ‘painting’ Upstate N.Y. women more beautiful for more than a decade as a Makeup Artist. Working for NYC-industry giant Trish McEvoy Cosmetics, I was blessed with a reputation that allowed me to become a sought-after makeup artist in the region over the past 20 years. Retired from the makeup industry presently, has allowed me to focus on becoming an entrepreneur, and launch 3 small businesses over the last 7 years. My passion and recent accomplishments have always focused on female-based fashion retail/resale, marketing, women empowerment and event planning careers.  I am a weekly Radio Personality on WARM1013.COM with Fashion First with Joan Lincoln, writer for 5 years for the former Rochester Woman Magazine, contributor for Pittsford Neighbors Newsletter Editorial, Recipient of The Entrepreneur of the Year from the Brighton Chamber of Commerce.   

What are you passionate about/what makes you tick?
I'm passionate about fashion and my family. I have always been incredibly intrigued by the runway looks that the media shares versus the street styles that many choose to adorn themselves in. When my 3 adult daughters tell me how much they appreciate me as a role model. When my family says how proud they are of me…everything else is icing on the cake. Setting a commendable example for my children and their families will always be my number one priority. What makes me tick? Meeting new people, empowering women, challenging myself. Competition makes me pay attention and sometimes my dreams are so BIG they scare me!!!

How did you get started? What were some of the difficulties you faced in starting?
 My journey through the fashion and image industry has offered me a host of extraordinary introductions, adventures, and accomplishments beginning in 1978 when I was voted “Best Dressed” for my Waterloo High School Yearbook - fast forward to 2010 all I can say is I must have been a little “crazy” opening a small business in the “pit” of the recession. I was also physically challenged as this was all happening 6 months after having a hip replacement!

“I proceed every day as if success was inevitable”. My business concept wasn’t new just new to the area.  I knew women who had designer and boutique label clothes that I had sold them and I knew that the “niche”, luxury resale needed a boutique with style & flair = Bring on Panache.

Challenge #1= Opening in 2010, as my first small business
Challenge #2 =I was still a freelance makeup artist juggling the on location responsibility of owning a business and trying not to lose the makeup network that I had worked hard to be recognized in was difficult. The makeup industry was a very vital networking avenue for me. After opening my second store Panache Home & Design in 2012, I came to the realization that I needed to resign from my makeup business as I just didn’t have the time. I recognized that I was the “Face of my Business” and I had to be present!  Now I refer my many makeup clients to my “Makeup Team”, Ashley Knight, Mgr. and Ally Pernicano Keim.

What is your biggest regret?
I am not much of a risk taker but when I was approaching my 49th Birthday I just simply woke up one morning and knew I had to make a change. Perhaps I should have learned to be a bit more independent or adventurous sooner than later in life, as I had worked for many small businesses and watched their success and knew I had played a huge part in that success, but I played it safe as a single mother for many years, then realized I had to do things on my own! Use my experiences… take the leap!

Regret #2: I probably should (and still should/could) have taken computer lessons…my many social media branding specialists make me look more savvy with my “mouse” than I really am, for this I am grateful!

What is your best advice to someone just starting out? What advice do you wish someone had said to you?
You are the face of your company! If you can’t be there to launch, promote, and sell it - reconsider. Be patient…listen to those you surround yourself with, for sometimes they see things clearer than you do. And I've always loved this advice from a client…”stay small, THINK BIG” always give back to your community, THEY are your client!

Lettering by Kim Best of Kim Best Creative

How do you find balance?
I am often asked, “How come we don’t see you out more?  ”My answer is I’m OUT all day. I’m at the “HAPPPY CORNER” so “HAPPY HOUR” is every day. Living life with style & flair is our way of life. I’d like to say I find balance by way of yoga, meditation, or working out…but I’m sure I get my steps in between the 3 stores every day.  Sunday Fun-day with family and babysitting my favorite littleman in my life, my grandson Cooper Anthony on my days off really helps me find that balance.

What is the most challenging part of running your business?

The responsibility of my Panache & Trilogy Team- making sure they are part of every aspect of the daily operations, involving, delegating, allowing them to have a vested interest with creative input and freedom to promote, buy and develop our business.

What is your favorite part of what you do?
The element of surprise…fashion! You never know who/what “treasure” is coming through the door and the story it can tell us.

Name some local creatives/business owners that you really admire.
Let me just say I am glad to be an entrepreneur and small business owner in The Greater Rochester area right here, right now. The energy is exuberant on every corner it seems. The unique creatives that band together, support, and network our way through the great City of Rochester feeds me and my idea machine.

The seasoned Meghan Mundy, Jenn Sanzo, Stacy K and her Floral Empire, Amy Nachtrieb Bell & her Pageant Princesses entourage, up-and-comers and young working mothers: Elizabeth Altieri, Ashley Knight, and independent business owners Ally Pernicano Keim and Toni Beth Weasner.