Keeping it Minty Fresh. Meet Tanvi Asher of Shop Peppermint

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(photography by Alexandra Elise of Alexandra Elise Photography)

Tell us a little about yourself & and what you do.

I’m Tanvi Asher. Owner and Principal Designer of Shop Peppermint, a women’s brand and boutique. Majority of apparel we sell we design and manufacture here in the United States. The rest are a unique conglomerate of brands ranging from small Indie companies to hard to find labels.

Peppermint also supports the work of over 65 artists from all over the United States, a majority of them being native to our wonderful city. You will find unique hard to find pieces of jewelry and accessories made with love right here in Rochester.

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What are you passionate about? What makes you tick?

I always wanted to build something that I could call my own. This drive to be independent and self sustaining is what drives myself and my small team of women everyday. We strive to create a beautiful environment where our customers can be comfortable shopping and sharing their stories with us. Their feedback makes us tick. Their stories make us grow.

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How did you get started? What were some of the difficulties you faced?

Born in India and raised in the Middle East, I moved to the United States in 2001. After completing my Masters in Industrial Design and a brief 3 year stint in the corporate world, I decided it was time to go out on my own little adventure called “Owning a Small Business”. I started out in my 10x10 basement room and doing just small craft shows and pop ups with just a handful of items. The support and positive feedback from clients was overwhelming!  

By late 2011, I was able to find a manufacturer who was able to work with me on short runs and a limited budget. I had 2 wholesale accounts by early 2012 and simultaneously spotted a 500sq/ft spot on Park Ave  “for rent” which I knew was a sign to jump in. I took all my savings and invested in Peppermint. I was able to open the retail portion of the brand, spread the word via social media about the little boutique and grow from there. Since then we have moved to a 800 sq ft space with 3 employees. We continue to grow and are grateful for this city’s support and enthusiasm for fashion.

The biggest difficulties I had were few months into starting the business we needed more capital to grow + I needed to find reliable help quickly. A good team of people is essential in running a business smoothly because you can’t do it all.

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What is your biggest regret?

They say there is no medicine for regret. If/when I falter with a decision, I just move on and either start over or make mental notes on how we could improve.

What is your best advice to someone just starting out? What advice do you wish someone had said to you?

MAKE A BUSINESS PLAN. I cannot stress this enough. Having something on paper allows you to focus your energy on the overall scope of the business rather than getting caught up in minor details. Also  learn that to be an entrepreneur you have to take risks—any kind of decision can have an impact on the business, both big and small. You have to have be very determined and don’t be afraid to live on a roller coaster.

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What inspires you? How do you recharge creatively?

I travel. Working for myself has allowed me to take the time to visit distant places like Turkey, Denmark and my motherland India. Being in places I’m unfamiliar with, hearing different languages and eating curious foods helps my soul recharge.

What is your favorite part of what you do?

Watching  an idea bloom from concept to prototype to a finished dress and then seeing a client wearing it down Park Ave enjoying her day. The entire reason for doing what I do is validated at that moment.

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Name some local creatives/business owners that you really admire.

Kym Reed / Owner of World Hair. She’s not just a great neighbor but a bad-ass business owner who has been a great business peer. 

Nick Giordano / Owner of Dorje Adornments. I have always admired how Nick handles his customers. No matter how unhappy they are, he is patient and kind with all of them.

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