Entrepreneur builds retail success

Entrepreneur builds retail success

23 Nov 2016     By Brad Stauffer

Already an accomplished entrepreneur, Jaclyn Tejeda wanted to improve her successful business. She was serving as a mentor to a new generation of entrepreneurs but thought she could provide more opportunities. So despite the demands of running a business and raising two young children, Tejeda decided to go back to school.

In her Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design (TMFD) bachelor’s degree program, Tejeda is finding relevant learning that is translating to better profits and better customer service at The Black Market, her downtown Lincoln clothing exchange. She also has plans to increase the number of employees she hires, with hopes that many of them will be TMFD students.

“There’s all sorts of different analysis that the university is opening me up to,” notes Tejeda. “Market analysis. Trend analysis. Learning how to validate what you want to do before you do it so that you can make it better and successful. Putting more emphasis on the value of research and design before just cutting into fabric. Every aspect of my business.

“Our store offers a lot of opportunities for students to be able to do visual merchandising, customer service, anything the retail industry wants a student to be, we can provide that little mini micro experience for the students.”

Tejeda and Taylor working on a display
Tejeda, right, and Black Market employee Taylor Fischetto, a Nebraska undergrad, prepare a new merchandising display.

What drives her business model is her desire to be a sustainable, eco-friendly partner in the Lincoln community. Her real passion is passing this skill on to others, and that’s why she created SEW—Sustainable Eco-friendly Workshop. In the SEW studio, kids and adults learn how to sew, deconstruct and reconstruct old clothing and develop clothing construction skills.

“My goal was to have the clothing exchange be there for 25 years,” said Tejeda. “I see that really happening now. Then just teaching workshops and being more of a mentor and being more of a community extension person for sewing and textiles. My goal is to go right into grad school and get my master’s and that way I can be an adjunct teacher.”

Black market logo and photo of Tejeda.
As her TMFD bachelor’s degree program has expanded her knowledge, so too has Tejeda’s vision expanded for The Black Market. She hopes to grow her sustainability workshop business and become an even greater resource to the Lincoln community. Eventually, she plans to complete a master’s degree and someday serve as an instructor in the TMFD department.

Tejeda may be an undergraduate student right now, but her 12 years of experience running a retail business have given her wisdom that most of her classmates have yet to collect. She enjoys passing that along and takes pride in the accomplishments of former TMFD students who have worked in her shop.

Earlier this month, one of those graduates and a former Black Market clerk, Tracy Georgiou, returned to the TMFD department as a member of the Professional Advisory Council. She’s now an online stylist at J.Crew in New York City, having also served the worldwide retailer as a brand buyer and assistant merchant since 2009.

“It’s really cool to see a Lincoln girl go through the department, do exactly what I wanted to do, and what I do, and what I see everyone do, and have success at J.Crew,” said Tejeda. “She’s able to come back and share her experience with the department—to show them that whole circle.”

group of students around a table
Tracy Georgiou, far right, a TMFD graduate and J.Crew online stylist in New York City, returned to Lincoln last month as a member of the TMFD Professional Advisory Council. She gained valuable experience working in Tejeda’s clothing exchange.

The Black Market serves customers from 14 to 82. “My grandma is 82 and she shops at our store,” says Tejeda. “All her friends shop at the store.

“We’re driven by tourism and the events that go on in downtown Lincoln. Our foot traffic changes every single day depending on events…a Husker football game, a reading convention or an event at the theater department or the Lied Center.”

Located at 1033 O Street, The Black Market has become a staple of downtown Lincoln and Tejeda plans to build upon her successes and give back to her community and her college. She enjoys networking, learning from the successes and failures of others and applying her new knowledge to her work.

“You learn from your experiences,” she says, “and hopefully you can help people steer away from mistakes in the future.”

TMFD junior Jaclyn Tejeda is a veteran downtown Lincoln retailer who has found going back to school is making her business stronger and her entrepreneurial dreams closer to reality.
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