Courtney PeGan, owner and head curator at Curate Boutique
With a little bit of determination, hard work, and a lot of heart, people can make their passions come to life. Courtney PeGan, owner and head curator at Curate Boutique, knows this to be true.
“Growing up, my dad had his own business for 40 years, so that was normalcy for me,” says PeGan. “I grew up working with the family and I saw how fulfilling owning your own business can be. It was always my end goal that I wanted to do my own thing.”
PeGan spent the first eight years of her career working in Corporate America, but her dream of starting her own business took over. “Leaving my first job was very difficult, in fact I like to relate it to breaking up with your first boyfriend,” says PeGan. “It’s all I knew, but as much as I loved the company, I didn’t look up and see anywhere that I wanted to move next.”
Looking back, PeGan says all of her experiences prepared her for the role of a small business owner, whether it was Corporate America spreadsheets or selling prisms and antiques at age 5. “I learned a lot about the company that I wanted to grow and the kind of boss that I wanted to be,” says PeGan, “and I had some really great role models along the way.”
PeGan finally made her dream a reality after a discussion she had with her father. “I just said ‘someone has to make it work, so why not me?'” she says. “When I told him that this was what I wanted to do, he was silent for a minute, then said ‘if anything’s worth doing, it’s worth doing yourself,'” she recalls.
Once her father was diagnosed with cancer, PeGan pressed pause on her plans for a new venture. “I took a break because it was really hard to think about a five year plan when you’re just trying to make it through a six week chemo cycle,” she explains.
In May 2012, upon learning that their father wouldn’t survive his battle with cancer, PeGan and her brother founded the John F. PeGan Memorial Fund.
“When my father passed away, I was determined to follow through on all those plans we made,” says PeGan. Inspired by his entrepreneurial spirit and supported by friends, family and former employers, PeGan decided to go all in on her dream and open the doors to Curate Boutique before the one-year anniversary of her father’s passing.
“There are little touches of family and him everywhere, which is very important to me,” says PeGan. “Everything from the crystal chandelier that hangs above my checkout counter to carrying jewelry with prisms and working with antiques.”
Today, PeGan also hosts events in her store, donating a portion of sales and 100 percent of raffles to her father’s foundation. In May 2014, she was able to award her first four-year scholarship to a local senior hoping to attend school. “It was so exciting to see all of the hard work pay off and to be able to positively impact someone’s life,” she says. “We had a lot of applicants, but we chose the one that we felt could benefit the most.”
“That was one thing my dad was always passionate about,” she continues. “He was all about making education possible for everyone, regardless of their background.”
Curate Boutique is located at 3433 Edwards Rd. in Hyde Park. To learn more, visit www.curateboutique.com or call (513) 407-6359.