You might say that Jackie Zumba’s life was born to be all about fashion. Her love affair of pretty clothes started as a young girl, growing up in the center of fashion in New York City. Mom and daughter would spend hours shopping along Fifth Avenue, and Zumba was known as one of the best-dressed children at school.
Now, 28, Zumba, is still head over heels for fashion. She is redefining style for men and women as owner of one of the most successful independent clothing stores, Jackie Z Style Co. The trendy boutique carries fashion forward pieces from top designers that include Mood of Norway, Sky and Trina Turk.
I always dream big for myself and work harder and harder to make those dreams a reality.
A striking brunette, the Sarasota High School graduate and successful entrepreneur opened her first store in downtown Sarasota just four years ago – and she’s been dressing the glitteri along the Suncoast ever since. A self-starting businesswoman who opted to skip college in favor of working, she remains optimistic about the marketplace and doesn’t take no for an answer. Over the past whirlwind year, Zumba took a gamble expanding Jackie Z Style Co. twice. She moved her original shop on Main Street to become one of the first tenants inside the University Town Center Mall. Then a few weeks later, she opened a new store at Sundial in St. Petersburg. Jackie and fiancé Brian, together for four years, also became parents to daughter Ansley, born in 2014. They recently relocated to a condo in downtown St. Petersburg overlooking Tampa Bay. It’s a family affair at Jackie Z Style Co. – Zumba works personally with clients while mom, JoAnn, manages the 2,000 square-foot Sarasota store.
What did you envision when opening your own boutique?
When I opened my first store it focused on denim and casual looks. Brian actually used to shop in my store all the time. That’s how we met. He encouraged me to brand a new store after my name and make it dressy, high-end couture for people. I wanted to provide a place where customers are my clients and my team can assist in creating a style that fits their lifestyle. We offer free tailoring on all purchases and go beyond their expectations about what a shopping experience should be.
When did the entrepreneurial bug bite?
When we moved from New York to Sarasota during my senior year of high school, I knew I always wanted to do my own thing. New York was hard to launch a successful company if you didn’t have lots of money. In high school, I had three jobs to make money. When I was 18, I was making over six figures with a marketing company targeting doctors and lawyers, and I found I was better on my own. I’ve always loved shopping and wanted to do something in fashion but didn’t know what to do. I started offering to help my marketing clients with shopping, picking out pieces to wear or redoing their wardrobes and things started coming together.
Do you feel you missed any opportunities by not going to college?
College was never for me. I attended for a few months but found it boring. I like real world experiences. I do feel I missed out on some of fun, but other than that I don’t regret it at all. I don’t have any plans to go in the future, regardless of what happens with the businesses.
What makes you a successful businesswoman?
I took the money I made from each business and reinvested it into new additions, adding on only as I could afford it. I always dream big for myself and work harder and harder to make those dreams a reality.
What have you learned about opening a retail business over your other entrepreneurial endeavors?
Owning a store is not what I thought it would be like. It takes a lot out of you! Setbacks are stressful and takes away from the personal time you have. If I could do it again, I wouldn’t have done both expansions in the same year. I would have spaced it out more. My biggest obstacle now is time management: balancing family, the business and making sure everyone gets all the attention they need. It is not easy.
How do you create your best life?
It’s important for me to have down time and spend time outdoors with Brian and Ansley at the beach or other places. We love to hang out on the water and spend time with family. We’re members of the Sarasota Yacht Club and enjoy catching Tampa Bay Rays and Lightning games.
No is not an option. Failure is not an option for me.
Do you have a personal motto?
No is not an option. Failure is not an option for me. I always want to grow and keep my clients happy. I’ll arrange to have pedicures/manicures for them while they wait for alterations to be made to their purchases. I enjoy finding out about my clients’ needs and how they like to be pampered. Personal attention to details matter.
Any future plans for the Jackie Z brand or other companies you’d like to do?
I’d love to start another business of some sort. I have talked about opening a children’s store on St. Armands someday, but I am focused on these two stores for now, enjoying our success that has happened in a short period of time, and our family life.