BIOGRAPHY - Whitney Russell, Owner
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been surrounded by entrepreneurs. Growing up, my parents both owned businesses. My mother operated a salon and my father, a residential painting company. From a young age, I was taught that hard work, ambition and persistence were keys to success. Running a business has always been a familiar way of life for me.
Since 2013, I have owned and helped run the family’s (now commercial) painting business. Additionally, and more recently, I have been focused on launching Fancy Pants and Tutus, which is something I am very passionate about, and have dreamed about doing for quite some time.
Even as a young girl, I always loved to “dress up” and was very fashion-conscious. I enjoyed clothing and shopping. In high school, I was stylish and trendy and was voted “best-dressed” by my classmates. I took a fashion course at Indiana University of Pennsylvania during my Freshmen year of college. I liked it so much that I decided to pursue fashion as a major and transferred to West Virginia University because they had a strong program. I graduated from WVU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and completed several fashion courses there.
During my college years, I also had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad and appreciate international fashion in Milan, Italy. During summers and college breaks, I also worked at Bebe and for Louis Vuitton. While working for both of those retailers, I gained strong sales, merchandising and customer relations skills.
I applied for the Louis Vuitton job in 2008, which involved working in the former Saks Fifth Avenue store in Downtown Pittsburgh in their Louis Vuitton Department. In that role, I was responsible for their display window and meeting aggressive sales goals. The Louis Vuitton role was a unique experience because I learned about the different talents and skills necessary for the operations and clientele of a high-end retailer.
After graduating from WVU in 2009, I accepted a sales internship with The Donna Karan Company in New York City. It was a challenging role on her executive team. During that internship, I had the chance to work on a market week and help produce a high-end Donna Karan Runway Fashion Show.
My husband, Thom and I married in 2013 and celebrated the birth of our daughter, Ella, in 2015. Ever since I found out I was having a baby girl, I have enjoyed shopping for her clothing.
I have spent a lot of time online browsing for pretty, dress-up clothing, since there are very few children’s boutiques or specialty children’s clothing stores in the Pittsburgh area.
For these and many other reasons, I became more determined to open my own online children’s clothing boutique. I wanted to focus on higher-end, dress clothing for infants through size 12 … not the type of clothing that children wear every day or to play in, but dressier options that parents and children can both enjoy, especially for those special occasions.
Once I solidified my plan, my mother came up with the creative name for my business--Fancy Pants and Tutus-- which I officially established in 2015. In the Fall of 2016, my mother and I traveled to New York City to attend some children’s fashion shows, which inspired more great ideas. I purchased a lot of merchandising in March and July of 2017.
Fancy Pants and Tutus officially “opened” for business on July 15, 2017. While my business is primarily an online boutique, customers will be able to hire Fancy Pants and Tutus for Trunk Shows and at-home parties.
Thank you; I appreciate your business and welcome your suggestions.
Please email me with questions or fashion requests at: email@example.com.
Have fun shopping at Fancy Pants and Tutus, clothing for the best-dressed girls and boys!
Previous Professional Retail and Entrepreneurial Experience:
Sr. Sales Representative, Verizon Wireless, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania
Sales Intern, Donna Karan Company, New York, New York
Sales Specialist, Louis Vuitton, Pittsburgh
Sales Associate, bebe, Pittsburgh
B.S. Business Administration, with a Fashion Concentration
West Virginia University
Hobbies & Interests:
Spending time with my husband, Thom and daughter, Ella, family and friends
Shopping, of course!