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Kyle, Texas
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December 10, 2014     Hays Free Press
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Section D HaysFreePress.com ress c~l[rge December10, 2014 Page 1D .i Local sisters' business model keeps focus on compassion BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com Working with family can be challenging, but for sisters Jenna Gray and ' Megan Holland, opening Tiaras, a retail boutique, together is exactly what they wanted. "It was always a dream," Jenna said. Though four years apart in age, Megan (who is older) and Jenna look much more]ike twins than sisters. Petite and blond with almond shaped eyes, they have a big smile for everyone who walks in the door of their shop. At first, they worked full-time jobs while operating an online only retail site. "We did trunk shows and sales online," Megan said. But in September 2013, they took the plunge and opened,Tiaras. The name is a spin on the word crown, which they derived from Psalm 103:4 "He crowns you with compassion." With the opening of the store, their online presence fell by the wayside, Megan said that's their goal for 2015, to get it back up and running. Located in the H-E-B shopping center in Kyle, Tiaras carries women's shoes. They also offer a bevy of unique items ~ that offer customers an .... opportunity to give hack through profits donated by the company. For example, Good : iWorks, based out of i~aiifornia, gives 25 ~:! percent of its net profits to a charity. For three years, they will donate to the Children's Miracle Network hospitals, then will switch to another charity. "They are faith-based," Jenna said. That's a business model with which the sisters identify. Through :their products, customers can give back to more than 35 charities and projects when they buy items ranging from coffee mugs to moccasins and from jewelry to candies. Take the coffee mugs and wine glasses from That's All Greetings. On the website, it says, Angelica and Bridgewater "We believe Candle Company, whose program Light a Candle ,,.,. oCh'e what Feed a Child has so far provided 4.1 million :wei recalled....... meals to children through ~ RtcgB6;~tg :ohec~|~ feeds a child for a day. to do ... to lift For ]enna and Megan, finding products that each other up align with their Christian faith, values and morals anti support is an important aspect of their operation. each other," The sisters grew~in HallettsviUe, Texas~ - Megan Holland Victoria. Megan said ~eir religious nature drives "We believe in cutting to much of their decisions. the chase, and finding"We believe that's humor in our everyday what we're called to do lives." ... to lift each other up The saying, "You and support each other," have cancer. That's Megan said. all," stemmed from That philosophy also the hospital room of aextends to how they woman who was being interact with other local treated for ovarian small business owners. cancer. "It's hard being a small The firm gives back a business. There's a lot portion of its proceeds of big corporations that to fund ovarian cancercan do what we do with a research, lower cost," Jenna said. Megan and ]enna But these sisters say pointed out several more they would rather work products with a give with other small retailers. back business model, "If we know Buda's including Kant, ChavezRed Door has something for Charity, GoodWorks, we don't carry, we'll give PHOTOS BY KIM HILSENBECK At top, sisters and business partners Jenna Gray (right) and Megan Holland, owners of Tiaras in Kyle, carry items that offer customers a chance to give back to a charity orto help a small business owner in another country lift themselves from poverty. them directions how to get there," Megan said. Tiaras participated in the Shop Local initiative on Small Business Saturday (the day after Black Friday). Megan said they also network with other shop owners. "We're all in this together," Jenna said. But why did they select Kyle to open a brick and mortar store? "We both went to Texas State University and knew the Kyle area," Megan said. "We just loved it. We just love this community and everything about it. It's hometown." They are seeing repeat business, along with engagement on social media. "We're all about having a connection. We love knowing everybody and trying to help them," Jenna said. BY MOSES LEOS III moses@haysfreepress.com Travelling for the holi- days isn't on the radar for New Brannfels resident Johnny Roberts. But Rob- erts' children, who visit during Christmas, will be putting the rubber to the road this holiday season. With gas prices con- tinuing to plummet across the country, Rob- erts believes it could spur more people to also travel du ing the holidays. "I think it will help with people that are travelling [on the road]," Roberts said. "There will be more people wanting tO travel now that prices are down. Obviously, you are going to see more traffic on the highway." Holiday travel, primar- ily during Thanksgiv- ing, has already seen an increase over a year previous. According to the American Auto Associa- tion (AAA) Thanksgiving travel forecast, 89 percent of Americans travelled by car during the holiday, a 4.3 percent increase from 2013. The AAA forecasted 46.3 million Thanksgiving travelers this year, a 4.2 percent increase from last season. Helping that cause has been plummeting gas prices. According to the report, gas prices have helped increase disposable income by 3.1 percent. Local resident Crystal Bergstrom welcomes the lower prices, espe- cially with an upcoming holiday trip. She believes it "leaves a little more leeway," for holiday shop ping. GAS PRICES, 4D PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III As gas prices have dropped by an average of $.80 nationally, more people could be inclined to travel by car during the busy holiday season this year. According to the American Auto Associa- tion, 46.3 million people were estimated to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, with 89 percent traveling by automobile. Financial Focus by Janet Ross bike everyone else, u have financial oats. To help achieve these goals, you may need to invest-- and when you invest, you'll need to take on some risk. But the more you understand this risk, and the better you are at managing it, the greater your potential for staying invested for the long term. To begin with, then, take a look at these terms: Risk tolerance -- Your risk tolerance is essentially your comfort level with taking risk. For example, if you have a high tolerance for risk, you may be comfortable investing aggressively. Conversely, if you tend to be risk-averse, you might lean more toward more conservative investment vehicles that offer greater protection of principal. Required risk--While the term "required risE' may sound odd, it is actually an integral component of your ability to invest successfully. Basically; your required risk is the level of risk necessary to help you achieve your investment goals. The higher the return necessary to reach those goals, the more potential risk you'll need to assume. As you invest, you'll need to balance these two aspects of risk. For example, what might happen if you have a low risk tolerance, leading you toward "safer," low- growth investments, but your goal is to retire early? For most people, this goal requires them to invest in vehicles that offer significant growth potential, such as stocks. And, as you know, investing in stocks entails risk-- specifically, the risk that your stocks will lose value. So in this situation, your risk tolerance -- the fact that you are risk-averse--is going to collide with your required risk level, the amount of risk you are going to need to take (by investing in stocks) to achieve your goal of early retirement. When such a collision occurs, you have two choices. First, you could "stretch" your risk tolerance and accept the need to take on riskier investments in exchange for the growth potential you will require. Your other choice is to stay within your risk tolerance and adjust your ultimate goal which, in this example, may mean accepting a later retirement date. Obviously, this is a personal decision. However, you may have more flexibility than you might have imagined. For instance, you might feel that you should be risk-averse because you have seen so many fluctuations in the financial markets. But if you have many decades to go until you retire, you actually do have time to RISK, 4D + ! iill |'i]il iii i :[il I II li: i l!ll II I: I