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Young female entrepreneurs share their stories
by Caroline Young
February 21, 2013 01:06 PM | 4897 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Nathan Self<br>
Pink Pastry Parlor owner Tiffany Young displays a cupcake she baked.
Staff / Nathan Self
Pink Pastry Parlor owner Tiffany Young displays a cupcake she baked.
Tiffany Young used to draw sketches and daydream in high school about her future bakery business. Today, at 30, Young owns and runs much more than a bakery.

The Pink Pastry Parlor is a bakery offering 21 flavors of cupcakes and other baked goods, plus a party venue for females of all ages, including activities like manicures and pedicures, hair styling, dancing and baking. Its first location opened in Alpharetta in 2009 and a second one, located at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead, opened in December 2012.

Aside from parties, the parlor is open daily for shopping with a “Stay ‘n play” area, a 1,400-square-foot game room where parents can leave kids while they shop. There are eight Nintendo Wiis, eight “princess life-size dollhouses,” a library with coloring books, sketchpads and board games, and the “Pink Cinema” with eight TV theatres with private listening. Young said she always thought she’d be a pediatrician because of her love of kids but decided she did not want to be in an office setting.

“I love looking back to where I came from. Statistics show I wasn’t supposed to be where I am today,” she said. “I watched it grow from nothing to something.”

Young said the key for entrepreneurs starting a new business is “save, save, save, just to realize you can’t save enough.”

“Be willing to put your life into it,” she said. “I felt like I had nothing to lose. When you start at the bottom, there is nowhere else to go.”

Dafina Smith, also 30, agrees with Young’s saving mantra.

“You’ve got to really rethink the way you think of money and your relationship to it,” she said.

Smith owns Sunny’s Hair and Wigs in Buckhead’s Brookwood Place shopping center. It sells hair extensions and wigs to a range of customers — average citizens to celebrity film crews. Smith said she grew up with a “preppy” lifestyle, first in Minneapolis and later in Washington while attending Georgetown University.

“A lot of my friends went on to become lawyers and PR execs,” she said. “My friends were like, ‘What? You’re selling hair?’ … The only solution is to be successful.”

Later, while living in Los Angeles, she worked in artists management for Outkast, and then in real estate at Sotheby’s. On the side, she started, and built her business up from there.

“There were a couple of months where you’d get excited if you have one order a week. Then it starts growing,” she said.

At the same time, in 2007, real estate started to crash, and Smith took a leap of faith in 2008 and moved to Atlanta — where 70 percent of sales were coming from.

“I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ But it was good. It was progressive,” she said. “One thing I was lucky with; I am a naturally aggressive saver.”

Smith now travels to see where most of the hair comes from in India.

“They have a practice of donating hair when something good has happened. It’s a way of giving thanks,” she said. “The temple auctions the hair and processes it. … The temple uses it to build up the ministry.”

Smith said it is important for entrepreneurs to be surrounded by people who are risk takers, innovators and well-connected. And 26-year-old Mandy Cobb, of Buckhead, recently launched a new leather handbag line, Tvachia, which is Hindi for leather. Along with her father Mike and younger sister Laura, Cobb has been working on the line for two years.

“It happened really organically,” she said. “My dad travels a lot to India. He’s in love with the culture.”

Cobb works full-time as a graphic designer and said she has always loved to design in general. Two styles of handbags are available in four colors each, and spring and summer designs are in the works. The bags are “really simple in design” she said, and made with all-natural drum-dyed leather, and are handcrafted by artisans in Calcutta.

“We would really like to spread across both male and female accessories,” Cobb said. “We’re working on designs for a brief case or a cross-body satchel, and a tablet case.”

Tvachia is sold online and in two Atlanta boutiques; 3226 Boutique in Buckhead and Remix Boutique in Roswell. With each purchase of a bag, a donation is made to Asha for Education, a nonprofit providing educational support to impoverished children and empowers women in rural communities of India.

Cobb said it is important to remember everything pays off after all the extra hard work.

“Don’t slow down; just keep on going. It’ll pay off for sure,” she said., or

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