For Borderstan’s ongoing series on local entrepreneurs and retail businesses, we talked to Pixie Windsor, owner of Miss Pixie’s furnishings and whatnot… at 1626 14th Street NW. Windsor first opened her store in August 1997 in Adams Morgan in a 600 square-foot space on Adams Mill Road just north of Columbia Road NW.
Her resale shop thrived there until 2006 when the building was sold and Windsor moved to 18th Street NW for two years. In March 2008 she came to Logan Circle at 1626 14th Street NW where she has 4,000 square feet.
Borderstan: How did you get into this line of business… why did you open a resale shop?
Miss Pixie: I have always been interested in interior design, the decorative arts and furniture. After years in the restaurant business, I finally decided to open a store… and what better name than “Miss Pixie’s furnishings and whatnot…”
Borderstan: How did you end up here on 14th Street?
Miss Pixie: My business partner found the space on 14th. I was very excited because of the heavy retail feeling of the area. Adams Morgan got totally taken over by bars and restaurants and retail just died on the vine there in the last few years.
Borderstan: How have the last two years been for you here?
Miss Pixie: It is completely supportive and I have been wonderfully received, supported and welcomed by everyone… from residents to local police and local businesses and the business associations. It makes all the difference in the world! I love the strong sense of neighborhood that exists in the area, not nearly as transient as Adams Morgan. The difference is evident.
Borderstan: Have you been affected by the economic recession?
Miss Pixie: I have been very lucky to have a business that does well in a recession. Business has steadily increased month after month. I hope it continues.
Borderstan: What is the best thing about owning your own business?
Miss Pixie: It is wonderful to see your vision come true and to have others enthusiastic about it. My job is very exciting and ever-changing, and I have met some really wonderful people. Most of my friends originally were customers and still are!
Borderstan: What is the worst part about working for yourself, having your own store?
Miss Pixie: The downside is that work is constant and pressure is never ending to keep the vision up to par. I work at least 80 hours a week most weeks. On other thing I have to deal with is the nightmare of DC government. DC was recently listed as #51, the bottom, as a place to open a new business. I think it is a shame for the nation’s capitol to have such a reputation and I often exchange horror stories with other small business people about it. I admit that getting help from a local business association or your councilmember helps, but it shouldn’t have to be so difficult.
Borderstan: Many entrepreneurs have had unusual or “different” jobs in the past. What about you?
Miss Pixie: I have had lots of jobs. I have worked since I was a little kid on the farm on Eastern Shore Maryland… picking corn, strawberries and cherries and getting paid for it. I moved to DC when I was 25 and have worked as a waiter, bartender, restaurant manager. When I was still living on the Eastern Shore, I worked in a greenhouse and delivered flowers to churches and funeral homes while in high school. I have worked in a taffy and popcorn factory at the beach, I was an Easter Bunny and a Santa Claus for a few holidays. As a teenager I worked in a donut shop and also ran a roadside vegetable stand. When I first moved to DC, I made hand painted cards and sold them locally. Once I was a painter and had a few shows of my work—too much pressure! I have a hard time working for others, I am way too bossy. I consider myself virtually unemployable, unless it is my own show.
Borderstan: What advice would give to people who want to start their own business?
Miss Pixie: Talk to someone who is successfully doing what it is that they want to do—it really helps. I had lots of help from people in my business and I try to give that back whenever I can.
Borderstan: Any parting thoughts?
Miss Pixie: Support local businesses. It is so important in keeping the local flavor in your neighborhood, community and city. With all its woes, Washington is really an amazing place to live and work. Though I cuss this town often, I love it and can’t think of any place I could live and work and have the support that I do here!