A New Beginning

Rosemarie Jiminez

Rosemarie Jiminez

For Rose Jiminez, running a business is more than making a living. It is what helped her feel ‘alive again’ after losing her husband several years ago. When her husband became sick, Rose had to leave her job and look after him. Unfortunately, Rose’ husband passed away leaving her alone, not knowing what to do with her life.  It would be some time before the right opportunity presented itself…

Rose was born in Jamaica and came to Canada at age 14 after her Grandmother died. She came to live with her mom who was already living in Kitchener. It was a big change for a young Jamaican woman but for Rose it was a good kind of different. She still remembers how exciting it was to see snow for the first time! Rose met her husband and raised her children in Kitchener and has stayed there for over 40 years. She worked as an administrator for her Church for 15 years before taking another administrative job with a counsellor. 

After the passing of her husband, she decided she no longer wanted work in an office but she had no idea what she wanted to do. Rose felt like she had lost her identity as well as her husband and did not know who she was anymore.

However, on a trip with her sister in law to Halifax, this was all about to change. Rose took the opportunity to get away for awhile when her sister in law invited her to go on a business trip.  But, a visit to a boutique revealed an idea and a new mission. Rose came across some unique and lovely clothing that made her feel good. In fact, looking at and trying on the beautiful items made her feel alive again. The clothes were very different from anything else offered in the boutiques where she lived. She hadn’t been enjoying shopping as she didn’t like what was in the stores and she knew that other women felt the same way. Rose bought a couple of pieces to take home with her and the Rose Lee Boutique was born!

Rose created a boutique where women would be able to buy unique and beautiful clothing that made them feel good and they would not be able to find it anywhere else. She decided to offer her services as a personal shopper for women of any age and any size. Rose wanted to maintain flexibility with her schedule and avoid large overheads so she created a home based model where she could work with each client personally. Running a boutique without a storefront meant that Rose had to get creative about promoting her business. She signed up for all sorts of shows and events to get herself more known in the community. She handed out cards and flyers to people everywhere and started booking appointments. And the business took off from there. Rose Lee Boutique has been going for 3 years now.

Rose shops (and travels!) internationally for her clients to make sure that they have exclusive clothing for events such as weddings, anniversaries and other celebrations. She also supports women who want to find their own style and not rely on the stores to provide it. Rose provides a ‘shopping experience’ for her clients that goes beyond just trying on clothes. She is effectively the ‘best friend’ that we often don’t bring along for our shopping expeditions as we get older. However, she also accommodates and supports groups of women who are shopping for something special as these appointments are both fun and entertaining.

Initially it was a difficult transition for Rose to go from administrator to business owner. But she loves meeting people and working with women to help them feel their best has been extremely rewarding. The idea that she is offering confidence building as well as support in choosing clothes that make women feel good has kept Rose going when business was slow or life seemed hard. Creating something that was all her own and that she believed in so strongly offered Rose a whole new beginning.

And she has great advice for other women thinking about starting their own business too. Rose says ‘Find your passion and pursue it with all you have.  And if you make money doing what you love, all the better!’ Rose says that running a business is not just about making money. It takes hard work and commitment and most of all, caring for other people. Rose sees a successful entrepreneur not as someone who makes millions of dollars but one who leaves ‘a trail of kindness along their journey for others to follow.’

And what is next for Rose? Lots of exciting things! Rose is currently working toward getting her business online to increase her reach and accessibility for her customers. She is also finishing a book about her experiences that she started writing when her husband was ill. And Rose is dreaming big for women in her community. She is hoping to create a space that is an oasis for women. A place where a woman feels totally relaxed and at peace when she is there.

Of course, a boutique full of wonderfully interesting clothing and accessories would be a core part of the building as well as other services that make women feel special. Rose is currently looking for an appropriate property and is anxious to get creating! Another new beginning for an entrepreneur who is dedicating her life to kindness, beauty and confidence. For herself and many, many others.