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Entrepreneur finds fashion niche in hip Cool Springs boutique

Owner of the clothing boutique Lizard Thicket, Ann Stanford, 29, spent most of her young adult life searching for her true passion in her career.
Ann Stanford is the owner of the clothing boutique Lizard Thicket, located in Cool Springs.Kerri Bartlett
An Atlanta native, she spent six years in New York honing her fashion and business skills as a buyer for Macy’s home store and then as an account manager for a top advertising firm.
Although Stanford loved New York—the energy, the lights, the culture, and the important jobs propelling her career forward—something never felt quite right.
“From large corporations, I learned a strong work ethic. I learned to work hard and be nice. Also, you get out of something what you put into it.”
However, she lacked a true passion for her career and felt a deep drive to seek greater fulfillment.
“I felt this constant nagging feeling and cared enough to figure out what I wanted to do with my life,” Stanford said. With a feeling of hope that her passion could be realized, she pressed forward, challenging herself.
“I went to a career counselor every week for a year, until I figured it out,” she said. “I don’t know if I would be where I am today, if I had not done that.”
During that time, she stretched the limits of her comfort zone, built courage and confidence and uncovered the layers of her emotional self to find her true passion in her work life.
“I never took career tests or anything like that,” she said. “The purpose of the counseling sessions was to uncover the answers within myself. It’s going to be different for everybody, but I felt like I owed it to myself to take the time.”
Through her counselor’s encouragement, she formulated action steps to build on her dreams and, then, acted on them faithfully.
“It changed my life. Some people don’t know that this resource is out there,” Stanford said. “So much of who you are is your career, which fits into your personality. There was a lot of self-analysis that really pushed me out of my comfort zone. It wasn’t easy.”
“That perfect job is not going to find you. You have to make it happen for yourself,” Stanford said.
“I have never been afraid of hard work. I want to do hard work. I want to do something I love everyday.”
She discovered that her true talents lay in organizing, managing tasks, encouraging, setting the standards of excellence and building a positive atmosphere for success – the traits needed to become the owner of a franchise, specifically Lizard Thicket. 
And the preferred area in which she chose to exercise those talents proved to be in the field of fashion. 
“I’m a logistics person,” she said, stating that she enjoys overseeing the beautiful store and bringing customers joy through fashion. 
The doors to fulfillment that she had been dreaming of suddenly opened when she met franchise owner of Lizard Thicket Sheri Waynick in Atlanta. 
“I knew immediately that I wanted to align myself with these ladies,” she said. Stanford said that Waynick and a franchise team provided the support and spirit of excellence that she values as a business owner and as part of a larger vision. 
Lizard Thicket opened its doors in October, revealing an affordable fashion forward boutique for women of all ages and various styles. “We have something for everybody—for parties, the office and casual attire.”
The store offers lacy, flowy blouses with Bohemian flair as well as traditional pieces such as structured jackets and shirts—all with the theme of affordability. 
A slew of accessories line the store to adorn the wide range of outfits from dressy to casual. The store also carries the popular Miss Me and Cello jeans.
Lizard Thicket in Cool Springs is the only store location in Tennessee, while seven stores reside in Georgia and one in Arizona.
“It makes my day to see someone wearing something they bought from the store. It’s rewarding to help women find something flattering and make them feel more confident and beautiful.”
Stanford said that the store’s success already exceeds her expectations. She attributes the success to the passion behind the business and the strong team of businesswomen and associates behind her.
“I never had a doubt that the store would do well,” she said.  
“I feel so appreciative of what I have now. I feel like the luckiest person on the planet everyday.”
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Posted on: 2/13/2014


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