The owners of 2Bhip.com offer two pieces of advice to would-be business owners: "Don't quit your day job" and "Pay attention to what's not selling."
Special to Emmaus Patch By Chrissy Cilento, Emmaus High School Senior
922 Chestnut St.
Owners: Tim Arnold and Stacy Gabel
Hours: Online 24/7
What you sell?
Unique pop culture related gift items for all ages. From T-shirts to wallets, hoodies, hats -- that kind of stuff.
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Why did you choose to run your business from Emmaus?
I (Stacy) am from this area, and it was cheaper than Los Angeles, California, which is where we started nine years ago. We looked back here because we liked Emmaus and knew that it was a nice area.
What inspired you to start your business?
We were actors in LA and we needed to make money to go to our auditions. Tim had this belt buckle in his drawer from a photo shoot and we were like, “That’s what we should do -- we should sell belt buckles.” So we went on eBay and looked, and all these belt buckles were selling. So we went and found this little old lady down the street who had a card table with a whole pile of belt buckles on it, and we took them home and put them up on eBay. They sold immediately, so we knew we’d hit on a trend. When belt buckles lost their popularity, we expanded our business to other things.
What’s the hardest part of your business?
Working together -- with us two being the owners and living together and working together and running a business together and just being constantly with each other. On one side it’s nice because we can go to lunch together, but then it’s also a struggle for who’s going to be in charge of which responsibilities.
Where do you hope to see your business in the future?
We’d like to get it to the point where we can go do our acting or whatever we want to do and have it running without us being here. We could have an operations manager come in and manage the day-to-day tasks so that we can look more towards the future of the business.
What business advice would you give to someone else looking to start a business like yours?
Don’t quit your day job! When we started this business, we kept our jobs until we had no choice. A lot of people get fed up with their job and they say, “Well I’m going to do my own thing!” but you still need some source of income.
Also, I’d say to pay attention for the stuff that isn’t selling. A lot of times it’s more important to pay attention to the items that aren’t doing so well versus the items that sell quickly.
What do you do when you aren't working?
Stacy: I teach voice lessons and musical theater classes, and I'm in the Bach Choir of Bethlehem. I'm also running a half-marathon in January.
Tim: I haven't been doing much but working lately, but we're just getting to that point right now where we're realizing that we need more balance in our lives. Going into this year, I want to start playing hockey and try to get a little more active.
Chrissy Cilento, a senior at Emmaus High School, plans to study journalism in college. She is a periodic contributor to Patch.