mac1cYou can't help but be drawn into Eileen. And by Eileen Burke, herself. Almost five years ago, Eileen Burke set out to follow her dream of owning her destiny. Little did she know she would attract a cult following.

I still remember my first visit to Eileen. New to the area, I had to check out what the fuss was all about. However, it was a Saturday and the kids were in tow. Not knowing how much time I was going to have (love my babies, but they're not shoppers), I quickly scanned the store and picked out three great T-shirts. Eileen, undoubtedly, has the best basics in town such as tanks and tees. My second, third and fourth visit netted even more, including a sweater dress and a knit hoodie pullover. I was stunned by the prices. Unreal.

For Eileen Burke, success was bound to happen. She knew what she wanted and went after it with a vengeance. A huge credit to Eileen's foundation goes to her upbringing.

Growing up in Pennsylvania in a blue collar family, Eileen remembers what is was like to go "back to school" shopping.
My mom had a wad of cash that she saved up for months and months to take us shopping for school clothes. It was a great moment. But those moments were few and far between.
Eileen's mom, who still works to this day, taught her a vital life lesson - don't buy what you can't afford ... AKA: no credit cards. Eileen has continued to follow that philosophy. Eileen graduated college with a degree and began her career in sales. She was a District Visual Manager for the GAP and Nordstrom before working for Bumble & Bumble. Eileen was very successful. But during her travels with Bumble & Bumble she strolled into a Colorado Springs shop and the light went off.

benchWith the guidance of a friend, Eileen started a consignment business. She cleaned out friend's and family's closets for merchandise. Having saved a lot of money in just three years, Eileen was able to purchase all her fixtures and hangers for the store and pay for a two-year lease. Consignment seemed reasonable at the time, even with two competitors right down the street. But it wasn't long before Eileen was ready to try new merchandise. Her friend connected her to wholesale vendors. While she made some mistakes buying online in the beginning, she soon went straight to source.

While only 20% of shop owners actually travel to the shows, Eileen personally attends buying shows in California, New York, Miami to handpick her selection. Every day new merchandise arrives. Her concept has been one of envy, and many local stores have tried to replicate it. The foundation of the store is trendy and affordable clothing, private labeled, where nothing is over $99. Though the staples will always be there, in different styles and colors for the season, you will find something new at Eileen with each visit.

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Eileen Burke is a spitfire and incredibly sharp. She just gets it! She is also one of the most energetic and gregarious women I have met. Her shop is incredibly well merchandised and color coded for easy shopping (a Personal Stylist's dream).
It's all about building an outfit. I definitely stick to the core items, so I don't carry hats or clutches.
Eileen's advice for those thinking of owning their destiny: save your money and be prepared to work really hard. Her biggest challenge has been to overcome the misconceptions of a store owner. She says,
I get to work at 7:30am and don't leave until after closing. I am a one woman outlet - handling the buying, merchandising, accounting, business calls, meetings and working on the floor.
You can rest assured that Eileen's hard work will continue to pay off with even more success with the launch of her e-commerce site. So even if you don't live around the corner, you can still be in the know with the latest and greatest finds online!

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