As we gather up our families in holiday celebrations and wrap up another year (how did it happen so fast???!!) we thought we should look around at our amazing community full of moxie women and give a pat on the back to a few who have made such a positive impact on us all. We received several worthy nominations from our request in the last newsletter. This week’s Pat on the Back profile was submitted by Sara Cooper of Cooper Creative Group. Sara nominated Linda Martin, owner of Flutter Boutique in Pennington, NJ, and tells us why she did so.
“I first met Linda Martin in my role as Advertising Director for Moxie Woman. Linda is an accomplished business woman with a passion towards the community. With incredible energy, she pays it forward in countless ways. Whether hosting community events and fundraisers in her store or serving on boards and committees, Linda does so with flair, kindness and determination. In her commitment to mentoring, Linda is generous with her time and talents.”
Here we interviewed Linda to find out what makes her tick and what makes her so passionate about both her work and also her good works for others.
MW/Tell us a little bit about yourself
LM/ My mother always encouraged me to dream big and follow my heart,” says Linda. “For as long as I can remember, I have lived and loved fashion, and dreamed of one day owning my own store. Growing up, I devoured fashion magazines and papered my walls with magazine covers. Upon graduating from the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising in New York, I was hired by Macy’s for their Executive Training Program. After a long career in retailing, most of which was spent at Macy’s in a variety of senior executive positions, I finally decided to take the plunge and open my own boutique. A week later, I was detoured for six years by a colleague to assist in what was to be a six-week consulting project for The Children’s Place stores.
When my mother was diagnosed with dementia, I left The Children’s Place to help my dad care for my mother and to care for him as well. Three years ago, I had to say goodbye to my mother and, ten months later, to my father. Then came Flutter, one month later. The store was literally placed in my path at the perfect time, the time it was meant to be there. My dream was finally realized and somehow, I knew that my mother had something to do with that.
MW/ You serve as the President of the Pennington Business and Professional Association, on the Board of Directors for the Christine’s Hope for Kids foundation and are active in the newly-formed Hopewell Valley Arts Council. What drives you to want to give back?
LM/ I didn’t have to think long and hard about what I wanted Flutter to be, or for that matter the name. When the opportunity came about I knew I had to make the decision quickly. I asked my mother for guidance. I opened up a magazine to a page where butterflies were floating around a woman’s head. I had my answer and immediately the name Flutter came to mind, conjuring up the image of a butterfly, delicate, but strong enough to break free, take flight and experience a new beginning. “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” That’s the quote you see when you enter the store, and that’s exactly how I felt.
As for the store itself, I wanted it to be about more than just pretty clothes. I wanted it to be a place where women of all ages, shapes, sizes and colors would find a store filled with beautiful, affordable clothing. An environment that was warm and welcoming. A place where they left feeling better about themselves then they entered. A place where they were celebrated and supported, whether they were entrepreneurs or women working at home. And because the store was more than just pretty clothes, and I was now the one in control, I wanted it to have strong ties to the community and the issues and concerns that were important to the people in the community. I wanted Flutter to be a vehicle for making a difference in people’s lives and a platform for people who were passionate about the things that mattered to them and to me, be it underprivileged children, through Christine’s Hope for Kids, heart disease, breast cancer, children with congenital heart defects, or mentoring young women to build self-esteem.
The opportunity to buy merchandise for my store, to make it visually appealing, to interact with our customers is incredibly appealing. I love doing it all, and I get tremendous satisfaction when the store does well. If it were only that, it would be satisfying, but not rewarding. Flutter gives me the opportunity to live what I was taught. To be the person I was raised to be. That’s what drives me to want to give back. That’s the part that is rewarding. And without sounding clichéd, to make a difference in someone’s life. Maybe on a given day it’s just spending time with a customer who needs someone to talk to, or helping a child find a present for his mom. And since I believe in Karma, I know that the success the store has enjoyed over the last two and a half years is because we never say “no” when it’s a cause that’s meaningful to me or to someone else.
MW/ If you could make one change in the world, what would that be and why?
LM/ If I could change one thing in the world, it would be to bring humanity to it. To make it a more tolerant, more compassionate society in which to live. I believe that most of our problems are the result of intolerance of each other’s differences…religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, political, and a lack of compassion for others who are less fortunate than ourselves. We raise billions of dollars in an effort to make better the lives of others. To provide food and shelter for those in need, living in poverty. To save people from the ravages of war. And all this is necessary to do. If only that money were spent to educate people, take them out of poverty permanently, build self-esteem. In order to do that you have to understand someone else’s situation and care. I don’t think one person alone can change the course of history, or bring peace to the Middle East. But I do believe that one person, practicing kindness and compassion, can make a difference in someone’s life each day, and to the person in whose life you are making a difference, that’s a very big thing. So greater tolerance, compassion, understanding, that’s what I would want to see and the rest would follow.
I wrote this verse on a napkin whilst eating lunch alone in a restaurant after making the decision to open Flutter and it now hangs on the wall behind the service desk [in the shop]. I want it to inspire young women and remind women of all ages just how strong and amazing they are…and how capable they are of doing anything they choose to do!
“The wings of a butterfly are delicate, but strong. It’s power deceiving.
It is said that the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can turn the tides of an ocean.
And while the life of a butterfly is brief, it savors every moment, as it moves from flower to flower, enchanting us with its beauty and grace.
What we learn from the butterfly is this:
Live every day creating beauty.Never underestimate your own power.And when you can…take flight!”
Learn more about Linda Martin and Flutter Boutique on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/flutterstyle
The shop is located 20 South Main St. in Pennington, NJ. 609-474-4757.