Tell us about Room Tonic and why you started it. Room Tonic (the shop) was, in a way, created for me. It was the name of my staging and design company in NYC before I moved to Marblehead in 2017. I had never owned a brick-and-mortar shop, or even worked a day in retail, but it was a dream of mine to open a shop. Our current location at 22b Atlantic was up for rent, so I decided to do some research. When I went to visit the space, the landlord told me there were 5 other people interested. I immediately said, “I feel terrible I’ve wasted your time! I don’t even have a business plan or anything!” It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say I kept apologizing and maybe even bowed as I left. The next morning the landlord called and said, “We want you”, to which I responded, “For what?”. They said, “To rent the space. This is a family-owned building, and we like your personality and think you’d fit right in.” (Cue the long pause from me). My husband had to come over to check on me, probably because my face was pale, and I was stuttering. I was stunned, scared, excited, unsure, (trying not to throw up), but I said “Ok!” So, Room Tonic the shop, as I said earlier, was sort of started by the lovely Fagone family believing in me and granting me space. My goal then was to bring color back! I love the Chinoiserie style because it’s classic, funky, and quintessentially Marblehead. Our sea captains here would bring back Chinese exports to show their prominence, and nothing looks better than some beautiful Chinoiserie pieces in our Marblehead historical homes. I’ve been overwhelmed with the support of Marbleheaders and it thrills me to my core when I hear customers say, “I love everything here!”
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? A friend who owns his own business told me, “Don’t let the business own you, make sure you own the business”. It’s so easy to let the business run your life. That advice helped me make the decision to be open Wednesday – Saturday to leave time for my family life and my design clients. It’s just me at the shop, so there needs to be balance.
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? Hands down, my favorite spot is Castle Rock. I moved to Marblehead because my, now, husband lived here. We wanted to get married at Castle Rock, but our wedding day turned out to be an unexpectedly cold and rainy day in September, so we moved all the boxes in the home we just bought and got married in our living room. I like to take my walks to Castle Rock whenever possible. I joke that it’s my church.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? People are always surprised to learn that I was a working actor in NYC for 25 years before moving to Marblehead. In the beginning of my career, I was building and designing theatrical sets by day and performing in shows or comedy clubs by night. Soon I was working solely as an actor in television and would take on Room Tonic design clients if time allowed. Later in my career television and design were blended. My designs were on HGTV and later I was Ty Pennington’s design coordinator for one of his shows before moving to New England. It’s fun when people come into the shop and say, “You look familiar”. I just say “I have a lot of doppelgangers” rather than tell them they’ve probably seen me on TV.
Tell us about Blakely Financial Inc. and how you became Partner and Co-Owner. After starting my career in Asset Management on Wall Street in New York City, I quickly learned that I wanted to do more than just crunch numbers; I wanted to have a career that made a positive impact on the lives of others. Thankfully, I have found a way to combine my desire to help others with my financial planning analytical skills. The opportunity to help others plan for significant life events, whether retirement, selling a business, or generational wealth planning, and then seeing them achieve their dreams is unparalleled. One of my primary passions is to help educate female investors and empower them to control their finances. Nothing gives me more fulfillment than helping a family plan the road map for their financial future or offering a business owner peace of mind. At Blakely Financial, we provide clients and their families with comprehensive financial planning. We’re an independent firm focusing on planning first. We let the clients’ goals drive their investment portfolios. My role is much more than an investments advisor or planner; I strive to be a Chief Financial Officer for the families I serve.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? “People don’t care what you know, until they know you care”. In the investment industry, every good advisor should have expertise in money management. What differentiates you to a client is the ability to listen and develop a holistic plan that takes into account their values, goals, and concerns – you have to know details on all areas of the client’s life, not just their investment portfolios. To develop a level of trust, clients must know you care about them. Once the clients have trust in you, and know you care about their financial well-being, then you’ve built a solid foundation for a lifelong partnership.
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? My favorite spot in Marblehead is the causeway. Whether it’s an early morning run, or an evening walk, the causeway is a place I can go to relax and unwind – and you can’t beat the ocean view on one side, and the harbor view on the other!
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?I was licensed to provide investment advice before I had a driver’s license. Also, I was born and raised in Marblehead and now own a home in the historic district of town.
For More Information:
Blakely Financial Inc., Emily Promise CFP, CDFA, CAP, AIF [email protected] or 781-910-0438
Tell us about SPUR. SPUR is a nonprofit organization that exists to make volunteering easy. Our goal is to connect people on the North Shore with volunteer opportunities that meet a tangible need in our community. SPUR provides volunteer opportunities for any schedule, interest, or skill set; all you need to do is sign up! We have opportunities for volunteers of all ages to volunteer on their own, with their family, or as a group. All our opportunities last less than two hours and none require a commitment. Try any of our volunteer opportunities, just once or sign up as often as you like! We know our volunteers are busy, so we provide plenty of flexible opportunities that can be fulfilled during the day, evening, or weekends. No matter your interest, there are plenty of ways to give back, whether you clean a local beach with us, prepare meals at home for a local shelter, or weed one of our gardens at any time that works for your schedule. Whether you’d like to volunteer from home, in our office, or out in the community, you’ll find plenty of ways to make a difference every day with SPUR!
How did SPUR get started? SPUR was founded in 2014 (we’re about to turn 10!) when founder Jocelyn Cook was having trouble finding meaningful volunteer opportunities for her family. All the organizations she contacted asked for long-term commitment, required extensive training, or weren’t open to families with young children. Thus, the idea for an organization that removes those barriers and connects volunteers directly with ways to make the biggest impact was born!
What types of projects does SPUR have coming up? SPUR has a variety of ongoing opportunities, including our 4 community gardens. These gardens grow over 1,000 pounds of delicious organic fruit and veggies for local food pantries and group homes, thanks to volunteers who weed, water, harvest, or deliver. Not into gardening? Volunteer with us to distribute food at a local food pantry, make a meal for a local shelter, serve dinner at the local shelter or pick up food from Crosby’s or Shubie’s that would otherwise be thrown away and deliver it to a local organization that fights food insecurity. We have opportunities to create pillowcases for our Holiday Cheer Drive, which provides nearly 600 adults experiencing homelessness and children in our community with holiday gifts. Whether you already know how or you want to learn a new skill, we’ll provide you with the directions and support you need to participate in any of our activities, from gardening to sewing and so much more!
Right now we are hosting our annual Student Success Drive. This drive provides nearly 700 backpacks and school supplies to children in our community who wouldn’t otherwise have them on the first day of school. We’re looking for sponsors to help us purchase all those necessary supplies and volunteers to fill the backpacks! We work with local social service providers, guidance counselors, case workers, and other social service providers to identify backpack recipients. You can sponsor supplies or a backpack at https://www.spurnorthshore.org/student-success-drive
How can the community of Marblehead become involved? Everyone is welcome at SPUR! We like to say that whether you’re 4 or 94, there’s a place for you here. Learn more about all of our volunteer opportunities and sign up online atwww.spurnorthshore.org. Consider donating to our mission and helping to SPUR Good Deeds.
Tell us about Interview IQ and why you started it. Let’s face it, finding a job today can be confusing and overwhelming! Nearly 50% of college graduates say they don’t even know where to begin their search. That is why we started Interview IQ to offer a unique blend of career search and interview skills coaching. The inspiration for Interview IQ came from my 30 years as a hiring manager and coach. I have interviewed and hired over 1000 candidates and know what it takes to find the right job and have a successful interview.
What I’ve learned is simple. First impressions are key. Most recruiters say they only need 90 seconds to make a hiring decision and since most candidates go through multiple interviews before receiving an offer, strong interview skills are a necessity! My belief is that interviewing is a skill that can be learned, but it must be practiced. At Interview IQ, we’ll teach you how to tell “your story” in a confident and compelling way. We use mock interviews to enhance soft skills, improve behavior-based answers, and reduce anxiety. Practice improves all of these. Contact us today to see if Interview IQ is what you have been searching for.
What we do:
Self assessment – Our self-assessment services include the review and analysis by our career coaches and follow-up sessions with you to discuss an action plan.
Career Assessment – Find the job that is right for you.
Develop your personal brand – Review and refine your resume, LinkedIn profile, social media and networking skills.
Interview prep – Learn to tell “Your Story”.
Interview practice – Refine and practice your skills through mock interviews and feedback from our coaches.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?Don’t wing it! Unless you have the luxury to wander, have a plan and a destination. One of my favorite quotes is by Yogi Berra. “If you don’t know where you are going, you might end up someplace else.”
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? Marblehead Harbor. There is something restorative about being on the water!
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?In my spare time I manage my son’s Rap/Rock band.