18 Agassiz Circle
Buffalo, NY 14214
30 Wilson Rd.
Amherst, NY 14221
1880 S. Winton Rd.
Rochester, NY 14618
Jetaun Jones’ ’04 MBA life is full of beauty. Beauty as in owning her own boutique, BeYouTiful, which sells women’s clothes, shoes and accessories from top designers, in a trendy section of Elmwood Avenue.
Beauty as in her appearance, as Jones turned down modeling opportunities to pursue her dream of owning her own boutique.
Beauty in the form of a loving family and mentors who have helped her get where she is today.
Jones was initially interested in medical school, and started down the path by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD in 1999. After graduating, she realized that her interests were outside the field of healthcare.
“Medical school was something my family wanted me to do,” Jones recalls, “but as I got older, I pursued my own dream.”
She moved to Atlanta and took a job with the American Cancer Society. After two years, Jones found her start in retail at a trendy store, and within a year had moved to a more upscale location.
“That’s when I really got my love for the retail aspect of fashion,” Jones says. “That’s when I got the idea that I could have my own store one day. I never wanted to work for somebody else for my whole life. That had always been my plan, to go out on my own in whatever field I chose to go into.”
She returned to Buffalo to be near her family, and that’s when she decided to go back to school.
“Since I knew I wanted to own my own business, that’s when I decided to apply to the MBA program at Medaille,” Jones says. “I could get my degree while I was figuring out what I was going to do. Because regardless of what aspect of business I go into, business is business and it would be helpful.” Jones chose Medaille because of the small class sizes and sense of community, and also because they catered to adults who had jobs and families. “The faculty actually cared about the students, not just what was going on in the classroom but also in your personal life,” Jones recalls.
“It was like a family and you got to know your teachers and classmates really well. It is not difficult to go to class and work in the computer lab when you like the environment.”
The MBA program at Medaille fit perfectly with her dreams of opening up a fashion boutique. “During my final semester, we had to create an online store for an open house, and I did a fashion boutique called Beautiful." Jones says. "I didn't spell it the way it is now because I didn't want anyone to see the actual name until I brought it to a real store and had it trademarked. I ended up winning third place in the competition."
Jones says her entrepreneurial spirit comes fro her sense of independence.
"I want to be very, very successfful, and you don't really get there working for someone else. There are a lot of responsibilities when you own your own business, but there are also a lot of freedoms."
She says that one surprise was the amount of time needed to look after her business. Even when she takes a trip for a few days, she is constantly calling to see what's going on. She has some advice for potential entrepreneurs.
"Don't think that you can do everything yourself," Jones advises. "You can't -- you'll go crazy and you will get burned out. When i first started, I didn't ask for help because I thought I should be able to do everything myself. My mom saw how stressful it was for me and she started coming down and helping me when I needed it."
In addition to her family, Jones has others supporters who have helped her make a go of things.
"I have two awesome mentors," says Jones. "One is Mary Casilio, President of Casilio Construction, and the other is David Bunis, whose family started The Sample stores. Without them, I don't even know if I would have made it through the first six months."
"I strongly recommend taking advantage of all the resources available," Jones continues. "Attach yourself to mentors and use resources like the Small Business Development Center and SCORE -- they are there for us to use. Otherwise things can snowball and you find yourself in a big mess with no one to help."
BeYouTiFul opened in December 2005, and while the first few months were slow, business has steadily improved since March. Jones is expecting a great holiday season, and is looking even farther down the road.
"I would eventually like to open up a number of locations," Jones says. "Hopefully in the next five years I can open a second location and then another, so I have several BeYouTiFul locations."
"I also want to hire people from disadvantaged communities," Jones continues. "My mother worked really hard to put me in a private school so I could get a good education. I want to be able to give back to kids who have grown up and don't see a way out. To show them that if I can achieve success, they can too."
- originally published in the September 2006 edition of the Alumni Newsletter
The instructors were knowledgeable and welcomed class discussions, with
respect for each student's contribution. I've learned how to be a more
effective leader. My capstone class gave insight on how to combine all
the education learned to operate a business. That's when I realized how
much I had sharpened my knowledge.