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18 Years of Hysteria

Blog: Beeswax

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18 Years of Hysteria

Suzanne Runyon


Six years ago, I was newly married and selling real estate for a local broker.  Little did I know then, one decision would change the direction of my life, and would lead to an exciting new turn of events.  In those days, I was in “sales building” mode; working on and cultivating my real estate client base.  As I was still ramping-up in my sales, I thought it would be practical to supplement my income with a part-time job.   When I inquired about working at Hysteria, I was hired right on the spot!

My role, in the beginning at Hysteria, was as Assistant Manager.  The fateful turn of events soon followed when I learned that the previous owner of Hysteria had decided to sell the business. With the store being on the market to be sold, I started thinking about whether I should be the next owner.  The more I considered it, I just couldn’t shake the idea.  In my heart, I knew that this was my next step in life.  It was a compelling idea, because I had always wanted to own a small business, and I couldn’t think of a better place to fulfill this dream.

Full disclosure, this was a big (and risky) decision to make, because I must admit that I didn’t (at the time) have a background in fashion or in running a business. However, while I did not have those experiences previously, I felt optimistic, because I have always been a natural “people person”, and I especially loved working with Hysteria’s savvy customers. With my love of Hysteria and a love for our customer base, I knew that this would be a great place for me to experience small business ownership, and to do so in a place that I would really enjoy.  So, you know what happened next: I took the big leap!

Fast forward to today – it’s hard to believe, but true: Hysteria has been around for almost two decades. I am proud to be part of the store legacy of bringing, season after season, great fashion and accessories. Fun fact: not everyone knows that Hysteria originally started out as a small accessory boutique – carrying mostly jewelry!

As the business grew, so did the range of products, and Hysteria eventually expanded into clothing.  I look back at the brands the store has carried over the years, and there are many to speak of (and perhaps many to forget) – trust me!  One brand seems to resonate, and that’s Tory Burch. Hysteria carried the line years ago, and it was a best-seller.  At that time, the brand was new and up and coming, so it totally made sense to carry the line.  That logo!  It was (and still is) everywhere. Now it’s a huge national brand…talk about women in business!  Tory is a model of building a brand!  I mention that, because over the past few years, I have struggled to figure out what was the best, next step, for Hysteria.  In the beginning, I thought the right answer was to not change a thing in the store’s formula, and to bring back some of the former brand-named designers.  After going down this path, I quickly learned that our business, much like fashion itself, needed a fresh change.

With this epiphany, we launched the reinvention campaign and plan for the business early last year; streamlining designers that our customers loved, growing out our jewelry lines, and bringing back the original flavor of the Hysteria concept.  With these changes, momentum is building, and things have really turned around. We’re getting excellent feedback on the products we are procuring, and everyone seems to love our direction.

With all this said, we would be nothing without our loyal clients, and we really can’t thank you enough for supporting us through this journey, and for continuing to support us as we continue.  We’re excited to grow together.  As they say… life is a marathon, not a sprint!