Shawnee resident and business woman Rachael Melot went from working in a corporate office in New York City to opening her boutique, Wystle, which she says was built to empower women and help them succeed.
According to Melot, five years ago she left New York City and opened her business, which basically sells any kind of gift for any special occasion or loved one.
However, Melot explained Wystle has more to offer in addition to the unique gifts and knick knacks.
"I opened this business because I had been working in New York City for several years and realized I wanted to give back to my community through mentoring women," Melot said. "This boutique is really a facade for a mentorship program."
Melot said she often employs numerous women of varying ages and helps them find success in whatever future business endeavors they wish to pursue.
"So I hire women of all ages and mentor them on how to be confident in their skills of running a business," Melot said. "I give them a lot of insight into my business. I teach them about profit and loss. I teach them about dealing with vendors, making sales calls, customer service..."
Melot explained her experience in the corporate and professional industry has shown her a lack in positivity for women.
"I worked in the professional realm most of my adult life and what I've found is there's just not very many female role models who will stand up and say 'I enjoy my success, I worked hard at this and I've earned it' and are proud of it," Melot said. "I want to encourage women to not apologize for their version of success whatever that looks like..."
Melot said she gives her employees a lot of responsibility, which makes them feel as if they are running their own business.
According to "Wystle Doll" and 18-year-old Jobey Savage, she has worked at the boutique for two months and in that short time she's learned a lot from Melot.
"When she's not here most of the time and we're here by ourselves, it's like we're running our own (business)," Savage said. "So when I'm older I'm going to want to own my own salon and so it's like practicing for when I'm older."
For 17-year-old Wystle Doll Bailey Justice, the best aspect of working at the boutique is feeling empowered by Melot and learning so much about business.
"I think just automatically the moment I was given this job I was given so much trust...She just has so much trust and faith in us working here and it's really cool," Justice said.
For Melot, while one of the best aspect of her profession is encouraging women, she also enjoys meeting community members who visit the store.
"One of the great things about owning this boutique is that I have the opportunity to interact with people from all over the community because you never know who walks through the door," Melot said.
However, Melot explained maintaining and running a business of her own is not without its hardships.
"The challenge is to try and always stay ahead of the game. When you are a gift shop you have to guess a year before they come and shop what it is you'll think they'll buy," Melot said.
Melot was born in Sulphur, Oklahoma and she said her mother owned a small business and her father was a rancher.
The business owner also explained she has no formal business training as she graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a health and physical education degree and a Masters in educational leadership from Southern Nazarene University.
Melot explained in New York City she was the Vice President of Digital Advertising at BBN Networks.
"I built really great relationships in the advertising industry from coast to coast and had a lot of success at that and then my company sold and when the company sold the company that bought us was not friendly to women advancing," Melot said.
The business owner explained during her remaining time at the company she encouraged and helped her fellow female co-workers with their success, but ultimately felt she needed to leave.
Melot said she took a year off from corporate work and wrote her book called "The Ten Commandments of #SuccessWithoutApology.
"During my year of I wrote the Ten Commandments of #SuccessWithoutApology and really honed in on what I knew what was really my purpose in this phase of life and it wasn't just a gift shop it was I very intentionally expose young ladies to difficult business so that they know they can do whatever they want to do..," Melot said.
Melot worked in NYC from 2010 to 2015 and during that time she said she commuted back and forth from NYC to Shawnee to work at the company and man Wystle.
She then fully relocated to Shawnee in 2016 and took a year to write her book and in 2017 she went back to work, where she's been ever since.
Melot said she and her Wystle Dolls at the time came up the name of the boutique and that Wystle represents her because she's been a basketball referee for over 25 years.
She explained the community and those who have worked for her have responded positivity to the boutique and what it has to offer.
"I think the community really appreciates having a local gift shop and I have two other small businesses that rent space in my building and I find that people are very encouraging of a business...but more importantly I believe the women who work here and come through here recognize that this is a very unique and amazing opportunity...," Melot said.
As time goes on, Melot hopes to keep encouraging and helping women through Wystle and hopes to keep providing a place for people to purchase the best present.
"I want the brand Wystle to be known as place that empowers women and provides the perfect gift," Melot said. "It's about quality in both places. Quality that you would love to see or give and quality people who go on to do amazing things."
Wystle, Melot said, will have its fourth annual Windows at Christmas reveal October 21 at 7 p.m., with private shopping and the first Decorators Challenge in which the best decorator will receive a Peoples' Choice award.
For more information on Wystle and other upcoming events visit shopwystle.com.