Entrepreneur Crush of the Week: Marti Tolleson
Some people tell stories with their words, paint brushes or, like me, their cameras. Marti Tolleson tells hers with accessories, home decor, & apparel. Every square inch of her store, Two Friends, tells a "story". Different themes, styles, & colors compliment neighboring "stories" until, together, they tell a single, grande narrative. That is the essence of Two Friends - of Marti. As soon as I walked in, Marti's face lit up as bright as her store & the "light chatter" of every display table never ceased to peak my interest. Her ability to tell a story undoubtedly reflects her intuitive nature & the capacity to speak to an audience on so many levels. But it is the authenticity & hospitable customer service that sets her boutique aside from the rest & keeps customers coming back for more.
Originally started in Perry, GA, Two Friends was opened in 2000 by Marti & her friend, Francie. The two began with shows out of their homes & high demand, along with plenty of community support, left the business growing at a very fast rate. When Marti moved to St. Simons, however, she took a year off to quietly observe the local fashions, traffic patterns of the seasons, & what areas of the island attracted the most residents. Though the summer months on the island are the busiest, thanks to visiting out-of-towners, Marti knew she needed to focus on catering to the very people who would be by her side throughout the year. It's no surprise she gained the support of so many who have sustained her throughout the years & continue to do so. Both full-time residents & visitors are met with respect & an unforgettable experience immediately upon entering her retail space.
With a Communication Arts degree & a minor in business from Georgia Southern University, Marti opened her first business, the Social Butterfly, in 1999. But even then, she was no stranger to the world of entrepreneurship. She grew up in a family of business owners - her dad owning a feed/tractor store & her mother a retail clothing store. Finding & retaining great staff who represent the Two Friends values has been her biggest obstacle since her journey as an entrepreneur began. But it is quite obvious the seasons have fine-tuned her personnel because, upon asking what has been her greatest reward, Tolleson says, "My TF girls...each and every one of them has played an important role in making Two Friends what it is today!" Nothing is more apparent than the dedication of her staff. -I would know! I've spent over a year stalking Marti's establishment on social media (because why not?) &, though her marketing skills are basically second to none, her girls are the face of her establishment & they wear the name, Two Friends, with pride.
Marti says over the years, she has learned to, "trust your instincts, listen to your gut and the Big Man Upstairs! Trust HIM!" Though I only just met her, I recognize Marti is fierce, hard-working, & not afraid of change. In fact, she embraces it & seems more than prepared for it. Not only is she always trending with the latest fashion, she seems to have perfected the art of entrepreneurship in that she knows what people want & what people want is constantly evolving - a challenge some entrepreneurs never seem to overcome. Tolleson takes pride in her appearance, her store, & her staff. She is genuine in every sense of the word. As my official last "Entrepreneur Crush," I couldn't be more honored to have featured her. Thank you for your hard work, Marti!!
Visit Marti & her amazing staff at 295 Redfern Village, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522
Keep scrolling to be positively SPAMMED with photos of Marti's amazing store space!!!