For business duo Laura Bull and Judy Tabuena, it's all in the family
The name is deceiving: There is no Adelaide, for whom the store is named, said Adelaide's Boutique owners and Pasadena natives Laura Bull and Judy Tabuena.
"We just liked the name," Tabuena said. "We searched through baby name books and decided on it. By having a name that starts with an 'A', we are at the top of the (Internet search) list if someone searches Houston for a certain product."
The business duo — who also are sisters-in-law - opened the business in July 2008.
"Everyone thought we were just dreaming but little did they know it would soon become a reality," said Bull who is married to Tabuena's brother, David Bull. The couple has a 1-year old daughter.
The women have several things in common. Both married their high schools sweethearts, and both are mothers.
The only real difference between them is their age. Judy is 47, Laura is 31.
"I think the age difference between Laura and me is a huge contributing factor in making the business work," Tabuena said. "Laura is the young, hip side of us. I'm the older, maybe more sensible side. We make a great team."
"Because we're family, we see each other often," she said. "Conversation always turns to shop talk."
Tabuena is used to that, though.
Her father Jerry Bull owned and operated A&G Food Center in Pasadena for 42 years.
"He started working there when he was 15, and worked his way up through the ranks from delivery boy to sacker to checker to manager to owner," Tabuena said. "All of us kids worked there at some point. I watched him be successful at his store and learned so much from him."
After graduating from Pasadena High School in 1981, Judy went on to earn an associate's degree in fashion merchandising at San Jacinto College. She married Bob Tabuena in 1984. She attended University of Houston to study marketing, but switched her major to education. After graduating, Judy taught fifth grade in Pasadena for one year before starting her family. The couple has five children.
Meanwhile, Bull graduated from Sam Rayburn High School 1996, and went on to Texas A&M, graduating in 2001 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies. In 2003, she earned a master's degree in educational administration at University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Bull had been working as a dyslexia/intervention teacher at Lomax Middle School in Pasadena when she began talking business with her sister-in-law.
"I feel like my experience in teaching prepared me for the business I'm in today," Bull said. "Running a school is like running a small business. You have to prepare a budget, manage other teachers, parents and students, and deal with challenges on a daily basis. The boutique is much the same; working with a budget, managing inventory and staff, and working with customers."
Tabuena was already in business as owner of All About Her, a gift shop on Fairmont Parkway in Pasadena, but she was interested in expanding to include clothing. The sisters-in-law began researching clothing boutiques in Houston.
"We went on these field trips just about every weekend and took notes on everything," Tabuena said, adding that's why shoppers at Adelaide's will find lots of hooks in the dressing rooms, plenty of bench space and zero fluorescent lighting.
Business at Adelaide's was brisk, and Tabuena closed All About Her six months later.
The duo said they have a lot of plans for 2011, including continued partnerships with nonprofit organizations and events such as Assistance League of the Bay Area, Interfaith Caring Ministries, Lunar Rendezvous, Deer Park Art Park Players, and the Encouragement Project.
"We're thoroughly enjoying ourselves," Judy said.
Laura feels the same.
"Overall our goal is to do what works best to help Adelaide's succeed," Laura said. "That is always at the forefront of the decisions we make together."
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