53° Good Afternoon
53° Good Afternoon

Day jobs, retail dream keep Oakdale couple in juggling act

In2ition mercantile, owned by husband and wife, Nick

In2ition mercantile, owned by husband and wife, Nick Yasinosky and Jennifer Wojcieski, started out as an Internet business and now has a real store in Oakdale. Credit: David L. Pokress

Most weeks, Jennifer Wojcieski and her husband, Nick Yasinosky, work more than 130 hours between them.

She puts in about 50 hours a week in her day job as an architect, and he puts in about 30 as a personal trainer. Then there are the hours she puts in making her line of soaps, bath salts, lotions and scrubs, and the hours they both devote to manning their retail store, in2ition mercantile, which opened in Oakdale last November.

"It's definitely a juggling act," says Wojcieski, 43, who started in2ition online in 2008.

Like many budding entrepreneurs, Wojcieski and Yasinosky have no plans to give up their day jobs, relying on that combined income to pay the bills and help fund their dream.

"Many entrepreneurs will keep their full-time employment . . . for the steady income and possibly benefits," says Erica Chase-Gregory, regional director of the Small Business Development Center at Farmingdale State College.

"This is a reality of many until they can fully test the market," she said, adding it requires extra planning and excellent time management to pull off.

With no employees, Wojcieski and Yasinosky alternate manning the store.

She devotes nights and weekends; he covers Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 7 p.m. since he sees most of his fitness clients in the morning and on weekends. They also offer classes such as soap making to generate extra income. The store is closed Mondays and Wednesdays.

"It does become a little hectic," says Yasinosky, 38.

But opening a brick-and-mortar storefront was always Wojcieski's dream, he notes.

As an architect involved with sustainability, Wojcieski initially started the business online to channel her interest in re-use and recycling. She would recycle and try to re-purpose materials that she came across in her job, such as rubber flooring she'd turn into coasters.

A health scare in 2009 made her examine the chemicals in the everyday products she used, prompting her to create her own line of body products.

Last fall, an opportunity to sublease the 665-square-foot Oakdale property from Wojcieski's brother arose and they took it.

"It's been a roller coaster," she says, noting they'd like to hire their first employee by spring to expand store hours.

"A very important aspect is to make sure the hours of the business are in line with the consumer," says Chase-Gregory.

This month, the couple began renting a multipurpose room in the store to an aesthetician, which will allow them to open earlier on Thursdays and, eventually, all day on Mondays, Yasinosky says.

And Wojcieski is also talking to a local soap maker about making in2ition soaps under a private label to free up more of her time.

About 10 percent of the products in the store are from their own line; the rest are from outside merchants; most fall into the categories of upcycled/repurposed, natural/organic and/or fair-trade-certified, she says.

John Dano, founder of The Entrepreneur Center LLC in Melville, says it can be helpful to find partners who can invest time and money in your concept and become part of your team. "It provides a shared vision," he notes.

The idea of generating added revenue by renting out space in the facility is good, but they must be careful to not shift too far from their core, Dano says.

The concepts of repurposing and natural/organic are a "hot space" right now, he says, which can be helpful in finding like-minded partners who can help expand hours of operation.

"I'd love to be open starting at 10 a.m. weekdays," Wojcieski says. "We will get there."


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

More news