Loretta Josephine

Loretta Josephine

Grit, determination, and resilience are some of the important attributes needed to be a successful entrepreneur. They are also the qualities required when grappling with a life-threatening disease. Brain cancer survivor and small business founder Danielle McCarthy has all three of these traits in abundance, as well as a contagious optimism. Not only did she beat the disease, but she used those same virtues to launch Loretta Josephine Boutique with partner and owner Joey Perfito. And with a small touch of similarity to how she relied on her medical team to help her through her treatment and recovery, she turned to the team at the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) to help start her business. While the FSBDC certainly was not lifesaving, it may have been business saving by providing the expertise and tools McCarthy and Perfito needed to build their new business.

Loretta Josephine Boutique is an online and pop-up store for women specializing in stylish and unique clothing, candles, and accessories. “What makes Lorretta Josephine Boutique special and standout,” explains McCarthy, “is we hand pick our products from women-owned businesses that offer sustainably produced products and are made in the USA. And with every sale, we give back a portion of our earnings to neuroscience research and pet rescue”. “We also noticed that a lot of online boutiques don’t focus on customer service,” added Perfito. “Both Danielle and I have a background in that, so we make sure we offer great support and service to all of our customers.”

The Loretta Josephine name has a meaningful story behind it. Instead of calling her brain tumor “the tumor” or “Cancer”, Danielle and a friend named it “Loretta”. Later, and coincidently, she found and adopted a rescue dog named “Loretta” at birth, and that sealed it. The “Josephine” came from Joey’s given name Joseph, as a tribute to Joey for always being Danielle’s rock and strength through her treatment, the business start and on to today. And so, the ‘Loretta Josephine Boutique’ name was born.

Before she opened the Loretta Josephine Boutique, McCarthy talked to friends about where to find guidance and assistance. “I reached out to a business owner friend in Las Vegas,” she recalls, “and she pointed out that the SBDC in her area was the biggest help to her. So, thanks to her – Thank you, Mandy! – we found the biggest blessing that’s helped us in our journey: the Florida SBDC! Starting a small business, or starting anything, is hard but the FSBDC offers so much to help us grow our small business: no cost, one-on-one coaching; webinars; analytics; market research,” continued McCarthy. “It’s exactly what we needed.

“And working with the FSBDC has been great” affirms McCarthy. With FSBDC consultant Sharon Smith at hers and Perfito’s sides, “it was like we met a lifelong friend,” shares McCarthy. “She has given us tools and her guidance has been top-notch phenomenal. We have been able to grow our business and our customer base, and people are really responding to us. I can’t say anything but great things about the SBDC. They have been with us throughout our journey, and Sharon is amazing.”

Best of all, with thanks to McCarthy’s grit, determination, and resilience; Perfito’s support of and belief in Danielle; and the FSBDC’s assistance, Lorretta Josephine Boutique has thrived. “We’ve seen big changes since we first started working with the SBDC,” remarked Perfito. “Number one is our boutique pop-up events went from 1-2 a month to 5-6. We’re seeing repeat customers. And we’ve been given the tools by the SBDC to improve our website traffic and sales.”

“If you’re an entrepreneur, I would highly recommend starting out at your local SBDC and to have them help and guide you,” concludes McCarthy. “It has been the biggest blessing for us. We have been able to surpass things we never thought we could do. That we are sitting here now and enjoying success is a testament to what the SBDC can do for you.”

For information about Loretta Josephine Boutique, please visit https://www.lorettajosephine.com/.