Meet Gregg Thompson, the co-owner of Beauty Champagne & Sugar Boutique located in Crystal City. In celebration of Black History Month we are highlighting Black business leaders in National Landing. To kick off the series, we asked Gregg a few questions on life, leading a business, and lessons learned. Get inspired and read the full conversation below.
What inspired you to be a business owner?
My inspiration comes from a sincere desire to provide a safe, comfortable, and inclusive place to enjoy time with friends and discover new wines! At Beauty we approach our guests with an unpretentious yet informed introduction to the wide world of wine.
How does your identity influence how you approach your work?
Since African Americans are a rarity in the wine industry I want to help influence an introduction that will foster more curiosity rather than intimidation. People of color who want to get into wine are often met with the wine “rules” and judgement about what they may like. I want to encourage all people who are new to wine to drink what you like! Definitely experiment when you can, but at the end of the day you should go with whatever kind of wine gives you the satisfaction you’re looking for.
How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for close to 25 years. From property management to restaurant management. I’m also a writer and filmmaker ( moonboyfilmsllc.com) so I’ve had the good fortune of working with a very diverse pool of people and that is actually the best training for success.
How do you deal with setbacks?
Setbacks are a part of the process. The lessons that you need to learn are hidden in the setbacks. It’s very important to look at the valuable information that come with challenges. Without setbacks, challenges, and disappointments we wouldn’t be able to grow and move forward to bigger and better things. The often unplanned situations that cause frustration can help us prepare for the next big thing. The more we experience, good and bad, the more we’re prepared to overcome obstacles.
What advice would you give to someone just starting their own business?
Make sure you are doing something you love. Your passion and obvious care for your business is your greatest marketing tool and your customers will see it! Don’t just do it for the money. Gauge your success by how proud and gratified you feel walking into your own business!
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
My business partner, Zena Polin, and I are very optimistic and excited about what’s next! We hope to have additional locations of course, but we also want to continue to work with The National Landing Bid and further solidify Beauty as an Arlington mainstay. We’re looking forward to working with Amazon and continuing to serve our neighbors and friends for a long time to come!