Women-Owned Business Series: Bogdan & Margaritta from Reveal Woods

Welcome back to our Women-Owned Business Series! This time, we’re doing something a little different and highlighting a local husband/wife duo, Bogdan & Margaritta, who started Reveal Woods shop-in-shop store. What started out as a hobby turned into something more with a little ingenuity from this partnership. Read more about their story below!

First, tell us about your business and anything special we should know about it or you.

I have retired from working in transportation engineering with the MTA in NYC with 23 years of service. It was then, with support from my wife Margaritta who bought me a router as a present, that I realized how much I liked working with wood. I started taking classes at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking and, after many failed attempts at grace, am finally now starting to produce objects that seem to resonate with people. I have mostly been giving my small completed projects away to friends and family, but when the opportunity presented itself at the barber shop on Greenpoint Avenue to display some of my work, I took a chance and went for it. This gives the public an opportunity to see and touch what I make and perhaps give me feedback so that I can continue to grow as an artist. My wife has been so supportive in this journey helping to make what I do in the woodshop an actual small business. As a shop-in-a-shop business model, this is perhaps the smallest step I could take in having my work seen, but nonetheless my wife and I are very happy to be taking it.

Why do you feel a connection to your work?

The look, feel and smell of wood is something I have always been drawn to without knowing why. My engineering career took me in a different direction for most of my life and I certainly didn’t dislike it, but now that I have found my passion I cannot wait to get into my workshop every day and explore the different aspects of making things.

As a business owner, community is everything. In what ways do you serve your community and how has your community served you?

This is a great topic. My father served the Greenpoint Community for decades as the local barber on Greenpoint Avenue. He would not only cut people’s hair but he was a central source of information long before social media. He was the social media. He even went to sick people’s homes and cut their hair for next to nothing, more as a service than an income source. Today, that very same barber shop is- a barber shop! It must be fate that brought Jonathan the barber as my tenant in the same space and profession that my father held for so long.

As I manage the that same building, I try to do all I can to make the tenants have a great experience living and working there. After all, their success is my success. And now as I am growing from not just managing the building but also to making art and displaying it for the public to see, and getting feedback from neighbors and friends, I feel I have come full circle from what my dad was doing 40 years ago. If I can make someone’s day a little brighter because they see beauty or utility in something I’ve made, that is greatly satisfying.

My wife Margaritta is much more business oriented than I am and helps me with the business side of selling our wooden items. For several years previously she ran the Makeup Forever makeup academy in Manhattan, teaching students creative skills in beauty and body painting. I think she helped alot of people not only pursue their passion for art but also be able to make a living at it, a win-win for everyone. Today she brings that same commitment to Revel Woods.

What advice would you give to others who want to start a small business?

Confidence, networking and communication are key factors in increasing your chances for success. Confidence develops over time by doing, so don’t be afraid of making mistakes or having your work seen and critiqued by others. You should always take the time to meet others around you, whether from your industry or elsewhere, and listen to their experiences and insights. There is alot to be learned from seeing how others navigate through challenges. And finally, be aware that you need to speak convincingly to others in order to get anywhere in this world. Practice your elevator pitch, but even more than that, pay attention to how you speak and what you say and how others react to it, then modify it to make it more effective. Over time you will become more proficient in influencing people and gaining support.

What women inspire you and why?

Margaritta: I am originally from Sri Lanka. At my first job I became friends with Ida George, a very interesting lady who was also from Sri Lanka. Ida was a business woman who partnered with her husband in establishing a prominent coconut estate. She was very well respected in the community, and I looked up to her. As a young girl 30 years ago, I considered Ida my idle. When Ida lost her husband very young she managed the business and all the affairs on her own. She employed many people and grew the organization. I took away a lot of confidence from knowing Ida and seeing how much a woman can do on her own from humble beginnings. Today I carry that can do attitude with me as I pursue my career and grow Reveal Woods with my husband’s creative abilities.

What do you think are the most significant challenges for small business owners or women in leadership positions?

We often see that women leaders are judged more critically than men, and we should all work to change that. Women may communicate differently from men but their expertise is just as relevant, and sometimes even more so. If we just take the time to listen and not criticize our women leaders we might just walk away having learned something new.

Visit the Reveal Woods shop-in-shop store inside the Barber Shop at 172 Greenpoint Avenue and take a look at their offerings – they can even make a custom order for you!

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