Ga La Car: Jacksonville’s Downtown Fashion Diva

Ga La Car  is a fashion and beauty shop in downtown Jacksonville. The name refers to both the owner and the business. You may have been driving by the library on Monroe Street and not noticed the little white bordered windows on the other side of the street. Within is a story of entrepreneural courage and innovation. We interviewed her last week.

What got you into the fashion and beauty business?
I always loved fashion and beauty.  I feel that a woman should be like a flower… smell good, look good and be strong. I was a creative visionary as a child growing up despite discouragement.  I always wanted my own business. I always felt entrepreneurial. 
My brother once said “How are you going to go into business for yourself with so little money?”
That hurt! I knew that I had to come back strong.  So I said, that’s the best way to go into business because I have nothing to lose!
I created my business name GA LA CAR when I was in junior high school.  I believed that going to have a salon, in Manhattan New York.  It would be a place where women could get their hair nails, facials done while enjoying a fashion show.  A one stop shop.
How would your describe your customer?
I would describe my clients as old school classy ladies.  Styles have changed over the years.  Many people have stopped dressing up. They attribute dressing up to looking “old”.  GA LA CAR serves exclusive ladies who realize there is no substitute for respect, class, sophistication, quality and just looking good.  Old does not fit into that class.  
We must remember that meat companies spend millions of dollars to make sure that hamburger meat looks good in its package. If the meat is half out of or if if too much is stuffed the package they can’t sell it.  How much less should we think about out appearance? We shouldn’t take a chance with a first glance!
What are you doing to take advantage of your proximity to the Jazz Festival? It is Downtown this year and right on the streets by your shop.
I will be offering Jazz Festival 2 for 1 Beauty Service Specials. You and a friend, co-worker, or family member are all invited. We’ll be offering pedicures, manicures, facials, eyebrows and ear piercing, make-overs and maybe even massages!  Hair and fashion specials will be featured.  My plan is to have a fashion showing on Thursday evening as the festival gets underway.  You can call 904-353-4256, email or visit website for more information.
What is the newest thing you have done to increase your customer base?
I ‘ve added in-store fashion showings on Fabulous Fridays and manicure and pedicure services. I’ve created an Independent Online Opportunities/Alumni Fundraising Project. I’m hoping to help many people become owners of their own business where they sell our product line. I’m providing training and support for them and it is very exciting.
Are you using social media to create exposure for Ga La Car?
I am currently leaning how to use social media like Linked-in, FaceBook and Twitter. I also want to learn how to blog. My counselor at the SBDC, Kevin Monahan and I agree that these new tools can really create connections, but will never replace face to face interchange or interactions. They are a means to create face to face opportunities!  For anyone who really knows me, they know that I like to talk!  I enjoy conversations with my clients.  I want them to feel a connection with me.
Ga La Car Beauty and Styles
44 W. Monroe Street
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