Allison Hailman and Stephanie Sparks
Introducing two lovely ladies, empowered women of integrity, best friends, neighbors for 18 years, and as of late, business partners. They are physically strong and whatever they take on, they show-up and make it happen. Introducing Allison Hailman (2AH0) (brunette) and Stephanie Sparks (5SS3) (blonde). Stephanie has been a dealer at River City since January of 2011. Allison joined us in 2012.
RC: How did the two of you meet?
S: We've been neighbors for 18 years and our kids grew up together.
A: There is one house between ours. We have fun, and we love furniture!
RC: How would you say that your friendships complement each other?
S: Oh my (laughing) oh my. I can tell you that we have each other’s backs in everything. She is my best critic, cheerleader and supporter. (Teary eyed)
A: The same for me! You know what? Antiques, Garage Sales and Auctions have been my whole life. Finance is my background, but Stephanie inspires me to see things I have never seen before. So with creativity, Stephanie doesn't see any limitations in me the older I get, it has been really good for me. Steph is outside the box. I am inside the box. At shows, I am an inch over the line. (Laughing)
S: So what you are saying, you owe me for your creativity! (Laughing)
RC: We know here at River City and at the shows that you participate in, there is a lot of physical labor involved for everyone. We understand you drive a 26 foot Penske truck, unloading, loading and hauling furniture. Does it get easier with time? Are there items that you pass up or do you just find a way to tackle it?
S: As of yet, I haven't passed anything up.
A: “I’m not doing anymore big pieces” FAMOUS LAST WORDS (laughing.)
RC: Are you aggressive at sales?
A: (Laughing)....I am slower. Stephanie is more aggressive. Once we were attending an estate sale and Stephanie ran right past me. We may be friends, but competitive at sales. (Laughing)
RC: Do you ever argue?
A: (Laughing) We just had a good fight a week ago. No really; but we bring out the best in each other.
S: Ten years ago I threw cookies at her! It's always intense or it's not worth it. (Laughing)
RC: The focal point of your booths at River City and the shows you attend is painted furniture. You have a successful furniture business here at the store and we learned recently that you have acquired the Missouri Limestone Paint license and are carrying it at River City. Tell us about the paint line.
S: The paint is manufactured in Ozark, MO. By: “The Feathered Nest.” We met these two men at a Vintage Market Days show and were very impressed. They are men who take great pride in what they do and we were
looking at a way to take our business to a different level, so we inquired about it.
A: Steph and I were able to pick up the line and we have Tulsa and ten surrounding counties. This isn't about an avenue just to make money. We love and believe in what we do. We're just really excited. Not everyone wants to buy a piece of painted furniture, they may want to create their own, and we provide something financially feasible for people.
RC: Any advice for new dealers?
A: You have to be focused and motivated, if you're not a driven personality, it might be harder for some. Value your relationships and don't dismiss anyone and what you can learn from them.
S: Don't spread yourself too thin and answer your phone. (Laughing) Be true to yourself. There is something for everyone.
RC: What is the most comical experience the two of you have shared with your business?
A: (Laughing) The Penske truck incident! Short version...Steph was driving this 26 foot moving truck; we had just worked the hardest day we have ever worked. We unloaded this truck into the Convention Center without a dolly and by the end of the day we were exhausted, dirty and it was time to check into our hotel. We checked in and the hotel was so disgusting we just couldn't sleep there. So we get back in the truck and as we drive away we hear this awful noise (PENSKE TRUCK SCRAPING THE SIDE OF THE BRICK ENTRY WAY.. KIND OF NOISE)
A: That's on the low end. I'm waiting on the whole roof to fall on us! BUT WE HAD INSURANCE!
S: We were terrified, so we go back to the hotel parking lot and park the truck until 1:00 a.m., walk back over to the hotel to check the brick overhang, only to realize every other truck in Missouri must have hit it as well. We were convinced the police were after us. (Laughing) so we have decided to break our silence on the River City web site! (lol)
RC: What inspires you?
S: My children. I would say my children inspire me to be the best that I can be. Oh, and Shabby Chic Pink painted furniture on Pinterest!! (lol)
A: I don't know if its inspiration and I don't want to sound cliché’, but my husband has always supported me. His believing in me inspires me. He knows what to say and what not to say.
RC: Where do you see yourself in five years?
S: For both of us, we love doing shows. We enjoy meeting people. Watching people buy our items is a rush. It's the hardest we've ever worked in our lives.
A: I would be doing what I am doing right now. Everything has God's perfect timing. We have a lot of things “planned for the pike”. We whole heartedly, believe everything is a blessing from the Lord so before business issues, we pray for guidance. We want God's blessing in everything we do in our daily lives.
RC: What is the greatest treasure you have found and kept for yourself?
A: This is really silly, I have 2 pieces. A vanity dresser found at River City that my husband purchased for my birthday. And a silver mirror that I purchased at a show that Stephanie actually painted.
S: Mine is my china cabinet. It is a huge, two-piece that my son found for $50.00. It was marked for 400.00 and my son talked them down to 50.00. Others would laugh, but I painted it pink and white and I will never get rid of it!
Thank you ladies for your time, it was a treat and we are thrilled that you are part of our River City family.