West Kendall Business Association’s newest member “grabbed the first vacant opportunity” to display the wares of ShelfGenie during the WKBA’s Oct. 14 “Expo” that annually showcases area business products.
An attractive blonde secretary-turned-businesswoman, Pauline Hamian said she “wanted that chance after graduating myself into a franchising career just over a year ago.
“I felt it was time for a major change,” she explained with a cheerful smile, having admittedly “struck out” too many times in today’s recessive job market.
Hamian’s natural charm brought her to the U.S. when a 1970’s demand for an upscaled office image focused on adding mannerisms of a British secretary, along with an English accent that American executives associated with a tradition of sophistication and class.
As one of those Brit’ secretaries who crossed the Atlantic “to try something new,” Hamian now is relying on nearly 40 years of accumulated experience gained in the American workplace to forge a success as “boss of my own business” through her franchising investment.
“I left high schooI at 16 and at 18 left home, a lovely little English country town of Ellsmere,” she said. “In Birmingham, I became schooled as a secretary and began a new life. Now, just as it did then, a time came when you feel you must up and do something different for yourself.”
Her second “new life” as an English-bred secretary in the States began in a “temp” office in Washington, DC., where she met her husband-to-be, then visited with him and “fell in love” with Miami, a place both now call home after moving here over 30 years ago.
Raising her son as a single mom, Hamian entered Miami’s business world as a secretary and marketing professional in the South Florida offices of such major firms as Del Monte Fruits, Johnson & Johnson and Burger King. She secured a college degree in 1998 from FIU.
After she was “let go” in a recent cycle of corporate belt-tightening, she was unemployed for a year but quit the résumé route like many others who have become discouraged by Miami-Dade’s tough job market.
Then at an outplacement center she was attracted by the idea of self-ownership through franchising, even though it took an equity loan in five figures to gain an exclusive sales territory of a quarter-million potential customers from Palm Beach to the Keys.
Some of those dollars transformed her decades-old Florida kitchen of a cozy West Kendall home into a bright and efficient workplace with new birchwood cabinetry that demonstrates the product she sells to modernize space in South Florida homes and business offices.
Establishing her office at home, she tours clients through her kitchen, “demonstrating the fingertip touch” that creates multiple shelves and storage units within remodeled wooden cabinetry spaces, including turning a “broom” closet into an organized system of sliding shelves that also dramatically increase reachable storage capacities.
“There’s so much wasted space with fixed shelving, especially when spaces are six foot above or even higher,” she cheerfully relates, accompanied by Ebby, an adopted coal-black stray cat who affectionately follows Hamian, rubbing his nose along the side of her foot.
“We’ve remodeled a single closet or cabinet for $800 and designed complete overhauls to makes the kitchen a lovely family center once again,” she said, imparting the same enthusiasm she once brought to downtown offices and boardrooms.
While obviously suited to kitchens, bedrooms and similar home locations, new shelving attracts businessmen and medical professionals, like the dentist who restyled antiquated shelf space with partitioned slide-out drawers for a variety of instruments and supplies.
“It’s such versatile product that it leads you to think how much better and efficient you can make your home, whether in a nook or through an entire redesigned floorplan,” said Hamian, who instantly creates new ideas with a contagious enthusiasm.
“Why not compartmentalize pots and pans in a deep-space drawer unit besides a cooking range to get rid of hanging hardware,” she points out, sliding out a spacious drawer full of cookware, adding with delighted conviction: “Now, isn’t that a great thought?
“Home is such a great place to have your workplace,” she adds when touring a visitor through her European-styled garden overflowing with lush Florida tropical plantings.
It’s not unlike what you might expect to see in Pauline’s native Shropshire surroundings, right outside a bright and cheery restyled kitchen in West Kendall, USA.
For information about the ShelfGenie product line, call Hamian at 305-380-9164 or 305-213-4382, or visit online at www.shelfgenie.com at the Marietta, GA-company’s home base.