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Sponsor 7 Q+A: Ali Clapper, Findings Boutique

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This year, Ali and her staff over at Findings Boutique will be helping to style the co-hosts for the stage! Again, we have the best job ever. And Ali has incredible taste, so we couldn’t be more excited.


ali headshot 1

What are you grateful for today?
Today, and every day, I am grateful for parents and a sister who have always been encouraging and supportive, a husband that makes me belly laugh every day, a 2.5 year old (my Leni) who is everything beautiful in this life, and this big round belly which is home to baby girl number 2.

Tell us about one of your friends and what you love about her.
My friend Tonda is someone that everyone should have the pleasure of meeting. Her story is heart-wrenching in many ways (but beautiful). I often think if anyone were to be entitled to having a chip on their shoulder, it would be her. Despite a story that would break even the toughest of hearts, she and her husband Dave are two of the kindest-hearted, most compassionate, supportive, and inspiring people I have ever known. They are totally genuine and I have learned so much about humility, grace, loyalty and courage from the two of them.

Describe one of the best days of your life.
A day in 2003 when I was studying abroad in Leeds, England. The whole experience was wonderful, but the day my friend and I travelled by bus to London, England was pretty special. We were just kids but we were learning so much about how to be adults. There was a moment when “Tiny Dancer” came on the radio on the bus and I just looked around waiting for us all to break out in song like in the movie “Almost Famous”. In that moment life just seemed so perfect.

What’s the best lesson you learned from your mother/grandmother?
This question just makes me smile. I am so fortunate to have had my Grandma Turner in my life for so long. She passed away last May, but her memory will always be so vivid to me. What I loved most about her was her eccentricity. She was a collector of anything odd, had a slightly “off” sense of humor, ran her own business and was a working woman long before it was the “norm”. She walked to the beat of her own drum and I have always admired that.

I can’t not speak of my mother on this question, because I have learned so much from her. I think what I admire most and try to emulate is her unwavering need to do what is right. She has always been guided by doing what is right for the group, as opposed to what is easiest, most beneficial to her, or what would garner the most praise as an individual. She is unselfish, hardworking, and consistent. And as a mother, there could not be a better one for me.

We’re all unique. What is your special gift?
In school a teacher told my mom something about me that I hadn’t really recognized in myself, but when I heard what she had said, I beamed. She had told my mom that she noticed and appreciated that I always tried to include everyone and make them feel a part of the group . I don’t think I’ve ever received a nicer compliment. I hope I make people feel like that when they walk in my store, too. I know sometimes boutiques’ can be intimidating, but my goal for Findings was for people to walk in, feel a warmth and engage! That’s the best part of what I do…hearing and sharing stories and really feeling a part of a community.

What could women be doing to make their community a better place?
There is tremendous value in celebrating women as a community, but my answer to this question is less related to women specifically, and applicable to people in general. I believe our community becomes a better place when we make the choice to do what is “YOU”. When I thought about opening a store, of course I was scared. And when I opened my store in 2008, the economy shortly thereafter tanked. The past 7 years in business have not been easy, but they have been accompanied by a lot of wonderful relationships, a sense of accomplishment, and a joy in doing what is authentic to me. I still have a lot of scary days, but I realized a long time ago that the fear is temporary. There is resolution. Either I will eventually fail or I will keep going and succeed. I can live with that. Regret can haunt you forever.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Play soccer. My old PE coach would make me be goalie during PE. I think he was punishing me for purposely scoring goals for the other team. The fear was already there but only got worse after this experience. Luckily, my husband (who was just a friend in high school), would stand in front of me to help me out. At the time I thought he was doing it because he loved me. He later told me it was just because he wanted to win.

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