Name: Melissa Deaton
Education: Elon ’13 and Elon Graduate School
Major: Double major in accounting and finance
Hometown: McLeansville, North Carolina
What clubs/activities were you involved with at Elon:
Alpha Kappa Psi, Elon Volunteers and I worked on campus
What gave you the idea to start Simply Oak?
It started as an undergrad as a sort of joke. I never thought I would actually do it, but then I had to write a business plan for grad school class and the more I talked to people and the more research that I did, the more I realized it was actually possible.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a business owner?
The biggest challenge for me has been getting people to know we are here and getting the community to come in.
What has been your favorite moment?
Getting to know the students and the community that comes in and especially when prospective students and their families come in and I get to talk to them about Elon.
Best piece of advice you have ever received:
I was talking to a former boutique owner and she said, “Just put your heart and soul in it. If people know you love it, it will reflect in your displays, pieces and when you are talking to them.”
What advice would you give a young entrepreneur?
Just go for it. It is the scariest and most daunting thing but if you have a good support system and it’s something you really want to do, just do it.
Favorite Elon memory:
The community feel was my favorite part about Elon. The biggest thing was meeting and getting to know all the professors and other students. It’s something you carry with you. I sent my business plan to some of my old professors and they gave me feedback. Having them be involved even after I graduated showed that those relationships I built are lifelong.
Make sure to check out Simply Oak on Lebanon Avenue, follow on Instagram @simply.oak.boutique and like them on Facebook!