Women’s Entrepreneur Initiative
The Women’s Entrepreneur Initiative (WEI) believes that “feminine” and “rugged” aren’t mutually exclusive concepts. By harnessing our innate female intuition and channeling our skills to improve our businesses, our goal is to create a gender-inclusive work environment that encourages creativity and success. WEI includes several of the top female location owners and home office personnel. Our mission is to empower women entrepreneurs through Retail Service Systems’ business ownership program while also offering a platform for women to speak their mind in an open environment. By offering tools and proven success methods to help women thrive, the WEI team aims to assist the modern-day woman in all her business endeavors. We take our mission to heart, and we can’t wait to help more women reach their goals.
Sandi Varn is a native Floridian and throughout her life has made a difference in her community by teaching Sunday school, serving on numerous non-profit boards and selflessly volunteering to support good causes. Sandi’s competitive spirit along with her love for the great outdoors has driven her through triathlons, half and full marathons, USTA tennis championships and she will complete the last 3 states of the Appalachian Trail “14 State Challenge” this year. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications, specializing in Advertising and Public Relations. After college Varn worked as Research – Marketing Specialist for the number one market share CBS affiliate in the country, served as Vice President Marketing for the largest independent oil change company in the nation and owned a full service advertising agency. In addition to running the ad agency, she assisted her husband, George, in the administrative and financial duties of his mattress and furniture distribution business. Sandi bought the business in 2007 and has owned and operated Tallahassee Furniture Direct and BoxDrop Tallahassee, one of the top Retail Service Systems locations in the country, for the past ten years. Sandi and George raised three wonderful sons and their oldest, Josh, is a full-time partner in the business.
At a very young age my dad taught me the importance of always treating the customer right. I used to ride along on his chip delivery route and watch him interact with his customers, they all loved him. I admired that. I put myself through college by continuing that same relationship his clients treasured, always going above and beyond to treat my customers right. Because of the love for interacting with people, I continued this skill by taking over a clearance warehouse and turning into a local attraction. Our customers look forward to the significant savings from a local business they love. My greatest accomplishments and my drive to succeed come from my family. I was raised a small town girl and enjoy raising my children in the same small farm town atmosphere.
I’ve enjoyed working in customer service industry for the last 20 years. I love people and enjoy helping others build a successful business.
After receiving her degree in accounting from Mount Vernon Nazarene College, Amy began a career in accounting that included work in the telecommunications, metals manufacturing and agriculture industries. Her cross-industry experience made her a perfect fit for joining a rapidly growing home furnishings business as their Senior Accountant in 2004 where she oversaw more than $35 million dollars a year in wholesale revenue. In 2013 she was asked to join the RSS team as their controller to assist the company in developing a GAAP compliant accounting system that could handle complex accounting for an umbrella style structure which would include wholesale and retail revenue from multiple business such as franchises, licensees and corporate owned locations. This project included working with corporate retail locations in multiple states and included military BX operations as well as licensing and compliance documentation in multiple states while also being the liaison to RSS’s accounting firm Dixon, Hughes, Goodman which is a top 20 US firm. Amy lives just outside of Columbus, OH with her husband John and their sons Tyler and Jacob. She is an avid gardener and enjoys showcasing numerous spring and summer floral arrangements taken from her personal flower garden.
While paying her way through college at UNC Charlotte, Daphene answered an ad to become a flight attendant and before she knew it at the age of eighteen began a twenty plus year career with one of the nation’s largest airlines. She chose to open her own home furnishings store in 2014 and it has become a home town favorite as well as an R & D test center for close-out and container purchasing programs. Her passion for design and decorating has been a part of her helping numerous lake and beach home owners design and furnish their houses on the SC coast as well as Lake Keowee and Lake Hartwell where her BoxDrop Furniture store is located. Being married to an entrepreneur and RSS’s founder, she has long been an integral part of businesses they built together from a beer distributorship to a rodeo production company and now having the opportunity to take a passion for decorating and design and invest it into walking showrooms at various furniture markets while helping RSS cultivate key buying and manufacturing relationships is invaluable. Like most key members of the RSS Leadership Team, she is an experienced entrepreneur in a class we call Warrior Entrepreneurs because they have started businesses from scratch and know all the details soup to nuts from sweeping floors to keeping books and from unloading trucks to making a sale that leads to a good review and a repeat customer. Daphene has also worked hard as a mother to Scott and Daphene’s daughter Hayley and their son Aaron who runs a corporate owned RSS BoxDrop location in New Orleans, LA.
Private Label Designer and Strategic Buyer
Laurie is one of the first business owners of RSS finishing her sixteenth year in November 2017. She has trained and coached employees in her current business as well as in successful businesses prior to RSS. Being awarded with yearly incentive trips, Laurie continues to lead well, market, and grow her sales at high volume each year. She was selected by the president of RSS to join the WEI board members in establishing strong entrepreneurial women within the RSS structure.Laurie is best described by others as having great strengths in administration, consulting, strategic planning, and leadership.
When Laurie is not building her business, she continues to dedicate herself to raise and encourage her eight children and 6 grandchildren. She also enjoys camping, hiking, sewing, and family times spent at the cottage in Northern Michigan on Glen Lake.
Laurie gives God the glory in her present and future successes.