Learning how to work hard from her parents, along with working at Geneva Capital, is what Kiyana Miller said set her up with a business mindset.
And now, at the age of 22, the young entrepreneur is getting ready to open her own store in downtown Alexandria.
Miller, a 2017 Alexandria graduate, along with her parents, Mick and Kiley Miller, recently purchased the Ben Franklin building on Broadway between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue.
Although her parents helped in the purchase of the building, the store is hers, she said. And that store is The Edge Co., which will feature clothing, home goods and coffee. In addition, there will be space for eight offices that will be available for rent, she said.
Plans have the store opening June 1.
“I love the downtown and all the businesses that are there,” said Miller. “I don’t want to take away businesses, but enhance the area. My store will feature a different sense of style that you can’t get elsewhere. I wanted something that would benefit Alexandria.”
Miller wanted her store to be on Broadway and when she looked at the Ben Franklin building, she said she fell in love with it.
“It is a blank canvas in immaculate condition,” she said. “It fit my vision for what I want. And I bought it from the original owners. It is great to be only the second owners. I am excited for there to be action in this building again so I don’t have to see it sitting empty when I go by.”
Miller said she owes a lot to her parents for the journey she is on and said they are extreme hard workers.
“I learned what hard work looks like from them,” she said. “I owe it all to my parents for where I am today and I am extremely thankful to them.”
Miller’s path wasn’t always business, she said. In fact, after high school, her plans were to play basketball and major in biology. She left for college but soon realized that wasn’t the path she wanted.
Being in business, however, wasn’t something completely new to Miller. During the summer before her junior year, Miller and her best friend, Britt Hurlen, started Tri Ties, a hair accessories and merchandise company.
“We stumbled upon it,” she said. “It was completely random.”
Miller and Hurlen decided one day to make some headbands and posted about it on the social media app, Instagram.
“It blew up,” she said. “We ran with it, thinking we’d do it for a couple of weeks and then be done.”
Well, now nearly two years later, the business is booming. Tri Ties became an LLC, a limited liability company, in August 2019, she said.
“I think that’s what gave me the confidence to do this,” she said of her new venture.
In addition, after taking some time off from school and then working at Geneva Capital, Miller said she realized a business path is what she wanted. She returned to college, attending Metropolitan State in Minneapolis, where she is double majoring in marketing and business administration, and will graduate this spring.
“Working at Geneva and then Tri Ties, that’s what set me up with a business mindset,” she said. “That’s when I switched. If not for them, I probably wouldn’t be doing this.”
As for coming up with the name of her new store, Miller said there really isn’t a big story behind it. She was brainstorming ideas and liked the word, edge.
“Edge means something amazing, like on the edge of being comfortable, the edge of your comfort zone,” she said. “And that is all of me, on the edge of my comfort zone.”
And as for opening a store during a pandemic, Miller said nobody really knows what tomorrow is going to bring. She said there are people who are fearful of what the future holds, but she is not.
“I have a lot of confidence that I can make it. This is something that I hope will bring forward a huge light,” she said. “Plus, the world keeps moving at a fast race pace and I don’t want to be left behind.”