Veteran Entrepreneur: Jill Bollinger

Written by: Brady Drake

Formally Yours Resale & Consignment (Opened July of 2018)

“Formally Yours Resale & Consignment is a consignment store specializing in semi-formal and formal wear items such as bridal, prom, pageant and cocktail attire for women (ages pre-teen on up). Most of these items are only worn once, if at all, and still hold resale value. This concept helps put money back into the hands of the consignor while saving shoppers money from full price items!” Jill Bollinger

Branch: Army National Guard

Years Served: 20

First Job After Service: 
As a member of the Reserve Component, I continuously worked civilian jobs while in the military. 

Did you use military benefits used when starting Formally Yours Resale & Consignment?
Yes, I researched all available benefits and options while developing the business. Not a lot of military benefits were available for business start-ups at the time I looked into them.  I did speak to lenders in regard to veteran-owned lending options versus conventional lending, though I used conventional means since they were more beneficial to me at that time.  The largest military benefit I utilized was my education benefit(s).  I was able to work a part-time job while completing my Bachelor in Science – Business Management degree because of the payments to both the schools, and myself, for my Post 9/11 GI Bill (from two deployments).  

Military skill most used in business: My logistical background with the military really helped with organization in the inventory and supply process of business ownership.  I also believe my military leadership positions built my confidence, compassion, and communication skills to be a business owner and manager. Being resilient and forward-thinking are two major skills the military has taught me.

What Changed that made you want to start a business?
I had a dream about halfway through my military career timeframe, though being a business owner was not necessarily an option at the time. I continuously developed the idea and planned for years until the timing was right! I was able to open the store one year before my 20-year retirement timeframe, knowing I could be fully committed and have another career ready once I retired.

What words of encouragement do you have for fellow veteran entrepreneurs?
Don’t ever stop believing in yourself or your dream. Many are not aware of the small business service/outreach centers available to them – veteran or otherwise! Research and ask around. You will find more information than you would imagine!

Many veterans struggle with finding a sense of purpose when reintegrating into the civilian world. How can getting involved in the business community help with that reintegration process?
Working in an industry niche is very similar to working in a military branch or group. You can find others and resources similar to you/yours, and learn to work together. 

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.