COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES ’08

Brittany Finch ’08 (College of Arts & Sciences) If you stroll through the Waterfront Shops along the Currituck Sound in Duck, North Carolina, you’ll discover Carolina Keiki — the newest retailer and entrepreneur on the block features an eclectic mix of handmade, fair-trade specialty items for children and moms. Proprietor Brittany Finch is an upbeat 27-year-old mom working hard to run a successful boutique business, but take note — her true mission is to celebrate motherhood.

Finch’s gift for retail and her passion for all things mom are the perfect combination for this new establishment. In fact, she’s already been featured on The Virginian-Pilot newspaper’s website, pilotonline.com, for her entrepreneurial spirit.

Having graduated from Regent with a degree in religious studies, Finch felt challenged to think outside the box in her quest to blend her love for people, commitment to family, strong business sensibility, and desire to apply all she had learned at Regent.

“I feel like I have a calling to minister to moms,” explains Finch. “The store gives me an opportunity to meet and help other moms who may be struggling with breastfeeding or have questions about pregnancy or child rearing. Some of my customers are just a little worn out, and I can give them encouragement.”

Finch knows what it’s like to be a new mom, all alone and housebound. She met her husband Sam while she was a student at Regent University, and they were married in October 2008. That December she graduated, and by January she was expecting her first child. Over time, the free-spirited, Bible-reading, beach-loving girl she once was seemed to disappear. In her place sprouted a busy homeschooling mom who loved her family but desperately craved daily connection with other moms. So instead of joining a mom’s group, Finch opened a store.

“The shop fills a need in the community, and it fills me up too,” says Finch. “I love getting to know people and making a difference in their lives.” That’s one reason Finch is in no hurry to expand the shop. She likes being able to offer a personal touch and provide a place for moms to get out of the house and share their stories.

Carolina Keiki (the Hawaiian word for “child”) fills a gap in the community in other ways as well. Finch buys much of her inventory from local moms who create handmade goods but have no place to sell them. “My friend Jess brought me a baby blanket she made, and we sold seven of them in the first month!” recalls Finch. “She was ecstatic, and it made me feel great to give her that opportunity.”

Finch says her Regent degree prepared her for this season of her life, giving her the knowledge and boldness to share encouragement founded on Christ. She remembers feeling pressure to choose a major and not really knowing what she wanted to do with her life. So she chose something she enjoyed. “I like to study the Bible,” says Finch. “So I figured I might as well get a degree in it since I would be doing it anyway!” From there, her faith grew in a way that allowed her to tap into business.

Finch grew up in Cincinnati and moved to North Carolina right after high school graduation. She lived with her brother and worked for a construction company while she enrolled in Regent University’s online undergraduate program. She describes her days at Regent as a very spiritual and inspirational time in her life. “When you are young and single, you can explore who you are and where you belong in the story of God’s kingdom,” she says. “I never really dreamed I would be a business owner, but I always knew I would be a mom.”

Learning online at Regent helped Finch develop critical time-management skills that come in handy as a mom and entrepreneur. She knows how to budget her time and prioritize her tasks. She’s also self-motivated and independent with the ability to make decisions on her own. “If I hadn’t gone to Regent, I’m not sure I would be ready for all of this responsibility right now,” says Finch.

Through Carolina Keiki, she is able to contribute to her community — financially, spiritually and emotionally. “It’s really important to me to be able to serve others on a personal level — to serve individuals,” Finch says. “That’s when the serving really makes a difference. It becomes contagious.”

Finch enjoys extra support since her mom retired and moved to North Carolina to help her run the store and care for the children. And she’s quick to acknowledge the joy of running a business and still be home with her children as much as possible: “I love what I do; I don’t consider it work at all,” says Finch.

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