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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Entrepreneur with a Passion for Fashion
Finds Success at BWI Airport

Cynthia Rumph, owner and CEO of Fashion Spa House, grew up in Newark, New Jersey.  At the age of eight years old, she began exchanging cash for services by braiding hair while showing an aptitude for entrepreneurship.

“I think business owners are people who manage and acquire businesses and entrepreneurs, and people who develop a brand or a product or service to bring them wealth,” Rumph said.

Cynthia Rumph, middle, is the owner of Fashion Spa House. Rumph’s husband, Ketorus Gooding, is on the left. Gary Gilliard, right, is vice president of operations, Fraport USA – Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI). Photo courtesy of Fraport USA

Rumph stepped into the nursing world at 19 and served in different healthcare capacities until 2015. However, she did not lose sight of her longtime affinity for entrepreneurship, caring for people, and delivering quality care.  Rumph –who has eczema— made a natural transition to create a safe alternative for sufferers of all ages. In 2006, her skincare brand called Anasa Life blossomed. Next, a wellness studio was on the horizon. By 2012, a t-shirt company with positive messaging and a jewelry brand featuring mixed media took shape. Rumph’s retail venture blends innovation, luxury, and wellness. She currently leads a fulltime enterprise in Baltimore/ Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). Her husband, Ketorus Gooding, is the store’s manager. The lifestyle company delivers glamour on the go.

“Ninety percent of our items are things that we manufacture. We have a 32 vegan luxury skin, hair and face brand. We also have a mixed media jewelry brand, and we have a 58-design positive affirmation t-shirt brand,” Rumph said. “We also sell clothes from African American vendors.”

Rumph is a go-getter who embraced an opportunity to begin a new entrepreneurial path in BWI Airport through a program called Launch Pad BWI. She found out about it after attending an information session. The “internship” concession program provides an opportunity for area business owners to participate in the airport’s retail program. These entrepreneurs have access to operating a business with a low investment, business resources, and ongoing business development training,” per Fraport USA’s website.

 “Piloted in 2017, Launch Pad BWI has welcomed a variety of small, local, and minority businesses to the airport, introducing their unique products and services to millions of passengers,” according to information provided online by Fraport USA.

After deciding to try her hand at an airport retail setting, Rumph found a new audience: travelers. Her top repeat customers are stylish women over 35 who are health conscious.

“If you shop my brand, you’re definitely a label reader,” Rumph said. “You prefer quality over just brand recognition because we’re so small. If you are an impulse buyer, we have something that is suitable for you to take on your trip, and thoroughly enjoy it, with the opportunity to become a repeat buyer.”

Gary Gillard— vice president of operations, Fraport USA – Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) —  leads the team as the developer for the airport program. Gillard is the senior manager onsite who oversees the airport’s concessions program. All retail, food and beverage merchants, and service merchants are included.

Gillard explained that Launch Pad BWI is an entrepreneur program for micro small businesses that are local minority operated from Maryland, the District of Columbia, and in Baltimore. Subtenants who are inside of a leased premise lease from Fraport USA, which is the master leaser, have inline storefronts as subleasors. After beginning her airport business enterprise on a cart, Rumph ultimately achieved the status of being the first to spread her wings to have an inline store as a full subtenant.

“Fashion Spa House, a year ago left the Launch Pad program, and for the first time they entered into an inline store. They graduated into a full inline business in 2021,” Gillard said.

Launch Pad BWI was the starting point that gave Rumph an internship invitation to gain her footing. Gillard explained that it allows “small businesses to come in and participate in the concessions program in a very subsidized environment which means we lower the thresholds significantly on the investment to make the program entry obtainable for them.”

Participants are given one or two years to try out their operation and grow their business. Some brick-and-mortar experience is required.

“The hope is that it’s a succession plan, that some of them if not all, would graduate into a full inline full lease position. However, it is somewhat of an internship so that could happen, or they may choose to take a different route,” Gillard said.

While reflecting upon Rumph’s journey, Gillard noted that hard work pays off.

“They still have a ways to go. Their business has to keep going, but I would put odds on them that they’re going to be very successful, and I hope that I’ll end up seeing them in more than just one store in the future. That would be my wish for them,” Gillard said.

Visit https://www.fraport-usa.com/launch-pad-bwi-2021/ to learn more about Launch Pad BWI.

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