Larry Robertson moved to Columbus from Cleveland in 2011 to help run Brigade, a men's fashion boutique, which was expanding to a location in the Short North. Within a couple years he had gone solo - he is currently the proprietor and curator of Flat Foot Shop.

Run your own fashion boutique, work with local designers, engage your customers with cool events, tell your story through style.

Shoot all of your own photos, manage your social media presence, take out the trash, lose your location to redevelopment.

Living the dream is a mixed bag.

Larry Robertson moved to Columbus from Cleveland in 2011 to help run Brigade, a men's fashion boutique, which was expanding to a location in the Short North. Within a couple years he had gone solo - he is currently the proprietor and curator of Flat Foot Shop.

"I've always enjoyed fashion, style and design," Robertson said. "I had worked at some of the larger retailers, and I always had thoughts about things I'd do a little differently, or a story I would tell in a different way. And I always had this sort of lofty, in-the-future idea of having my own store. I had no idea what that really meant, but it was always a goal.

"I wanted to have a store that would tell a story, to share my own perspective with the design and fashion world."

He learned that telling that story often involved more than he expected.

"It's a lot; it's a lot," he said. "Until I started doing it, I had no idea. But I'd be putting on an event, and I'd create the Facebook event, design the flier and at the end of the night I'd be taking out the trash. You really have a hand in every part, from the elegant and fun to the dirty work."

He added that, while he may not have been prepared for every aspect of running a shop, "if you're going to do well, you quickly embrace those things. I've come to kind of enjoy them."

And there are some moments when it can seem like a dream, Robertson said, pointing to his recent participation in the annual New York Fashion Week.

"That was something I'd always thought about. When you're in the fashion industry, you always want to be really truly involved in that kind of glamorous side. And there I was, kind of 'whoa, this is like… I'm in the mix!' It was a good moment."

Robertson acknowledged the value of learning from his experiences, of building relationships and collaborating, but added that one of the things he learned was "sticking to your own vision and putting that first and foremost. Your energy is better suited to pursuing your own project."

Through Flat Foot, Robertson's vision includes an intimate location featuring local designers, smaller brands and unique accessories and art. Currently, Flat Foot offers all of that, save the intimate location. He is currently online-only and remains on the lookout for the right location with the right character for the Flat Foot brand.

"Of course the goal is to have a brick and mortar location, but we live in a digital world, with an emphasis on social media," he said. "There are online shops that do well, so while I've been able to have a physical store and have people support that concept, for now, it's important for me to cultivate that online presence, even outside the Columbus market."

Robertson said changes and setbacks don't necessarily alter the core dream.

"You don't allow the dream to stray too far from the essence of the vision and what you're truly passionate about."