Meet Erin Parrott, fashion queen

April 15, 2024

When Erin Parrott launched After5, she and her husband packed orders together in the basement.

Today, After5 is a full-blown women’s clothing boutique in downtown Dayton’s Fireblocks District, complete with marble floors and gorgeous chandeliers. And she and her husband, Ed, now work together on a new venture — The Reserve on Third, an elevated lounge just a few blocks down Third St. that opened in January.

“It was a process, and that’s why I always encourage people, don’t give up,” Erin said. “Because it can it can look bleak. But if you remain the forever optimist, and you put positivity in the forefront, just know that the road will pave itself. You just got to stay on it.”

For Erin, the road to entrepreneurship was a long time coming.

“I’ve always been very independent because of how I grew up,” she recalled. “My mother was a single mother. I just saw her get so much done alone. And she came from such a gentle, kind woman, my gammy.”

Her grandmother, Marlene, grew up poor in Tennessee. She became the first of her many siblings to graduate high school and go on to college. She met Erin’s grandfather at Ohio University, where they part of one of the first graduating Black classes. After college, she became the first Black speech pathologist in Dayton.

On her father’s side, Erin’s grandmother was an educator, and her grandfather was an engineer, “at a time when there weren’t a lot of Black men in engineering,” Erin said, recalling the thick island accent he brought with him from growing up in Saint Thomas.

“I think because I come from families that kind of have made a choice to do the difficult thing, and made a choice to go the difficult route, and made a choice to not give up, that it’s almost instilled in me,” she said.”I’ve also had a sense of independence and a bit of a hustle mentality.”

Check out Erin’s full story in the latest episode in our I Am an Entrepreneur series.