Here is an exclusive interview with the owner of the online boutique OohLaLuxe. Stay tuned for my post with their super adorable faux leather bodysuit with mesh inserts I git from them! It's gorgeous!
1. Why not start by telling us a little bit about yourself? Well, my name is Kim, I'm the owner of boutique OohLaLuxe.com and the fashion blog OohLaLuxe.net. I've been working in fashion for about five years now, in a variety of capacities. In addition to being a buyer, I'm also a professional fashion writer, wardrobe stylist, and I work as a fashion consultant for aspiring boutique owners and up and coming fashion brands.
2. When did you come up with the idea of opening Ooh La Luxe? What steps did you take to make your idea become a reality? I actually started working on Ooh La Luxe! back in 2007, and the boutique oficially opened in 2008. I knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry since I was a kid, but it wasn't until I went away to college that I made the decision to make being a buyer and botique owner my main focus. I actually chronicled my entire journey making Ooh La Luxe! reality on my blog OohLaLuxe.net -- it was pretty involved, especially on the business side. The creative side was the fun part -- deciding on my branding, designing my website, and picking out the perfect brands to execute my vision.
3. How do you select the pieces to put in your boutique? What does is specialize in? I look for items that are on trend at the moment, or will be hot in the near future. That's only half of the process though -- there are plenty of trendy items out there, but that doesn't mean people will want to wear them, much less they'll be appropriate for Ooh La Luxe! and what I want to offer my customers. So I narrow it down by just trusting my own eye and asking myself if the item stands out, does it fit in with our merchandise mix, and can I see other people latching on to this style as well?
4. For others out there who are dreaming of opening their own online boutique, what are some tips you would give them? What do you wish you
knew when you started? This is a great question! First off I would actually recommend reading my blog backwards, starting from the very first posts. Even though my blog is now more focused on outifts of the day and what's in store, I have a couple of years worth of information covering just about every aspect of how to start a boutique. And I would recommend that up and coming boutique owners do something similar to what I did -- start up your blog, instagram, facebook and twitter pages long before you plan on opening your store, document your progress, and you'll have a fanbase ready to buy your items as soon as you launch. Also, pay as much attention to fashion as you can by observing what people on the street are wearing, and paying a lot of attention to social media, and what celebrities are wearing as well. So much trend forecasting can be done just by spending time on instagram, Chictopia, LookBook.nu and other fashion blogs.
5. I read that you graduated FIDM. Do you feel that FIDM prepared you for your current career? How so? Absolutely! I loved going to FIDM, it was a ton of fun and it actually prepared me for a variety of roles in the fashion industry, and I'm really grateful for that. There are a lot of things you just have to learn on the job, and that's true in any industry, but FIDM taught me a lot about manufacturing, how to spot quality garments, marketing, branding, and step by step how to launch a product. One thing that our marketing teacher told us is something I'll never forget -- he told us that any time you're selling something, whether it be brick and mortar, online, fashion centric or not, you're always selling an experience and not just a product. That's so incredibly true and it's something I'll always be striving to create for my customers.
6. Where do you see Ooh La Luxe going in the next 10 years? In ten years I hope to have a couple of brick and mortar stores, and to be one of the bigger online shops for young women.
7. Out of all the other online boutiques, why should a potential customer choose to shop at yours? For one thing, I'm always on a quest to offer the best prices to my customers -- I try to keep things as affordable as possible, while never sacrificing quality, so I'm constantly sourcing and working with my manufacturers to get the best prices on my items. Also I feel like a lot of other boutiques are either very edgy and faddish, or very feminine -- I try to bridge the gap between both worlds. My aesthetic is very much hard meets soft; Ooh La Luxe! always carries a lot of pieces that may be classic in shape but done in more of a fashion forward fabric, or something edgy with very feminine details.
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