Imagery courtesy of Lynsey Hernandez
I didn’t start off as a boutique owner. My career started in social work, working with foster children, and then moved to bookkeeping when I became a mom. I’ve been a single mom for sometime now, and our life had reached a point where it needed something more. I didn’t want to get back into social work, but I wanted to do something impactful. I did some research and a boutique specializing in social impact brands was the perfect fit. I have always loved style and fashion. I have always believed in the good in people. When given the right opportunities, people can overcome extraordinary circumstances. Being able to combine these two passions was such a natural fit.
What was the defining moment in your past that set you on the career path you ended up following?
I don’t know that it was one defining moment; I think there are several things along the way that have lead me to this path. It sounds so cliché, but several years ago, I watched a Netflix documentary called “The True Cost” and that’s when it clicked that we can use fashion as a way to impact lives and support women. Shopping and what we wear seems so simple and sometimes superficial, but in reality, there’s much more to it. It affects so many lives from the CEO of a company, to the factory workers, to the communities, to the consumers. I realized that I can take something as simple as a bracelet and use it for the power that it holds.
What makes you unique in your industry?
I can remember shopping with my mom when I was little. People were so nice and always knew just what she wanted. Things are so fast paced nowadays that we don’t always get that customer care. I wanted Lynsey Louise to be like some of my favorite local boutiques and offer a memorable experience when you walk into the store. There is always wine, coffee and water, and sometimes cupcakes or other snacks.
My boys are there a lot, if they’re not in school or in fencing. They will most definitely join me in (lovingly) telling you if a piece just doesn’t work, or they’ll join me in telling you that it’s fabulous. My belief is that by creating a community of authenticity within the store, our customers will always feel and look their best in pieces I have specifically hand-picked by the brands I carry. I seek out local or social impact brands that support women who are overcoming some very difficult life circumstances, such as drug addiction, human trafficking, extreme poverty, childhood hunger and the foster care system. The world can be just as ugly as it is beautiful, but as uncomfortable as it can be to talk about the ugly parts, a beautiful bracelet, a fun jacket or a trendy handbag are easy to talk about, and that conversation graciously opens the door to deeper conversations about awareness and how we can help others through our consumer choices. Awareness is always the first step toward change.
What is one way you hope to impact your community in the future, either personally or professionally?
I want to make a difference and hope I leave my community better than it was when I got here. I love what I’m doing with the store, but I think that the way I raise my children is more important in terms of legacy. For me, if my boys grow up to be loyal, inclusive, compassionate, innovative, hardworking adults, I did more for the world than I could have asked for.
If you could sit down with any woman in the world–either from history or who is currently living–who would that be and what would you discuss with her?
My grandmother. I was lucky enough to have her in my life until my late 20’s. She could keep up with the best of ’em. She loved entertaining, cooking, baseball, volunteering, traveling, and had such classic style. She was the type of woman that when my grandfather told her he wouldn’t buy her a washing machine, she went out and got a job. When she had saved enough to buy one, he offered to buy one for her. She wasn’t angry, but she didn’t accept the offer. She said, “No thank you. I’ll buy it.” She was such a class act and accepted everyone as they are. I would give anything to have another conversation with her. I’d love to hear her opinion on today’s society, on my store, on my boys, on women’s empowerment, on education…on everything.