One of Us

Rachel Lazzara

Posted

Can you please briefly tell us about your background?

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and attended SMU there as well. I spent most of my college summers working in the fashion industry, interning as a buyer or stylist, and working retail at local boutiques. The fashion industry in Dallas is incredibly hard to break into, and most jobs have you working for next to nothing. I had some incredible mentors along the way that really helped guide me. Eventually I landed as the marketing director for the West Village Shopping and Dining District in Uptown and was able to make use of my advertising and marketing degree. I also learned the ins and outs of commercial leasing and tenant relations, which came in handy when I decided to open my own business. Throughout everything, I always knew my end goal was to own my own boutique. When I met my husband and ended up moving to Jacksonville to be with him, I saw that there was so much potential for growth here and I went for it!

What do you enjoy most about your role?

There are so many reasons why I love what I do! Helping someone feel good about themselves is one of the best things about my job. Not to mention, all the women I have met who come through my door. But more than that, is the creative outlet that it gives me. Getting to see trends before anyone else, mixing and matching and pairing everything together, seeing a garment and knowing exactly which client it would be for is what I truly love.

What are some of the challenges that your industry/company is facing?

On the client side, we are trying to figure out what people are dressing for. We used to be known for our fabulous dresses and event wear, however since Covid, we have really had to pivot and reevaluate some of our brands. Comfort was the main style of 2020, however we are seeing a slight shift now back to more elevated pieces and even some event wear.  On the wholesale side, we are struggling with canceled orders and delayed shipments from our vendors. With many of our lines coming from overseas, a lot of the warehouses they ship from have been severely affected from the lockdowns. Even our domestic lines out of California and New York have had to cancel or delay shipments. It has been a challenge to find merchandise that can ship immediately, which is not easy.

What are your primary roles/responsibilities?

When I first opened the business, I wore all the hats: buyer, sales associate, personal shopper, social media coordinator, you name it. After having my first child I was forced to delegate more and focus my time mostly on the buying and operations. I have hired a great team of like-minded women who have helped me tremendously. Their hard work enables me to be the best business owner/wife/mom that I can be!

What do you enjoy most about living in the area?

Business-wise, I love that Jacksonville is not a heavily saturated retail market yet. There is still so much opportunity and new brands to bring here. The community of boutiques at the beach is very tight knit and it’s nice that we all can all offer our customers something different. Coming from Dallas, I have come to enjoy the laid back nature and slower pace here. I’m also a beach person, so it has been so nice living so close to the ocean!

What are your goals for your company/business in the future?

In the short term my goal is to gain more awareness. We still have first-time customers coming in all the time.  In the long term with raising two girls, I would love to be able to keep my business open long enough to share this with them. It is such a passion of mine and it would be so much fun to get them involved.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Currently with my husband and I both owning our own companies, running after my toddler (... and dog ...  and new bunny!), with another child on the way this February, I don’t get a lot of free time! However, when I do, I love to take a golf cart ride with my family, or grab dinner with my girlfriends. I am also a huge TV watcher after the kiddo is down!

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