Although she has a background in finance, and experience sussing out business plans during a career launched at IBM, Stephanie Rozanovich says she was surprised by some intial costs at her Oakley-based Trend Boutique
One thing she didn’t want customers to be worried about? The cost of clothing at her boutique. Tired of the equation of “boutique” with “expensive,” she now offers most of her items for $100 or less.
The demographic for her store is roughly women 25-45. Rozanovich, herself 37, says she looks for designers that offer a young, contemporary look and whose fashions “don’t look like the stuff you see in chain stores.”
She takes buying trips each year, traveling to Chicago, New York and as far as Las Vegas, but stays focused on clothes that will work in the Midwest. Compared to, say, Los Angeles or New York, Rozanovich says her picks are a touch more conservative and take Ohio’s cold winters into account. “A lot of the designers in Los Angeles can do lighter knit year ’round, whereas we need warmer stuff in the winter, like coats that are a little bit thicker.”
“I start out honestly buying things I like because I don’t feel comfortable selling [clothing] to people if I don’t like it, I don’t like the fit, I don’t like the brand,” Rozanovich adds. She chose her Oakley space for its proximity to her east-side home and the area’s up-and-coming vibe. After weeding out a few out-of-town landlords – she was concerned they didn’t havea vested interest in the neighborhood – she found a local landlord whom she liked and who serves on an area community council.
Today, Rozanovich employees three part-time staffers and spends time on the sales floor as well. The Trend Boutique is open seven days a week on Oakley Square and online
By Robin Donovan