All posts by Erica Lonabaugh

Apricot Lane Boutique Is Here To Stay!!

Starting last year, many retail chains closed and many more most likely will not survive this year either. Even though we are reading and seeing many of the major retail brands closing or downsizing from the impacts of internet shopping, the economy, etc, Apricot Lane Boutiques are growing!

By being locally owned, we  preserve our one-of-a-kind shopping experience and distinctive character. Also, being locally owned means each store location is selecting merchandise based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own individual interests and the needs of their local customers. This guarantees a much broader range of product choices for our customers. A marketplace made up of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.  

Here at Apricot Lane Boutique, we train to provide exceptional customer service which build strong relationships within the community. This helps to sustain vibrant town centers, linking neighbors and creating social relationships which keeps customers coming back. A personal stylists that is helpful can always make a girl feel good when shopping for a special event or outing!

Our boutiques offer an easy to shop in “boutique” environment without the “boutique” prices. Our buyers stay up on the latest fashion trends and offer a wide selection of merchandise straight from market. Our store owners visit the top fashion trade shows every year and always have the latest in apparel, footwear, accessories.

Visit our website to find a location near you here!

New stores that are opening soon:

Wellington, FL

Manchester, VT

La Crosse, MN

Minot, ND

Blaine, MN

Fort Worth, TX

 

 

 

Wichita Mom Boss

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Meet Kami

Before starting Apricot Lane, I was a hair stylist in a small Kansas town.  I think that’s how my passion for helping women feel good about themselves started.  Styling hair allowed me the opportunity to give women the boost of confidence they desired.  It was in that same small town that I met my husband, Mark.  After we were married, his work moved us out of state.  I was a stay-at-home mom raising two boys, but Mark and I had always dreamed of starting up our own business – we just didn’t know when or how.

Why Apricot Lane

Mark and I finally decided it was time to move forward with our dream.  My desire to help women feel good about themselves was still strong, and I had always loved anything to do with fashion.  We both knew we wanted to be closer to home, so we made the move back to Wichita, Kansas.  Wichita was not only a lot closer to home, but it also offered us the perfect market for a trendy and affordable clothing store.

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Once we discovered Apricot Lane, we knew we had made the right decision.  This franchise took out all of the guesswork for us, and made our transition to “boutique owners” so much easier.  We loved having the support of a large franchise, but even more than that we loved how Apricot Lane allowed us the flexibility to truly make the store our own.  Not only did we receive support from the franchisor, but also from the network of other Apricot Lane Boutique franchisees, which helped us create a solid foundation.

img_1720“Our lives are hectic managing three children and a business but we wouldn’t trade it for anything!”

Where We Are Now

Mark and I are approaching our fourth holiday season in the retail business.  Just like any other new adventure, there have been ups and downs along the way, but each year we find ourselves more organized and more excited.  Having an amazing sales team is of utmost importance in making sure our store is running smoothly.  I’ve always loved working with women and young girls, so having the opportunity to manage our sales team has been such a great time – and definitely never boring!  Building and maintaining relationships with customers is Apricot Lane Wichita’s number one goal.  We love our “regulars” and make it a point to welcome each and every person into our store with a smile and a greeting.  It is our goal to make every single customer feel appreciated.

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As a husband-and-wife business team, we make every important decision for the store together.  Mark, in addition to his full time job in commercial banking, handles the hiring and accounting end, while I take care of store merchandising, employee management, and all of the buying.  Opening the store has strengthened our relationship in ways we could not have imagined.  Since making the move back to Kansas and opening Apricot Lane Wichita, our family has grown.  We now have the two boys, Aidan and Cooper, and a little diva, Madeleine.  Our lives are hectic managing three children and a business but we wouldn’t trade it for anything!

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Originally posted in City Moms Blog

A Family Affair. {Apricot Lane Florida}

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{Meet the Shapiros}

If you were to ask Phyllis, husband Barry, or son Matthew if they could change their careers and do something different, the hands-down answer would be a very sincere, “No.”
How It All Began

In high school, Barry started out working in domestics at Macy’s where he met Phyllis, who worked in the cosmetics department. They married in 1979, moved a few times along the way for Barry’s retail career growth in operations at Ann Taylor and Chicos, and eventually landed in Fort Myers, Florida. During that time, Phyllis raised their two sons – Matthew, now 34 and Jeff, now 31.

While working as President of Perry Ellis retail, Barry stumbled across Apricot Lane at a trade show in Las Vegas where Ken Peterson, the CEO of Apricot Lane Franchise was a featured speaker. He had always thought about owning his own business and thought of this opportunity, and the support that Apricot Lane Franchises offers, as a way to start a business with his wife and son.

Phyllis and Barry opened their first store in Coconut Creek, Florida in November of 2008. Matthew joined his parents shortly after, first as a store manager, to learn the ins and outs of the business. As of two years ago, Matthew is the buyer for all of their stores.
Present Day

The Shapiros currently have their Coconut Creek store, added their DelRay Beach store to the family business in 2013, and will soon open a third location in Wellington, Florida.

Phyllis still keeps an eye on the Coconut Creek store while running back and forth to the DelRay Beach location, which is close to their residence. When asked what the best thing about the Apricot Lane stores is, Phyllis replied, “The stores allow me the opportunity to work alongside my family. It gives me those few extra days a week to be with my son, which I love!”
Working together as a family affords them the time to travel to the different trade shows across the United States, as well as talk shop.

The Shapiros emphasize their love of the fact that their stores are part of the community in which they reside. They pride themselves on their warm and friendly team of associates who are part of their extended family.

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Originally posted in City Moms Blog.

Mom. Daughter. Bosses. {Apricot Lane Omaha}

Meet Karen & Janee :: Mom Bosses

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My mother Karen and I have always been very close. She owned a few hair care product salons at a few malls in Nebraska (while still working a full time corporate job). The day she got released from the hospital after having me, she actually brought me into the store to check on things. You could literally say I was born to shop – born on Saturday, shopping by Monday.
Mother/Daughter Business Plan

Fast forward 24 years. I was living in Chicago working at a law firm and needed a change of pace. I wanted to be back at home in Omaha so I could be with family and friends. About the same time, Karen was ready to retire from her corporate job. We had always wanted to open a business together and started looking for opportunities. A friend from college was managing an Apricot Lane in Missouri at the time and was always talking about how much she loved her job. Karen and I decided to go check it out, and the rest was history. We loved everything about it.

Apricot Lane sat down with us to share their life experiences that brought them to the world of women’s boutiques. The whole company is founded upon giving back to those in need and creating awareness. We decided then that we were going to turn our passion into a mother/daughter business. We could be a part of a supporting franchise, yet still bring in our own styles and personalities into the business.

Let me tell you: it’s been a crazy ride! We furnished our boutique similarly to what I would do in my own home, to create a relaxed and fun shopping environment. We want women to feel like they are shopping with friends in the comfort of our home. We have all ages of women that shop with us: from teenagers to women in their 70s. We have been so blessed to get to know so many different women with completely different styles. The variety in the products in the store is amazing. I love leggings and trendy tops and dresses with booties or heels that I can easily turn the look from day to night. My mother loves a great pair of denim and a nice classic top or sweater. We work hard to bring in items that we would both wear.

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“We decided ­­­that we were going to turn our passion into a mother/daughter business.”

Living the Dream

It’s been over three years, and the experience has been so rewarding. Working with family is fun and exciting, but not without challenges. Our mother/daughter bond goes deeper than a typical relationship because we are also partners. The most challenging part is also the most rewarding: we are in business for ourselves but we don’t always agree on everything. We complete and complement each other, which makes the business successful.

Karen: “Working with my daughter is rewarding on so many levels. Not only do I have a front-row seat to her growth and success in the fashion industry, but I have her companionship and am able to share in her life to a degree that would make many mothers envious.”

Janee: “My mother is a very driven, successful, and kind woman. She’s been such an inspiration to me and is such a strong woman. I honestly don’t know how she does it all. Learning how to run a business from her is a priceless experience that most people never have the chance to do.”

We have literally shopped every single weekend that we’ve spent together to this day – and wouldn’t have it any other way. We can’t wait to see how our journey unfolds in the future.

Make sure to to check out more about Karen and Janee’s Omaha store AND shop all of the seasons most popular styles from Apricot Lane! Stay tuned as we highlight more Apricot Lane stores around the country and the hardworking #MomBoss that is behind each one.

Originally posted in City Moms Blog

Top Coat Trends For Fall 2016

The cold weather is upon us, and it’s officially time to bundle up in the morning on your commute to work or school! The styles we’re loving, straight from the runway are updates to classic styles like the trench and newer looks too, like a velvet parka. Scroll down to see the top trending coats that you can wear now and next winter.

Trend: Velvet or Velour

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Image Source: Closet Full Of Clothes

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Image Source: Ferbena.com

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Image Source: The Fashion Tag

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Image Source: Fashion Tag

 

Trend: Shaggy, Shearling & Textured

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Image Source: 20 20 AVE

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Image Source: Song Of Style

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Image Source: Pinterest

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Image Source: Pinterest

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Image Source: Le Fashion

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Image Source: Pinterest

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Image Source: Style Carrot

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Image Source: Pinterest

 

Trend: Updated Trench Coats

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Image Source: Pinterest

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Image Source: Small Town Couture

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Image Source: The Fashion Tag

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Image Source: The Fashion Tag

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Image Source: Bedazelive

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Image Source: The Fashion Tag