Tag Archives: Franchise

15 Gingham Looks For You To Try This Summer

Gingham is still hanging on as a top trend this summer. This is one of those prints that never really disappears. The stars have hit the streets this summer in various ways showing off this pretty, preppy and playful style. Below are some inspiration for you to get out there and try!


Image Source: Glamour Magazine


Image Source: Glamour Magazine


Image Source: Bea Hive Blog


Image Source: Pinterest

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Image Source: Pinterest

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Image Source: Glamour Magazine


Image Source: Pinterest


Image Source: Fashion Gum


Image Source: Fashion Gum


Image Source: Fashion Gum


Image Source: Fashion Gum


Image Source: Fashion Gum


Image Source: The LT Blog


Image Source: Glamour Magazine


Image Source: Gold Coast Girl Blog



Mother-daughter duo opens Apricot Lane Boutique on St. Armands

Apricot Lane Boutique in St. Armand's Circle.  STAFF PHOTO / NICK ADAMS
Apricot Lane Boutique in St. Armand’s Circle. STAFF PHOTO / NICK ADAMS

Meet the new millennial friendly boutique on St. Armands Circle.

What’s millennial friendly, you might ask? (As one of newsroom’s gen xers did.)

  1. I would shop there.
  2. My credit card wouldn’t be too furious that I shopped there.
  3. I’d still look great even without my credit card screaming.
  4. I caught myself eyeing the merchandise (specifically, this very textured, mauve dress) looming in the background as I was interviewing the shop owners.
  5. I’m really thinking about going back and trying it on.
  6. As in, I’ve been thinking about it all afternoon.
  7. (You know, like when you see a doughnut, and you want a doughnut, and don’t take the doughnut, but then still think about the doughnut all day?)
  8. That dress and this boutique is my doughnut.

OK. On to the real story.

Ginger O’Connor launched an Apricot Lane Boutique this weekend at 464 John Ringling Blvd. near Naples Soap Company and the Blue Dolphin Café.

She’s outfitted the 1,700-square-foot shop with racks of brightly colored, chic but fun clothing and tables of accessories. The goal is to appeal to a variety of ages and price points, and she’s teamed up with her 25-year-old daughter, Melanie, the store’s manager, to make it happen.

(No wonder it’s millennial friendly, a millennial is part of the team running the show.)

Ginger O'Connor and her daughter, Melanie, left, opened Apricot Lane Boutique in St. Armand's Circle.  STAFF PHOTO / NICK ADAMS
Ginger O’Connor and her daughter, Melanie, left, opened Apricot Lane Boutique in St. Armand’s Circle. STAFF PHOTO / NICK ADAMS

They’ve searched the markets in New York, Los Angeles and Miami and sought-out up-and-coming designers.

The emphasis is on quality and affordability whether it’s for a day at the beach, a night at the club or a morning yoga class.

The O’Connors have some names on their shelves that shoppers will recognize, such as analili, but many of their labels are new finds, and in a true boutique fashion they’ve only purchased a few of each style.

Apricot Lane Boutique has a few dresses that reach upwards of $100, but she can also outfit her customers with a whole outfit — including shoes and accessories — for about that same price.

See I told you my credit card wouldn’t be too mad at me.

And that dress I’m dreaming about (or, as I’m now affectionately calling it — my doughnut) was only $66.

Originally posted in Unravel


Best Summer Looks To Copy From Bloggers This Summer

Here’s some summer fashion inspiration from bloggers!

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Images via Song of Style

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Images via Sincerely Jules

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Images via Sazan

Charlotte-Groeneveld-Aquazurra Kate-Spade-denim-shorts

Images via The Fashion Guitar

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Images via Diamonds For Dimes

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Images via Lace and Locks

South Florida Business Owner Supports May’s Lupus Awareness Month


DELRAY BEACH, FL– Apricot Lane Boutique owner, Barry Shapiro runs his South Florida locations along with his son Matt Shapiro, going to work together and creating a truly a modern day family business. Sharing his expertise in the retail world with him in hopes he can take over the successful businesses they have created one day- perhaps a Father’s Dream. As impressed as Shapiro is with his son’s dedication and determination to the business it was in fact a circumstance outside the boutique that created the most sense of pride.

As many customers of Shapiro’s South Florida stores may know, May is the most important month for this family, Lupus Awareness is the families greatest charitable mission. Developing in store events such as the Girls Night Out Parties where ALL proceeds from the evening were matched by Shapiro and 100% donated to the Lupus Foundation of America South Florida Chapter. The store also is giving a free summer tote bag to anyone making a $10 donation in store. Straight donations can be made to his personal page at this link as well. 

Personally touched by this disease after Shapiro’s youngest son Jeff was diagnosed with Lupus, it was in fact in 2014 when he needed a kidney transplant as a complication of this disease. Shapiro’s oldest son and work companion, Matt Shapiro donated that kidney to his brother after discovering he was a perfect match. Without a second thought, and of course an excused leave from the family business, the family became closer then ever imaginable. “Phyllis and I are incredibly proud of our children for the men they have become but overwhelmed by their bravery in the face of such unexpected adversity.” explained Shapiro. “It is an absolute nightmare to see your children laying side by side in a hospital waiting with each other to go in for major organ transplant surgery.  This disease which affects 1.5 million Americans and over 100,000 of them here in Florida needs a voice. On a day like that day in the hospital Phyllis and I knew that we needed to be among those shouting out the need for awareness.” He continued.

“Working with our son every single day, going to retail shows buying together and building our business together truly makes it feel like its Father’s Day every day of the year. It is an amazing gift” explained Shapiro. “Now the opportunity to use our business to help spread the word about Lupus and raise money is what being a business owner is all about,” said Shapiro.

Jeff Shapiro is now living in North Carolina, healthy and thriving thanks to the dedication of family.

Apricot Lane multi-store owner Shapiro comes from an extensive resume in the retail industry. Holding positions such as President of Retail Division for Perry Ellis International. Sr. VP of Operations for Chicos, Sr. VP and Director of Stores for Saks 5th Ave Outlets, Executive VP of Operations for Ann Taylor and Regional Vice President for Lord and Taylor. He chose to open Apricot Lane and go the franchise route after a lifetime in corporate America because he liked the plans in place for the flexibility and his own ability to buy based on demographics and customer requests, ability to support causes important to him and potential to host events that give back in his community.

Apricot Lane’s in South Florida features trend setting fashion apparel, jewelry, shoes, handbags, and accessories to create must have high fashion looks for an affordable price for both mothers and daughters, teens through 50’s looking for cutting edge styles and promises to embody all the characteristics that appeal to shoppers: a great selection of apparel and accessories, a warm and welcoming environment, and genuine, honest customer service and style advice. Whether someone is looking for a great pair of jeans to create a casual look, or a classy outfit to enjoy a night out on the town, Apricot Lane has the brands and accessories to express an individual’s style.

About Apricot Lane Boutique:

Apricot Lane is a member of the popular Country Visions, Inc. franchise, specializing in offering a high variety of fashion-forward styles, accessories and gift items at affordable prices. The franchise offers a new mix of merchandise both online and in-store, and offers customers the ability to build a unique style.  Approaching system wide sales of $50 million and growing at a pace of 20-30 stores per year provides new resources and opportunities system wide that will keep Apricot Lane Boutique on top as a fashion trend leader and top retail franchise.


Contact: Stacey Graham Stacey@sgprgroup.com 310.343.0451

Apricot Lane Boutique Featured In Franchising Today


When picturing a fashion boutique storeowner, the first thought that comes to mind usually isn’t a former fire captain, but that’s exactly what Ken Petersen did before he launched the first Apricot Lane Boutique. “I did what most firefighters do, go from firefighting to women’s fashion,” he says, laughing.

The boutique began in 1991 as a gift and collectibles shop – where it sold items such as Precious Moments statues – and gradually evolved to selling scarves, handbags and jewelry. The stores grew to three locations, and Petersen saw how beneficial franchising could be. He says there was a need in the industry for fashion franchising concepts, so he founded Apricot Lane Boutique in 2007. Now, there are 79 Apricot Lane locations in 33 states.

“We’re a unique boutique,” Petersen says. “One, from a franchise perspective, we allow our franchisees to buy their own products. We’ll set up their initial inventory and guide them, but they’re able to bring in their own products catered to local customer base. And two, we merchandise the stores with latest fashion, jewelry and handbags, all in the styles and trends customers want and base that on styles that fit a mom and daughter.”

Apricot Lane is intended to be a multi-generational store, catering to both a mother and daughter’s sense of style rather than focusing solely on one demographic. And Petersen says the stores have been able to hit that and the price point mark, where typically every item is $100 or less. “We’re hitting great quality at great prices,” he says. “It’s a sweet spot and part of our success.”

Being in fashion means consistently staying ahead of the trends and ensuring exclusivity in each of its stores. Apricot Lane tailors its fashions to the surrounding area and typical customer. In addition, the stores offer daily new arrivals that are in limited quantity. Customers can find brands such as Free People, Elan, BB Dakota, Hobo, Giving Keys, Sanctuary and Black Swan, which the shops source across the United States, from Los Angeles to New York. Many other brands come from the Los Angeles Fashion District, known for its on trend styles.

“It’s a goldmine there,” Petersen says. “We have a buyer that works exclusively for our stores because the only way to get the hottest trends first is to have boots on the ground. Boutiques around us are constantly scratching their heads wondering how we get access to first-run merchandise. And by the time they get it, we’re moving onto something else. So we’re three steps ahead.”

Franchise Passion

When selecting a franchisee, Apricot Lane looks for people who have a passion for fashion and someone that wants to be deeply involved in retail and making the store successful. “They don’t have to have retail/fashion/business background, but we’ve been very successful with taking franchisees and bringing them into our system and being successful,” Petersen explains. “We want someone that’s looking for a store not just to sell clothes and make money, but to use the store to be connected and give back to the community.”

A typical Apricot Lane franchisee is a family that wants to strike out on a new venture. Petersen or a real estate ambassador will go out – anywhere in the United States – and visit a prospective franchisee, spending the entire day scoping out potential retail locations and overall determining if the person will be the right fit. “We’re crazy about the right fit and making good decisions,” he says. “This kind of an investment is pretty unique. Once that fit is right, we bring them into the system we’ve prepared for them through an initial home training program.”

The home training system is a series of computer modules and tests that franchisees conduct on their own time while Apricot Lane tracks their progress. There is a lot to learn in retail, Petersen says, so after home training is a one-week corporate training program in Vacaville, Calif., followed by on-site opening training and merchandising. After opening, the company goes through a 120-day “hand-holding” period to ensure the franchisee is off to a great start. And then, more training is ongoing through webinars, video training and annual continuing education conferences.

“Those first four months are critical; critical to create good habits so they’re not going down the wrong road,” Petersen says. “We’ll focus on that with monthly calls, guiding, teaching and training, and then ease that hand-holding back for as much as they want or don’t want. We provide ongoing resources and opportunities for our franchisees to pick and choose what works best for them”

As additional support to its franchised stores, Apricot Lane enlisted the help of Cambeo Group, a company that specializes in retail support and streamlining internal processes such as human resources, marketing, operations, financial and social media. “I would have to hire a whole bunch of people that would provide the level of support Cambeo brings,” Petersen notes. “It’s been a phenomenal relationship.” Through this system, all the stores stay connected at the internal level.

Petersen says Apricot Lane is unique because it can offer so much more than a typical franchise establishment thanks to its 24 years of franchising experience, flexibility and culture. Its franchising infrastructure gives franchisees “the opportunities that only big retail stores typically enjoy.” These opportunities and resources include leveraged buying, training modules, store assessments, customer surveys, automated employee training programming and state-of-the-art point-of-sale systems.

“We have a network of franchisees who share what’s working and what isn’t, and that’s where the real strength comes from,” Petersen adds. “We’re learning from each other, and some of our best answers and ideas come from our franchisees.”

Important Cause

Apricot Lane’s vision is to be the leading fashion boutique franchise and make a positive difference in the lives of people. It does that through its mission statement: Do the right thing. “We believe that if we’re doing that, we will accomplish our vision, along with the right fit of finding franchisees who want to also make a positive impact in the lives of people and their communities,” Petersen says.

Apricot Lane wants its franchisees to have causes they care about and support. Petersen is very passionate about the issue of human trafficking and has united with 3 Strands, whose mission is to combat human trafficking through sustainable employment, education and engagement initiatives. Apricot Lane stores sell 3 Strands bracelets made by Cambodian girls who have escaped human trafficking.  All of the profits go directly to support victims of this issue. The funds are used to help empower, teach and employ young women who may not have other opportunities.

This issue is especially close to Petersen’s heart because one of the Cambodian girls he hosted five years ago is now his daughter. “I’m just really proud of our system to embrace an issue like that.”

Petersen is also proud of the culture he has created within Apricot Lane: that everyone feels empowered to run their own franchise and is dedicated to both the stores and supported causes. “We exist solely to the support and success of our franchisees,” he says. “I’m proud of the culture, our team, our franchisees and the way we support each other and the culture that’s been born out of that. We’ve been successful here, and I think life’s too short to not be doing something you love.”

Originally posted in Franchising Today by By Stephanie Crets