Photo by Jay Paul
Erin Ackerman didn't set out to own a brick-and-mortar clothing boutique, but after more than 15 years spent raising her three children, she wanted to try something different.
"I've always liked fashion, but it wasn't a dream of mine," the 45-year-old Wyndham resident says of Lulu Luxuries, the shop she opened in Towne Center West on Sept. 14. "I started as a website and now I'm a boutique, which is kind of unusual."
In February 2012, Ackerman launched lulustyleshack.com, an online clothing retailer, and lululuxuries.com , an online accessories boutique. The New Mexico native, who has lived all over the country, soon acquired a national clientele and when she started a Facebook page, the site got more than 30,000 likes. Ackerman posts new inventory on her Facebook site ( Facebook.com/lululuxuries ) on Mondays and Wednesdays and hosts flash sales at 8 p.m. both days. Because she purchases items in limited quantity, the clothing sometimes sells out online before it reaches the sales floor.
"I thought I didn't ever want a brick-and-mortar," she says, but as the business grew, so did her inventory. "I needed inventory space, so I thought I might as well have a boutique in the front."
In the 1,600-square-foot building next to Ahead of Hair and down the street from Glow Med Spa, Ackerman stocks women's clothing, jewelry, shoes, purses and more, at prices ranging from $30 to $400.
"It was really an empty shell," she says of the shop's interior when she moved in. "I designed it to fit the flow of what we're doing." Ackerman operates her online business from behind a large display counter, past racks filled with Aztec-print tunics, cable-knit sweaters and fringed shawls.
"I shop for my demographic," she says of the clothing best suited for women who are 30 to 50 years old. "I just want to build a business that I'm proud of."