Tell us a bit about yourself and your business.
I grew up in Southern California with a single father. I saw his drive to provide for his daughters as he started a successful business from the ground up. Over the years as I would “help” at the shop, I assumed everyone worked this way; in a fun atmosphere doing what they loved. I went to college on and off for a while changing my major multiple times not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up.
In 2013, I was watching the news of the Rana Plaza collapse where 1,134 garment factory workers were killed and 2,500 injured. I was in complete shock that human lives were being put in harms way for the clothing we wear. These were brands and companies I often frequented. After more research, I learned this is was a common practice overseas. Due to the fashion industry, we went from four seasons to 52 micro-seasons a year. Fast Fashion, as we call it, utilizes trend replications, rapid production and low quality materials in order to bring inexpensive styles to the public. Unfortunately, this results in harmful impacts to the environment (In the US alone, 21 billion lbs of clothing end up in our landfills every year), human well-being (10-18 hour working days in unsafe conditions for less than half a living wage) and ultimately our wallets (since we are buying a lot of cheap clothing instead of a few good quality pieces).
Long story short, my ethical journey has been amazing. I have found beautiful companies and brands that employ women, giving them purpose and an income to go to college or provide for their families. I admire companies that are: conscious about the environment and use less water in production or plant based dyes instead of harsh chemicals, that help educate, empower and employ women out of human trafficking, and ultimately provide safe working conditions and a fair living wage. The feeling I have knowing the piece I was wearing or the purse I was carrying made a positive impact on the life of the person who made it was worth the additional cost. Emma Watson said it perfectly: “As consumers, we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy.” Without hesitation, I knew this is what I wanted to do.
What made you decide to open your own small business and how long have you been in operation?
As I shared my ethical journey with my friends and family, I realized so many were unaware of the dangers of fast fashion. I wanted to support ethical companies in a bigger way while making it easier for my community to shop ethically in one location. I started to buy and sell from my home in 2017 and opened the brick and mortar location in downtown Dayton in March of 2019. Behind every product we carry at Grace Lane there is a deep and meaningful story. It’s my joy to share about the people and places behind each item and to bring sustainable and ethical products to other conscious consumers in the community.
What do you enjoy about working in downtown Dayton?
I made Downtown Dayton my home in 2000. My husband and I have lived here over 20 years enjoying the arts, dining, and the city atmosphere. Choosing downtown for the brick and mortar store was a no brainer for me, and the DDP continues to make it a success with First Friday and fun City events throughout the year to bring people into the Gem City.
Tell us something about your business that may surprise people to learn.
I started a business alone, in my 40s, with little to no business education. I have made many mistakes, but I had a dream, I set a goal, and I kept moving forward. If you have a dream of being an entrepreneur, push through the fear and doubt and reach for it. I know you can make it happen too!
How is your business coping with the pandemic and how can people support you now?
Due to the mandatory shutdown and the continued safety restrictions and guidelines, we did have to alter our sales strategy. We have now added an e-commerce presence (gracelaneboutique.com), ZOOM and FB Live parties with curbside pick-up, free shipping or contactless delivery within a 15 mile radius of the store, and private one-on-one shopping.
We also offer after hours private shopping parties for you and a few of your friends with discounts, door prizes, and hors d’oeuvres. It’s a great time for all. Please follow us at: facebook.com/gracelanebtq and Instagram.com/gracelanebtq
And shop online at: gracelaneboutique.com
Grace Lane Boutique
133 E. Fourth St.
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