WEST BRIDGEWATER In a medical malpractice insurance office deep in Boston, Nicole Ryan’s co-workers surrounded her office asking for fashion advice.
These questions sparked a radical career change and business idea, August Lane Co, a new boutique in West Bridgewater.
“I always wanted to have my own store. I love fashion and I love style. I want to have a space where people of all sizes can shop and feel safe. Some stores cater for smaller sizes. Some are for larger sizes. I think it’s good to have a place where you can shop with all your friends and where everyone can find what they want, ”said Ryan, 40.
Ryan decided to take a leap of faith and become his own boss. The process of being an entrepreneur did not happen overnight.
She started out working part-time at LuLaRoe, an online business that hires women as independent fashion retailers and also allows them to create their own schedules and money. This aspect of the business inspired Ryan to follow his true passion for fashion.
In 2017, after working part-time for almost a year, Ryan decided it was time to leave insurance company Converys, where she had worked for 10 years in claims and business analysis departments. , and work full time at LuLaRoe.
For four years, Ryan built a following on Facebook and made her paycheck a job she loved at LuLaRoe. The popularity on Facebook increased Ryan’s following and customer base, which made it easier to sell clothes.
After mastering the online retail business, Ryan decided it was time to leave LuLaRoe and open his own online retail store.
August Lane Co. was originally scheduled to launch in March 2020, but due to COVID-19 it was unsure of what to do next.
Ryan considered for months whether opening a new business at a time when businesses that have been operating for years fail was a good idea.
Despite all the scenarios going through her head, she decided that she would launch the business regardless of the obstacles. The business officially launched online in June 2020 and opened for in-person shopping at 150 WestCentre St. in West Bridgewater last month.
“I stopped listening to the doubt in my head and said, ‘Go on, and I’ll do it.’ As scary as 2020 was, it was the best year of my life. I turned 40 in August and told myself that I will do it before I turn 40. I always wanted to do this. I could sink, I could swim, but as a business owner you have to take a leap, ”Ryan said.
The retailer was online for eight months when business took off, and there wasn’t enough space in Ryan’s garage for all the merchandise.
The company was looking for a retail space in West Bridgewater where customers can shop in person, try on clothes and see what suits them best.
“Being an online store from the start was to my advantage. All the stores were closed. People were afraid to leave their homes. People were afraid to go to the stores. And people had more free time to shop online. It was working in my favor, ”Ryan said.
Ryan believes the pandemic has made society aware of the importance of small businesses.
“Big retailers are great, but when you buy from a small business you’re paying for my kid’s school, my employee’s kids hockey games. mortgage, bills and groceries, ”Ryan said.
The store offers different styles of clothing, from graphic t-shirts, trendy casual outfits, shoes, jewelry and accessories to fashion masks and hand sanitizer. Sizes range from S-3X.
August Lane Co. is open for in-person shopping on Wednesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Fridays from noon to 5:00 p.m., and every second and fourth Saturday of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, customers can request an individual shopping experience. Customers can shop online at augustlaneco.com and get free shipping on orders over $ 200.
Ryan is hoping that in the future he can host a sangria night where customers can book the boutique and shop while drinking fruity wine with their friends to enhance their shopping experience like no other.
Another aspect she wants to incorporate is to bring in other local vendors to sell their handmade soap, lotion and candles during sangria nights.
“My goal is for everyone who purchases with us to feel as confident as they are in our clothes!” Ryan said.
Enterprise Alisha Saint-Ciel can be contacted by email at [email protected] You can follow heron Twitter at @ alishaspeakss Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription today to The Enterprise.
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