Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Harrison.
Hi Lisa, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I guess you would say I have retail roots. My father’s family were clothing manufactures, retailers & designers dating back to 1900s. I started my retail career while attending USD. I also attended FIDM, where I studied design and merchandising. I started in a wonderful designer boutique in La Jolla called Wagener European Fashions. The owners had exquisite taste and knew the retail business inside and out. I am very close to the family today, and their daughter, Andrea, is my manager and right hand. After college, I was accepted into the management training program at I. Magnin in San Francisco. Unfortunately, this wonderful specialty store is no longer in existence… My favorite position was managing the couture and the dress salon in a small store outside of San Francisco in San Mateo. In the many positions I held throughout the years, I preferred being on the sales floor working with customers, putting looks together, and merchandising. In later years I worked for Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Saks in various roles from sales, management, and personal shopping. In 1993 I jumped over to the wholesale side and spent 14 years as a sales representative in the wholesale gift industry. I loved working with buyers and helping them choose their assortments. In 2013, I started my leap into store ownership. I have had several businesses in partnership. I started Be Boutique on my own in 2016 in Little Italy. Now, I have my boutique in La Jolla, the community where I live.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Good question! I have had many great opportunities for growth. In corporate retail, there were a few jobs I wanted that did not pan out. I loved my sales representative position even though it was not fashion. It was challenging and fulfilling. Owning a retail business has been challenging to say the least. I love being part of my community, meeting new faces & friends, and partnering with local charities. My boutique has made me rich in experience and friendships. I have been able to give back to local charities a percentage of my sales. To be honest it’s definitely a difficult way to make a living.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I own a woman’s fashion boutique. I try to be consistent in carrying merchandise that is quality, comfortable and affordable. Of course, it needs to be fashionable. I work closely with a company called Liverpool out of Los Angeles. They have amazing denim and have expanded to dresses, tops, and jackets. I carry jewelry made from local vendors that is beautiful and well-priced. I always have some fun and kitchy gift items. I have also developed a reputation with local charities to be included in vendor events where a percentage of my sales are donated to the particular charity. I love taking my boutique on the road doing pop-up events as well as hosting events in my boutique.
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