EVERYONE MEET EM TAYLOR!
Emily Taylor, (teamed with her Step Mum, Kerry) is the lovely lady behind our local ‘go-to’ boutique, LELULAH! As Lelulah’s 1st birthday is creeping up, we thought what better time to get all the deets on how two ordinary fashionistas from the ‘burbs pulled off opening their own successful boutique.
Have you ever wanted to start your own business but don’t think you have the skills? Are you a recent high school leaver feeling the pressure to pursue formal education but don’t think it’s for you?
Well guess what, THERE ARE NO RULES. Listen up and push that doubt aside with this interview showing you how possible it is to make any business dreams a reality.
We were so excited to interview Em, so we thought why not give you guys the chance to hear it for yourselves, word stumbles, giggles and all! 😉 Hit the play button below each question to hear Em’s response, in a raw and unrestrained (some may even say uninhibited!) format.
What sparked your love for women’s fashion/Did you always know you wanted to head into the fashion industry?
I didn’t always know that I wanted to go into fashion, it was after high school when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I had decided to go into visual merchandising and studied that for two years. So I guess in some way that kind of influenced me into some sort of fashion-based job. Then from there I got a job with Billabong, and worked for Surf Dive & Ski and Jetty Surf, for about 4 years. Within that time I moved up from just a sales assistant to working as a roaming VM, which had me going to stores in Torquay, Burke Street and all that. So I finished up there and didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had kinda half started a website and I just thought hey, why don’t I open a boutique?
Did you have any prior experience in the fashion/business world prior to starting up Lelulah?
I didn’t actually have any proper business kind of experience. You know, I had seen my Dad’s business running from home through the home office, but in terms of business experience no, none. So it was kinda good that I started this up with my business partner, my Step Mum Kerry. I have learnt a lot through her in terms of how to run a business and all that kind of stuff. In terms of fashion, yeah I definitely had experience in that as I was working with Billabong, Jetty Surf, Surf Dive and Ski and all that. So i’d kind of seen how a fashion retail store works, the ins and out of stock control, ordering and that kind of thing and seeing the way it works in a retail store.
Is there a further meaning behind the name “Lelulah”/ What made it jump out to you for the name of your Boutique?
*Chuckles* This is probably a question I get asked most about is the name, but no there is actually no real meaning behind it! I think I have really googled and really tried to find a meaning but I’ve got none! But you know I have gotten onto the 10th page of google and found out that in some really distant way that it means a female heroine, like some sort of a female hero. But no, no meaning behind it I just liked how feminine it sounded and it had that nice ring to it!
Why did you choose to open your boutique in Ringwood East?
Well I have lived in Ringwood East my whole life, so I have been a local girl, I have seen this Railway Avenue strip develop over time. I actually came down here over the summer over a year ago and I saw this property up for lease, got on the real estate website, looked it up and thought depending how much it costs, you know in a year lets have a look and it was relatively reasonable so we just thought hey lets give it crack! It’s handy being so close to home too! We also want to bring a bit more fashion awareness to the local strip I guess!
How/why do you choose the labels you stock in your shop?
We choose the labels we stock in our shop because most of them are designed in Australia, so we love the fact that they are Australian labels. We also love the aesthetic of the clothing too, everything we choose is something we would have in our wardrobe, something you know we’d feel comfortable paying for and wearing. We definitely love all the labels that we stock, and we pride ourselves on the Australian labels.
Were your family/friends/community surprised or skeptical when you shared your initial idea for starting a fashion boutique?
I don’t think they were skeptical, I think they were very supportive! We had a lot of help from family and friends to start up the business, and without them it wouldn’t have happened I guess! You know everything you see here has been put together by family members and friends, everyone kind of rallied around us, and the community were very supportive! And we’ve got lots of lovely return customers that we have built friendships with through opening the shop.
What has been the hardest part/biggest hurdle when creating a business from the ground up?
The biggest hurdle with creating your own business I guess is trying to put in the man hours and applying yourself 100%. It takes so much time and effort to create something and you’ve got to be 100% there. So I think thats definitely the hardest part, you’ve just got to be dedicated.
In contrast, what is the best part of being your own boss and owning a boutique?
That’s one of the biggest draw cards for me I think, being your own boss is just absolutely amazing. I worked for a big business for so long, and you kinda just feel like a number when you are working for a big business. I guess when you’re co-owning something with someone and its just you two running it its just so much more personal and you can put your heart and soul into. So yeah, I think being your own boss is absolutely amazing.
Is co-owning a fashion boutique what you expected, is it better/worse?
Co-owning definitely has its benefits, I mean you know having someone like Kerry who has been able to share her talents and her experience with business, and you know I teach her things about fashion and merchandising you know we have both learnt so much from each other. And having a business together has been amazing, and an awesome journey so far. So its so good to see what will come from that.
Where do you see Lelulah in the future, what are you big dreams?
There’s definitely big dreams for Lelulah, initially when we started we saw ourselves being a big online empire. You know when you start you have all these dreams and aspirations. Yeah so we definitely see ourselves growing our online business and becoming more so like a household name… you know “Im going to shop down at LELULAH.” And I think in the past year since we’ve been opened it has become something like that, locals do say “I am just going down to LELULAH.”
Would you ever launch your own fashion label for Lelulah?
Yeah we would definitely look at launching our own fashion label. When we first started it was something that we really wanted to do. We learnt a lot about wholesaling and manufacturing and stuff like that so it was kind of a lot harder than we initially thought.
What advice would you give to high-school leavers wanting to pursue a non-traditional career path like yourself?
I definitely just say to them, give it a go! You’ve got literally nothing to lose, you know you’ve just got to put in the time and effort and know that it’s 100% what you want to be doing, and even if it’s not what you want to be doing and down the track you change your mind, that’s no an issue. You know you only live once and you’ve just got to do it. You can only say you’ve done something if you have given it a go and nobody’s going to hold it against you if you it doesn’t work out.
Finally, what is your go-to outfit from Lelulah at the moment!?
So….what’s stopping you?
As Em said, bite the bullet and just DO IT.
We loved this snippet of her advice:
“Nobody’s going to hold it against you if it doesn’t work out.”
It’s such an important point. It’s what you don’t do that you will regret, not what you do do. We know it sounds like the standard advice we hear all the time, but if you stop for a moment and truly apply it to yourself, it could just be the push you need!
We hope that hearing how a relatable woman like Em is doing it, that you feel you can do it too. It’s what our local legend corner is all about.
Their address is:
16A Railway Avenue Ringwood East 3135
Not a local? Head to their website and shop away online! (phew!)
P.S HOW CUTE IS THIS KIDS CORNER FOR ALL THOSE BUSY MUMS OUT THERE?