Thank you very much to Kelsey Quinn who posted a fantastic article about elle G on the University of Rhode Island Alumni page!
Bringing the latest trends from runway to Rhody
Some kids are surrounded by toys during childhood. Lauren Young ’10 was surrounded by shoes. “That’s how I was born I guess,” she says.
She credits her father with inspiring her to work in the fashion industry. He’d always tell her stories about the footwear trade shows he went to. “I was kind of always around fashion,” she says, “there were always samples around my house.”
So it makes sense then that in 2013, Young opened her first shop, elle G Boutique(named after her initials “LG” when she was unmarried). Two years after opening her boutique in Wickford, she moved into a space at the top of URI’s Kingston campus, and has been seeing success ever since.
Elle G’s tidy appearance gives way to a wide range of styles. Young walks breezily around the tables and racks, pulling out dresses and rompers, skirts and shirts. “We have a pretty good mix in here, like girly fashions,” flashing a yellow floral dress, “or more edgy, different, on trend things,” she says, holding up a one shouldered, long black jumper.
Her leather peplums, gold glitter rompers and neon summer dresses are enough to make any girl go gaga (and what’s better – everything’s under $100). “You can’t only buy for one customer because it’s not going to please everybody. Getting a good mix is probably the key,” Young says.
Buying for a boutique can be hard when there are so many cute things out there. Young says she looks at price point, color and style when shopping. But she mostly uses her style six sense. “I kind of just get a feeling if I like it a lot,” she says.
Young learned the tricks of the trade both in class and in the real world. She did a semester in NYC through URI where she says she learned the essentials of the business. “I learned a lot about the industry and professionals and took an entrepreneurship class and we went to a trade show,” she said.
She tells a story of how her friend’s mom owned a handbag shop back in New Jersey. They’d call her up to place orders, not knowing then, but getting a crash course for her future as a boutique owner.
Then senior year she learned the nitty gritty of the fabrics she was working with – the wefts and the weaves and how fabrics react. “I learned how to burn the fabrics, how to dye them, how they wash. That definitely helps a lot now. People are always like ‘is this going to shrink?’ and I’ll just take a look really quick,” Young says.
She shares this passion for everything fashion with her customers and the community, giving back and helping the next generation break into the business. Right now she has three interns (two Textile, Merchandising and Design students and one Communication Studies student) and already has two lined up for next year. “It’s good, they get a lot of hands on experience,” she says as she and her current intern tie a knot in the slouchy grey tank on a nearby mannequin.
On May 1st, Young will be dressing 4-5 models in trends from elle G for URI’s Fashion Merchandising Society’s "Around the World"spring fashion show. She’ll also have a booth set up to sell some spring and summer styles. So what’s on trend? Rompers and jumpsuits, gingham and florals – “it’s crazy, everyone wants them,” she says. We say the same about everything in her shop.
– Kelsey Quinn