The charm of local boutiques is that each shop tells a story and is curated in a unique way. Meet Lisa Lorenz of Never Enough Boutique, hear her story, and peek into the life of this fashionably local boutique owner.
OWNER SINCE: October 23rd, 2017
What led you to buy the fabulous, and “cult favorite” Never Enough Boutique:
In 1992, I began working for Panera Bread when it was just a small, local company called Saint Louis Bread Company. I worked for the original owners in the marketing department. I grew up with the company, and ultimately became responsible for brand strategy and the development of ad campaigns. In my tenure there, the company grew from ten stores to over three thousand. It was an amazing experience for me.
I was with Panera for almost twenty-five years, and it wasn’t my choice to leave. When I did, I took some time to decide what I wanted to do next. Another corporate job just wasn’t appealing to me. I knew I wanted to do something close to home, and where I could make decisions without having to go up and down the corporate ladder. I also traveled extensively with my previous job, so I wanted to be more present for my family. Doing something entrepreneurial appealed to me, but I didn’t have the time or flexibility to start a brand new business.
With all of this in mind, I began working with a business broker who led me to Never Enough Boutique. The original owners, sisters Ann Meyer and Chris Conley, had listed the shop. I’d never been there! I visited as a customer and spent some time with Ann and Chris. I was intrigued with their way of running the business. They did incredibly well for being open only three days a week and five hours a day, plus they had an amazing following. I looked at it from a business perspective and saw an opportunity to grow the business.
What has changed at Never Enough Boutique now that you own it?
It was always a successful store so I haven’t changed the look or the selection of amazing lines that the shop carries, but I thought, what could make this business better? The limited hours of operation meant that many people didn’t have access to it. Women with full time jobs couldn’t shop there, so right off the bat I made that change. I went from fifteen hours a week to thirty-five and now I’m up to forty hours and six days a week. I just added Sunday hours! I really wanted to expose more people to the shop because it’s an affordable boutique with fabulous styles for everyone. Overall though, the shop has the same vibe as before.
How would you describe Never Enough and it’s demographic?
The core demographic is made up of women like us in their forties and fifties. My customers want to look on trend, but don’t want to be seen as trying too hard or trying to be younger than they are. My goal is to have something that appeals to women of all ages. Shoppers can bring their moms and their daughters – and everyone can find something that they love! Our amazing selection of jewelry especially appeals to everyone. It’s important to me that everyone feel welcome here.
What’s the hottest thing in the store right now?
Denim has always been a staple for Never Enough, but we have some new, fun styles in the store right now. Flared, high waist jeans look great on everyone. They make your legs look longer and suck the tummy in. We also have fabulous booties with animal prints. If you put on basic denim with a cute top and rock some cool booties, your whole outfit is made.
What is your personal style?
I don’t have a specific style. I love clothes, and have always been a bit ‘all over the place’ – I love classics, and vintage… and bohemian. I love whimsical prints and have added a little of that look in the shop. I’ve also tried to add more things that are office appropriate.
Has your style changed over the past year?
I used to wear a lot of skirts and dresses when I worked in the corporate environment – it was just easy. When I went to market for the first time with the previous owners, Ann and Chris, I kept wanting to buy skirts even though they were skeptical. They were right! Those skirts ended up on the sale rack! Now I wear what’s in the shop…all of us at Never Enough are walking mannequins. It’s fun for us and it really helps us sell the clothes.
What is the oldest piece of clothing that you own?
I have a pair of Frye Harness Boots that I bought a long time ago at The Women’s Closet Exchange.** The boots were brand new and never worn! I’ve had them resoled, re-heeled and reconditioned throughout the years, but they are still pretty beat up. I continue to wear them because they are so comfortable and still look amazing with everything.
** The Women’s Closet Exchange is now closed and formerly owned by Sue McCarthy. Sue currently owns The Vault Luxury Resale with her two daughters, Diana Ford and Laura Maurice.
What’s the biggest thing that you’ve learned as a boutique owner?
You have to get comfortable with unpredictability. It’s a big difference to go from working for a company with a steady paycheck, vacation time, and all the benefits, and then making the switch to owning your own business. You are at the mercy of our unpredictable weather, (try selling sweaters when it’s still 90 degrees in October!), competitors, online shopping, and so many other variables that are out of your control. You have to learn to be okay with that and focus on the things that you do have control over. You can’t let it get you down.
What advice would you give someone wanting to own a boutique?
If you are buying an existing boutique, you really have to dig through the financials to find out how the business performs. If you don’t have the knowledge to do that yourself, then you really should hire a CPA and an attorney. A cute shop may seem super fun to own, but at the end of the day, there’s rent, labor and all of the operating costs. Understanding what’s driven the profits and losses of the business you are buying is crucial.
Fortunately, the transition was a little easier for me because key members of the original staff stayed, and they have been incredibly helpful! I think the relationship part of this business is important, so knowing your customer is a key piece to its success. I didn’t have that knowledge coming into it but the amazing staff members that transitioned, and stayed with me, have been invaluable. They have my back, they offer suggestions, and they’ve been incredibly kind and patient.
If you had unlimited time, what else would you want to do?
My husband is an architect and we recently bought a beautiful, mid-century, modern, home that was meticulously preserved. I love architecture and interior design, so I could see myself running a resale interiors place with home accents and furniture from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s eras. I love the whole concept of what’s old is new again, plus, things were much better quality back then!
A personal invitation from Lisa:
I wasn’t a boutique shopper before I owned Never Enough, not only because I didn’t have the time, but also because I felt intimidated when I walked into them. Now, as a shop owner, my mission is to help you feel welcome and comfortable browsing without the pressure to buy. I’d like to personally invite you to come in and check out the shop. If you don’t find anything, we hope you had a nice visit, and maybe we’ll be on your radar the next time!