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Community Highlights: Meet Alexis Lee of Elan Apparel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Lee.

Alexis, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
One of my dreams have always been to have my own clothing and accessory line and open my own store. When I was a child, “That’s So Raven” was one of my favorite TV shows. Raven was a fashionista, she designed her own clothes, and she also interned for a famous designer, Donna Cabana. Who knew a kids TV show would help me discover my passion?! Years later, I knew I needed to get the right education in order to achieve my goals. I obtained a degree in Fashion Merchandising and Management with a minor in Marketing at Missouri State University, I’ve worked in retail, I interned at a local magazine in Springfield, MO and I participated in fashion-related school organizations.

After I graduated college in December 2018, I thought it was the perfect time to launch my business. I launched my online boutique, Elan Apparel LLC, in April 2019. I used my graduation money and my savings to purchase the necessary legal licenses, permits, inventory, supplies, etc. I was ready to become my own boss (I was still working full time as a Brand Co-Manager) and ready to have a successful business and actually do something that I love. I thought I had done enough research, I had the college education and the retail experience, but after a little over a month of being in business… life happened. I had to put my business on pause and place it on the back burner.

In 2020, during quarantine because of COVID, I had a lot of time to reflect on my life and my future. There were so many people losing their jobs, getting pay cuts (myself included) and companies closing, but somehow all of that motivated me to relaunch my business. Since I wasn’t going into work five days a week, I used that time to do more research on running a business and finding vendors, I was on YouTube getting advice from other business owners, I ordered books on marketing strategies, social media, leadership, etc. I eventually decided that it was time to bring my business back, but I also wanted to create an event that would help empower and uplift other women to go after their dreams as well.

On Jan. 1, 2021 I relaunched Elan Apparel LLC and on Jan. 16, 2021 I held my first women’s empowerment event, She Bo$$ed Up: Women’s Leadership Expo & Vendor Show. It was important for me to show other women that it’s up to you to get yourself where you want to be in life. I wanted to show other women that even though things may not work out as planned or the timing may be off it doesn’t mean you have to give up and quit. Sometimes you need to go back to the drawing board and perfect some things and sometimes you have to take things slow or even pause and start over, but regardless we are in control of our own destiny. I came out of quarantine a completely different woman with a whole new mindset! I told myself it was time to BOSS UP!! It was time to boss up mentally, physically, financially and spiritually and follow my heart.

Since January business has been amazing! I am still working full time as well as running my business by myself… from my own home, but I love it and wouldn’t change a thing! There are many long nights, early mornings and lessons to learn, but I keep pushing myself to go harder. Elan Apparel has been attending vendor shows to help with brand awareness and of course to network and make connections. We had our first radio interview back in Feb. to promote my business/brand and talk about entrepreneurship. Being a small business owner and entrepreneur definitely has its ups and downs, but it’s whatever you make it. I am giving my business my all!! I am not only enjoying the process, but I’m loving the results.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Running a business isn’t easy by any means and it isn’t always a smooth road. I wish more people could see what actually happens behind the scenes because you will definitely struggle. There have been times where my shipment was lost, I’ve received damaged product and lost money, there have been times where I didn’t receive a single sale in a week, I’ve purchased product that my target audience didn’t want, I forget to post on my business social media page… I could go on and on, but everyday is a new lesson and stepping stone. Things won’t always be perfect, but life isn’t perfect and neither is any business. There’s a lot of trial and error when it comes to being a business owner. I had to learn how to stay organized and keep track of all of my business expenses and I had to learn that it’s okay to ask for help/advice. For a while, I felt as if I could do everything by myself and that’s just not the case.

We’ve been impressed with Elan Apparel LLC, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Elan Apparel is an online boutique that offers bold and unique women’s clothing and accessories for women who aren’t afraid of standing out and being seen. We pride ourselves on being “Unapologetically Stylish” and being her favorite destination for elevated style. (Elan means: Distinctive and Stylish, Confident Energy, Flair)

Our slogan is “Style Like No Other” because we don’t necessarily follow the latest trends or keep up with “fast fashion” we focus on providing statement pieces, great quality and bringing our customers something new and different that they simply can’t find at every other boutique.

Elan Apparel loves and appreciates all of our customers and offers a Loyalty/Rewards Program as a way to show our appreciation. We also offer FREE shipping on all orders over $75 and QuadPay is available at checkout for those who want to shop now and pay later.

As our brand continues to grow, we want to continue inspiring women to step outside of their comfort zone and be confident in any and everything that they wear and be confident in all that they do.

What matters most to you?
Doing what I love and what makes me happy matters the most to me. People are always going to judge you, people aren’t always going to agree with you, and people aren’t always going to support you, but only you can control your own happiness. It doesn’t really matter what others think or says as long as you are doing what you love and what makes you happy. Life is short and it’s your life to live so make every day and everything count!

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