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Community Highlights: Meet Allison Ernst of Prevail Boutique

Today we’d like to introduce you to Allison Ernst. 

Hi Allison, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I’m Allison, to simply put it; a retail addict who is passionate about fashion and environmentalism; (go, Greta). Prevail Boutique was founded in 2021 and is sassy, simplistic, and individualistic. We are your destination for truly unique vintage to modern pieces to fit your wardrobe. When curating a collection: I like to approach my buy with affordability, functionality, wearability, quality, and exclusivity.   

I have worked in the retail industry for over 20 years, although my bank account would conclude that I’ve been shopping for well over 30 years. My professional background includes; team management, loss prevention, buying and merchandising, and product development in corporate and small business roles. 

I started my first retail job at Victoria’s Secret, at Mid Rivers Mall, in 2000 (I wanted that job so bad)! I then started working for The Journeys Group in 2002, managing stores at South County Mall, Jamestown Mall, and Northwest Plaza. I earned a corporate promotion in 2004 to Nashville, TN, and I was an accessory merchandiser; a year later, I received another promotion, this time to a buyer. In 2006, I voluntarily resigned from my role and moved back to St Louis, MO. While managing a store in Crestwood Plaza, I received an offer for another career opportunity. In 2007, I became an apparel developer for a manufacturing company. In 2009, The Journeys Group rehired me; I was off to Springfield, MO, at Battlefield Mall; to manage another store. After four months in Springfield, I was moved to Memphis, TN, working at Wolfchase Galleria for one year. In 2011, I voluntarily moved to Syracuse, NY, for a failed relationship. During my brief (and miserable) two-month stay there, I worked at Destiny Mall. Next was Buffalo, NY, managing another multi-million-dollar store at the Niagara Falls Premium Outlet; for 1-year. In 2012 I received another corporate promotion, furthermore relocating to Nashville, TN; this time, I made company history as the first female loss prevention manager. For nearly three years, I traveled the majority of the southeastern and Midwest US working in this role. In 2014, I achieved company history again, becoming the first female loss prevention analyst. In 2016, I made a difficult decision to resign, and I changed my career direction (exhausting, I know!). While briefly working at Nordstrom at Green Hills Mall; in Nashville, TN, I met the owner of a local contemporary boutique, Emerson Grace, in the trendy neighborhood of 12 South. In 2017, I began managing her multi-million-dollar business. 

During the height of the pandemic in 2020, I took a hard look into my life and realized I wasn’t happy and needed to realign my compass. Following months-long discussions, I resigned from my job and took a sabbatical for a year. During that time, I moved back to St Louis, MO, in January 2021; and started to prevail over my obstacles. As a result, this helped me achieve a balanced lifestyle with more quality in it. And, I sought out what is important to me: recycling and up-cycling retail goods, reducing waste, and most importantly, assisting others, especially women, feel their best. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Once I decided to leap out of the window and open my own business, I felt confident that I was making the right decision; because of my previous career experience and all of the tools available in my toolbox. Without this and the valuable knowledge that I’ve received and been provided with, climbing this mountain would be way more terrifying and less likely than it would’ve happened. There are daily obstacles and challenges with learning DTC e-commerce and integrating platforms; having an online presence that stands out from the rest; that includes creating brand awareness and networking within the community. Although, overcoming these obstacles, no matter how big or small, is the definition of prevailing. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Prevail Boutique?
The straightforward idea behind Prevail Boutique is to provide affordable, high-quality vintage to modern pieces for everyday lifestyles. We focus on super savvy one-of-a-kind collections and wearability. Our philosophy is simple; help others find their unique style, reduce our environmental impact, provide alternatives for fast fashion, and promote sustainability. 

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
The current market trend displays evidence of growing resale opportunities among every generation; as more shoppers transform into conscious consumers. Fast fashion is being replaced with resale, with some shopping second-hand because it’s more sustainable. Shoppers are attracted to resale because you can sometimes find sold-out styles, which brings in more new buyers than standard resale items. Multiple factors ranging from a rising interest in sustainability to pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions have attributed to this growth. 

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