If there were any reason for me to move to Brooklyn, it’d be to share the same area code as A Lovely Universe. And lovely sums it up perfectly as there isn’t a single thing that doesn’t make me buckle at the knees. As if it can get any better, the sweet shop owner has agreed to answer some of our burning questions about business ownership, and all things style. Captured by Rima Brindamour, there’s more right here.
SMP: Tell us a little about A Lovely Universe!
A Lovely Universe is a lifestyle shop in the heart of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn located right off of busy Atlantic Avenue on cozy Bond Street. Inside the shop, you can find little treasures such as vintage inspired women’s clothing, accessories, little handpicked gifts and paper goods. I opened the doors this past September after dreaming of owning a shop since I was a little girl. When I quit my fashion job at the beginning of 2013, I made a promise to myself that I would follow my passion and open up a shop by the time I turned 25 which is exactly what I did!
SMP: What’s it like to run your own shop?
Running the store is hectic, magical and inspiring. Even seven months in, A Lovely Universe has evolved and has totally taken on it’s own little sweet life. Every day is different and anyone in retail will tell you that there are certainly ups and downs. But truly, each day I wake up and feel excited to get to the store to see what the day has in store. I never know who I will meet, what the neighborhood will be up to or what new designer I will come across that I just need to carry in the store. It’s safe to say I wear every single hat possible and make it my mission to see that everything runs smoothly on a daily basis.
SMP: Any tips for someone hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Understand marketing and PR very well. Be fluent in social media, have a subtle interest in psychology (seriously!) and have a passion for meeting new people. Work in retail and ask a ton of questions to those who own small businesses. Go to trade shows, understand trends and learn the industry language so you know what will be in store for you. Even if you aren’t necessarily ready to open your own brick & mortar location, start small and do what you can to make your goal a success. Be focused on what it is your brand will be and understand who your customer is. Be patient but pro-active, learn to multi-task like crazy and go for it
SMP: What’s your secret to success?
I’m not sure I have any secrets to success but a good rule to follow is to realize that there is no such thing as luck! Nine times out of ten, you have to go after whatever it is you want yourself. Don’t wait around for something perfect to just fall into your lap without any true work or planning. If you have an idea, research it and pursue it honestly and wholeheartedly… the success will eventually follow in one way or another. Also – embrace the mistakes. Just never make them twice!
SMP: One thing you’d tell someone who’s about to start their own business?
Do your homework and make sure that it’s something that you love and can handle thinking about/working on 24/7. Just like in any career, you have to be sure that your personality is a good fit for it. Not everyone can be everything! Starting your own business takes a lot of guts, patience and hard work. Make sure your ducks are all in a row (especially financially) and that you’re focused. But other than that – life is too short to worry too hard. If it’s in your heart, then pursue it!
SMP: What do you look for when sourcing items for your shop?
As I’ve grown to get to know my customer, I definitely buy according to what I feel they would fall in love with. Everything that comes into this store needs to not only make sense aesthetically and be consistent with A Lovely Universe’s overall feel, but it has to just make sense in general!
When shoppers come into my store, I hope that they feel it’s a nice little pretty escape from busy city life. Everything in the shop is not overwhelmingly trendy, can be worn from season to season, day to night and nothing is priced higher than $100. I love the idea that someone can stop in & pick up a pretty dress for a date night, a hand made birthday card for their best friend, a candle for their bedroom and a beautiful statement necklace, all without feeling guilty for spending too much on something they won’t use. I make sure that everything I source, especially clothing, can easily flow into someone’s sense of style, making them feel like an even better version of who they already are.
SMP: 5 things every style savvy woman should own
1. A classic brown leather bag, either in tote form or cross body
2. A great collection of comfortable & pretty dresses and blouses that can take you from day to night.
3. The perfect pair of jeans
4. Comfortable and classic leather booties
5. A red lip!