Starting your own business is no easy task, especially in the fashion world, where competition is fiercer than an episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. So how does a young boutique owner stay on top of their game in a dog-eat-dog industry? We sat down with Michelle Akers, Owner/Buyer of the New York based online boutique Liveinfashion.com to find out.
Launched in December 2009, Liveinfashion.com, caterers to “the woman who is daring to be different.” The online store successfully sells out unique fashionable pieces, reflecting Akers’ eye for quality, and innate ability to sense what women covet when it comes to style.
Where are you from?
Wow…I was born in Houston, Texas then moved to Brooklyn, NY for a little while, then to Jamaica, Queens. Now, I live in Elmont, Long Island.
What inspired you to start you online boutique?
I remember coming home one night and just saying to my mom that I wanted to start an online store. I’m a very daring person, so when I dress people would always ask where I got certain pieces from. I decided that I wanted to be the source of “getting.”
How did you decide on the name?
It came down to either “love in fashion” or “live in fashion.” The slogan “Do you live in fashion?” just stuck and that’s how I chose the name.
Is this your full-time career?
Liveinfashion.com is my full-time job but I do have another position within the fashion world that requires my full-time attention. It’s hard trying to find the balance but what gets me through is that I love what I do. It gives me energy to go on.
What do you look for when selecting items to sell on the website?
Anything that you do not see every day! It’s so satisfying when you own something that maybe only 3-4 people may have in the world, like a hidden treasure. I look for affordable, workable pieces. I want you to be able to go through your closet or jewelry box years from now and still know why you purchased your pieces.
What kind of woman is your typical customer?
My typical customer is a woman who is ready to step out her box and wow the crowd. She has been reserved for a while and is now ready to make a statement. That is my customer.
What kind of item(s) is always a best seller?
My dresses always sell out! But one item especially that I cannot keep in stock is the spandex jeans. They fit like a glove! I have sold so many pairs I can’t even keep a count!
What do you think is the key to your success?
The fact that I am loyal to my vision is the key to my success. I don’t need every single label in my closet, nor do I have to go broke trying to keep up. You have to be comfortable and own what you are selling. If you don’t, no one will believe in your brand. I’m learning to trust my instincts more. I find that when I do those are the pieces that sell out!
What has been you most rewarding moment, thus far?
It has to be when I see people wearing the pieces from the store. I never get tired of it. The ladies do it their own way and it’s always interesting to see how they put things together.
What sets you apart from other online boutiques?
I don’t have pages and pages of merchandise. Each season I put together a collection of what I feel are the most popular wants, and that’s the way I buy the collection. I buy small quantities so that you truly feel that you have something special.
What are your plans for the future?
I definitely want my own storefront. I think that will complete my vision but for now liveinfashion.com keeps me pretty busy.
Do you have any advice for women who are thinking about starting their own business in fashion?
You have to be dedicated and know that in fashion its 95% hard work and 5% fun. It may look easy, but it is very tedious. If it’s what you want, don’t give up and you will see results.
Are there any special promotions going on right now that you would like to highlight?
I am working on a “Thankyou” promo right now. To show my appreciation to my ladies use promo code “THANKYOU” at check out to recieve 20% off from 3/9-3/17.
Visit Liveinfashion.com to see more from the current collection.