On Trend, On Main Street, Online

Lisa Richter
LBL is a small dynamic clothing store for women in the Cedar Valley and beyond. Opened in 2009, it has a customer base of 3000+. LBL offers fashions from New York to LA at reasonable prices, defining our niche in Main Street retail. LBL style is current fashion with personal service.
LBL is an on trend contemporary women’s fashion boutique in Cedar Falls, providing new fashion, accessories, along with wigs and hair pieces for fashion styling, and for compassionate care of women dealing with hair loss issues, all at an affordable price. LBL occupies a unique niche because our price point embraces woman of all ages. LBL style arrives from small independent fashion houses all across the United States. Going to market several times per year in Chicago, Las Vegas, and LA keeps the fashion fresh and follows the latest trends. Fashion forward at an affordable price drives a growing Main Street business with a customer base of diverse women throughout the Cedar Valley, Iowa, and the tri-state area.
Founded in 2009, LBL, owned by me, Lisa Richter, the 2nd generation in the retail fashion business, with a family history of stylish fashion in Northeast Iowa for over 40 years. I learned the business working with my parents as they grew their retail clothing business, Saxony, from one to three locations. I left Iowa to work as a runway model in Europe and eventually returned to assist in the family stores. Commitment to family, customers, and good fashion are part of the guiding principles of my growing business. LBL has global perspective with a local service style.
A successful business begins with good product, knowledgeable well trained staff, and an understanding of the marketplace. Working in the fashion industry since I was a teenager, I learned about quality on all levels and learned the business from the ground up by serving in every capacity, from maintenance to store layout, from buying at market to re-stocking merchandise, and from modeling to one-on-one consultations, attention to detail, whether price, quality, or service, separates LBL from the competition. Very few young entrepreneurs can draw on 40 years in women’s fashion, I have been living a lifelong apprenticeship in the fashion industry.
I grew up in retail fashion, unpacking clothes, steaming merchandise, and finally selling on the retail floor. I left Iowa to model in Europe, based in Milan, where I was eventually a house model for Prada, and a runway model for Giorgio Armani among many. Fashion work beyond the design houses of Milan brought me back to the US as a Sales Rep for several wholesale companies. Returning to Iowa, I joined the family business, Saxony, when my mother was battling breast cancer and I needed to help with the stores.
Later, wanting to express my own voice and vision, I opened LBL and dedicated the business to providing exciting fashion to women of all ages at a reasonable price point; women need and want to look good, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to do it.
LBL has grown its business the old fashioned way, keeping costs under control and providing excellent customer service. Annual growth since opening in 2009 ranges from 7% to 25%. Our mailing list has over 3,000 customers, with over 35% of them from other areas of Iowa and beyond. We regularly ship to customers outside our Cedar Valley base as the result of our regular use of social media, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Facebook has proven valuable to us, and with over 10,000 likes, our presence there is growing.
Also, I love developing my staff into the next generation of fashion professionals. Although part-time, my staff are exposed to buying at national and regional markets, and attend product knowledge seminars. Investing time in my staff pays rich dividends to my customers and likewise to my business.
LBL will launch a new fully integrated retail website at the end of the 1st Quarter 2016. Demand for online sales is increasing steadily, and the e-commerce site is the next natural extension of LBL. The grant winnings will be used to bring a full time person to assist the management of the online store, LOVELBL.com. Running a successful business requires delegation, and this will aid that process. Cedar Falls/Waterloo has a metropolitan population of over 150,000 people and is a regional shopping destination for tens of thousands more who visit Cedar Falls on a regular basis. Tapping into that additional market beyond the regional borders is the goal of LOVELBL.com our new e-commerce website.

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