Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Boutique started by 17-year-old to open in March

Amber Lawrence has a lot on her plate, with high school, homework, and a new 1,100-square-foot organic boutique in SouthEnd to manage.

The Myers Park High School senior's shop, the Duchess Boutique, has a grand opening set for Sunday, March 25. With her mother's help, Lawrence has rented the shop on Camden Road and stocked the business with with a range of organic cosmetics.

"Starting off, I wouldn't have all the time in the world to just sit and create, because I'm in high school," said Amber, who presented her mother with a business plan to convince her to be the initial investor. "I have to fill the store...I'm making sure the books are right, the products are right, everything we could possible need is right."

Amber, a Chicago native, said she gets her entrepreneurial drive from her mother. "She wanted to provide for me and my brother," said Amber. "I got it from those late nights and 18-hour workdays and seeing someone who has such ambition."

Tamara Lawrence, Amber's mom, said she started selling cosmetic products in high school herself, then started a real estate company after she finished school. Now, she runs a company that provides concierge and personal assistant services to businesses.

"I've always encouraged them to live beyond the expected," Lawrence said of her children. "If you clip their wings, they'll be at home forever."

She said she was impressed by how much research Amber did, such as calling the distributor for each product she plans to carry and making sure she was an expert for customers. "I just thought this would be an opportunity. It would be great for her to position herself as an entrepreneur," Lawrence said.

Amber said her days typically start at 5 a.m., when she wakes up to get ready for school. After school, she reviews her homework and walks to the boutique at about 3 p.m. She stays at the shop until about 6:30 p.m., which will be it's closing time. She's also set aside a small nook to do homework at the shop. When she's not there, a full-time worker will be running the boutique.

On the weekends, Amber said she'll be teaching classes such as how to make scented candles, in addition to working at the store.

"It's kind of hectic," she said of her schedule.

"She knows how to manager her schedule," said Tamara Lawrence. "That's something every business owner needs."

Now, Amber is focusing on getting the shop ready for its grand opening and preparing for any contingencies. "Once that grand opening comes and those clients are coming in the door, the unexpected will come," she said.

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Anonymous said...

Interesting. Sad, but interesting. I hope she decides to go on to college.

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