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Social shopping

By JEN HUNHOLZ
Photos by Matt Haas

March 2015

When 26-year-old Lizzi Weasler opened her brick and mortar store in the Historic Third Ward, she wanted it to be much more than an ordinary retail shop. "I really want it to be a social shopping experience," says the West Bend native. She offers each customer a cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate or apple cider upon entering, a simple yet thoughtful gesture that immediately puts shoppers at ease.

The store itself, named Lizzibeth, LLC, is bright and airy ó a far cry from its industrial-inspired neighbors, and its plush seating encourages guests to sit down and stay awhile. Sparkly baubles and statement jewelry are displayed throughout the shop, and staple wardrobe pieces (think cozy knits and shift dresses) line the racks. True to her Midwestern roots, Weasler is committed to bringing stylish yet affordable new brands to Milwaukee. "I try to keep quality and affordability hand in hand," she explains. "Most clothes are under $100, but still provide the quality youíd expect." The majority of the jewelry items are priced under $40.

But Lizzibeth, LLC is much more than a retail shop. The space is technically a live-work unit, so it also includes a fully equipped kitchen and a spacious bathroom. Weasler allows clients to rent out the entire space for social functions, including bridal and baby showers, bachelorette parties and book clubs. Each event doubles as a shopping party, where attendees can browse and purchase the storeís merchandise. Weasler is present at every event.

Like many young entrepreneurs, her story is one of persistence and drive. Weasler graduated from Marquette University with a degree in civil engineering but soon realized that computer-driven office life just wasnít for her. Her creative interests took her to New York City, where she balanced three fashion-related jobs, but she was left uninspired. She relocated to Chicago four months later and took a job in finance and risk management. "It was still me furthering other peopleís goals and working for someone elseís aspirations, which I didnít really like," says Weasler. She began creating a business plan, and in February 2013, Lizzibeth, LLC was born.

Weasler spent the next year and a half building a following and client base, juggling an e-commerce shop (shoplizzibeth.com), in-home shopping parties, and personal styling and shopping services. Then, on Oct. 19 of last year, she opened her namesake store at 550 E. Menomonee St. "Itís been a dream having an actual location," laughs Weasler, who adds that lugging merchandise between in-home parties and pop-up shops was anything but glamorous.

And despite the companyís clear signs of growth, Lizzibeth, LLC is still a one-woman-run business, employing the occasional intern or two. Weasler handles all aspects of the business, from marketing and finance to buying and event management, but for her, the rewards always outweigh the challenges. "Seeing something you built yourself actually succeed and watching other people enjoy it as much as you do is just incredible," she says.

To learn more or to contact Weasler, visit shoplizzibeth.com.

 

 

 


This story ran in the March 2015 issue of: