MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) - The newest fashion boutique in Murfreesboro is inspired by a love of fashion and family.
A family owned and operated business, Jewell Fashion Obsession is named after owner Lacey Lichtenwalter's grandfather, Jewell Hoskins.
He "always sparkled when he saw his only granddaughter," she said.
Lichtenwalter hopes her customers' eyes will also gleam when they see her offerings.
"We offer unique, fashion-forward trends with value for women in the Nashville area," Lichtenwalter said. "In a world full of 'stuff,' we try to distinguish ourselves by providing quality items that are affordable and dynamic."
The store caters to all fashion-conscious women from teens to retirement, Lichtenwalter said, adding the store carries shoes, handbags and jewelry in addition to apparel.
"I have worked corporate retail for years," Lichtenwalter said, adding she had never worked on a smaller scale until she opened the Mt. Juliet shop in the fall.
Lichtenwalter's résumé includes stints with Limited, New York & Company, Catherines and Charlotte Russe in posts from store sales leader to district sales manager. She said she was responsible for 15 stores in five states in her last job.
She hopes she can parlay that experience into a successful independent business.
"I have seen the inside of numerous retail stores over the years and have a great understanding of what works, what sells and what women want," she said.
Lichtenwalter chose a good market in which to test her skills.
Retail fashion is a $225 billion industry in the U.S. with more than half of its sales in women's clothing.
According to IBISWorldwide, clothing boutiques took quite a hit in the recession, but with employment and disposable income up, the industry is poised to surge over the next few years.
Murfreesboro has seen recent expansion in boutique clothing stores with the addition of Klothes, Jewelry, More to the Square and now Jewell Fashion Obsession at the Stones River Mall.
Located next to A'GACI in the open-air promenade, Jewell Fashion Obsession offers a variety of on-trend women's apparel, handmade accessories, footwear, handbags and much more.
Jewell prides itself on providing local shoppers with West Coast fashion straight from Los Angeles. In fact that's what sets it apart from other boutiques, said Lichtenwalter, who owns the boutique with her husband, Grant.
"All of the stuff we carry is out of LA," Lichtenwalter said.
She explained most of the other boutiques get their fashions from Atlanta. "But we go to LA to buy straight out of the fashion district."
Lichtenwalter said her forays to the West Coast mean she has more variety to choose from.
"The fashion district is the size of downtown Nashville," she said.
The Murfreesboro store is Lichtenwalter's second. She opened her first in the fall at 1400 N. Mt. Juliet Road in Mt. Juliet.
Lichtenwalter has one customer who comes in every Friday night when her husband and sons go to Sam's Sports Bar.
"She comes into the store and shops around," Lichtenwalter said. "She gets to sit down while they watch a ballgame."
Lichtenwalter said she has designed both stores to be a comfortable place for customers to shop, with chocolate and wine served and comfortable chairs to relax in.
"We want them to stop in and make friends," she said.
Information from: The Daily News Journal, http://www.dnj.com