Primary Pick: Blush in the Elmwood Village

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Blush boutique opened on the Elmwood strip on July 26, 2013 and belongs to Lexie Furlong and mother-in-law Vicky Schaffstall. After living in New York City for a while, Furlong decided it was time to move back home and start her own business. Blush has been extremely involved with Buffalo and Elmwood Village events including the Boutique Show during Buffalo Fashion Week, Shoptober: a shopping event held to support breast cancer, and the Mass Appeal fashion show. I caught up with Lexie to see how the store has progressed since its opening.
How has having a social media presence had an effect on your business?
LF: Honestly it’s been the biggest part of bringing people into the store. Everyone who comes in here I always ask them how they’ve heard about us or what brings them in. I want to say about 85 to 90 percent say through Instagram or Facebook is how they found me. It’s so huge, especially being a brand new business owner. Nobody knows about me, I’m not spending any money in marketing so it’s free marketing. It’s controlling my business pretty much and bringing people in.

Do you think community involvement is important when you’re your located in a community like Elmwood Village? 
LFL One hundred percent, because it gets your name out there, it makes people know who you are and also (is) related to your business. I actually just got asked to be a member of the Elmwood Village Association so I’ll be taking that on(,) too. If you’re involved in your community… people will know about you. I think it’s huge.

Describe your experience with the Mass Appeal fashion show. How did you go about planning what you wanted to do and what did you think about the experience overall?
LF: I think of Mass Appeal as a performance. I wanted to create something enjoyable, something different than your typical show. In my store, we play girly movies all day long so I wanted to do a spinoff of that. So I took three of my favorite movies –  “The Devil Wears Prada,”“Breakfast at Tiffany’s, ” and “Clueless” – with inspiration from fashions I had in the store to create the looks, and that’s how I created my show. I think it got a really good response and people enjoyed watching the movie behind as the models were coming out and playing the character. I think it was great and again it got exposure as a new business : working with other businesses and meeting more business owners backstage,  and working with new models and hair and makeup. It was a good event.

Do you think running your own business has posed any challenges? 
LF: Every business owner will say there are challenges. A lot of the challenges are when it’s January, February , and March and it’s minus 2 degrees out and there’s snow and it’s after Christmas and people are not spending as much. That’s probably as of right now the biggest challenge: getting people into your store. But you need to use your tools like Facebook and Instagram. You need to create events within your store to bring people in. So I still do my Blush parties and think of new ideas. So for March, from the 11th to the 16th, you bring in your gently worn business clothing and we’re going to donate it to Dress for Success, but we’re going to give you $10 just for coming in. Creating things like that, [interaction] with people to try and get them in. You can’t just wait. When I do have a challenge, I don’t just sit in my woe. I try to figure out how to bring in business and plan for the future months. Other than that, my biggest challenges were before my business and now being in business I’m doing really well.

What was one of your best-selling items during the holidays?
LF: I had two best-selling items. The Moonglow, which is a Canada-based item. It’s a picture of the moon and it’s a charm on a necklace. There’s 18 phases to a moon, so every moment has one. So you pick your birthday, your anniversary and basically we have a book that goes back to that actual day and what the moon would look like. It’s $35 so it was a good price range; you get the charm and the necklace. Those sold like crazy. It’s personalized. It’s a good price. I probably sold 60 or 70 of those.  Again, for being a brand new business, people not knowing the product, that’s something you have to talk to people about, promote. They don’t know it exists. And it glows in the dark, that’s the key. So those did really well,and my ear warmers. The sparkle ear warmers by Jovan Jane, because it’s winter, they’re $35, but they’re not your basic ear warmer. It has the sparkly gem for the girly girl. So those I sold like crazy, too.

What advice do you have for someone that comes in that wants to buy a gift?
LF: A lot of the times, I try to do something that’s personalized. That’s why the Moonglows were so great because they could just look up the birthday. Or I mention getting a gift certificate so they can come in and buy what they wanted. I always ask customers questions about the person that they’re shopping for and then I can usually pick out things that I think that they would like. Whether it’s a certain designer or if they like purses, but then again they can always exchange it for something else.

What designers and new pieces are you getting in for spring?
LF: Vanessa Mooney. Her grandfather was one of the original Warner Brothers. She’s a designer, that’s why she’s famous. I’m bringing in her jewelry collection and it’s very bohemian chic but very classic style pieces. And everything is under $100; it’s not that expensive. I’m getting a new shipment of the Quay sunglasses, which are the Australian designer sunglasses, which did amazing for us. There’s some really good new styles and they’ve been seen on a lot of celebrities. Lots of dresses, I feel like dresses I sell really well. A lot of girls come in here looking for dresses; lots of corals and mints and pastel colors.

In this awful winter weather, how can you transition your winter wardrobe into spring because it’s so cold? 
LF: A lot of it comes back to the way you buy. We know what the weather is like here so when I buy things, I buy things that you can still wear when it’s not nice out. Things that you can wear with tights, things you can wear with our without a cardigan or a sweater. With buying, you have to make sure that it’s multi-season. That’s what’s key. A lot of the things I buy, like blouses, you can wear with your denim, your skirts, over your swimsuit top. Very four-season friendly because you have to. When I go to buy, they’ll show the spring collection and I think, “This won’t work in Buffalo.” You just can’t wear it. If we were in Miami or somewhere it would be different. The things that good too is a lot of people are going on vacation so any sort of really springy summer things they’re buying it for vacation but then they’ll be able to wear it in the summer.

Contact Blush boutique
Instagram: blushbuffalo 
Twitter: Lexi@BlushBuffalo 
Facebook: Blush Buffalo

-XO, L.



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