Business As Unusual: Lilac and Lilies Boutique
The founder of Lilac and Lilies Boutique discusses the impact of the coronavirus on the Fort Lauderdale fashion hotspot—and its new business model—in the latest installment of this ongoing series
Lifestyle continues asking businesspeople all over South Florida about the impact COVID-19 has had on their businesses—and what the future holds. Today, we check in Michelle DiMarco, founder of Lilac and Lilies Boutique
Business Backstory: For nearly 10 years, Michelle DiMarco has offered lifestyle resort wear, jewelry, denim, swimwear and athletic leisure wear at Lilac and Lilies Boutique in Fort Lauderdale. DiMarco, who studied at The Fashion Institute of Technology, curates trends from up-and-coming and favorite designers from Los Angeles and New York for women looking for contemporary styles at an affordable price. She recently opened the Lilac and Lilies Loft, a warehouse and special event venue.
The impact: “We had to furlough and lay off employees. As the owner, that left me working at the store full-time, leaving me with a lot of new responsibilities. COVID-19 made me realize that we needed to broaden our customer base, so I focused on improving our e-commerce site. The goal here was to broaden our exposure to a national audience. One of the ways that we did this was to continue our presence on social media, working with bloggers. The bloggers did an amazing job of trying on our clothes in their homes and sharing it on social media. The new web exposure opened a new door for Lilac and Lilies Boutique.”
Shifting platforms: “A lot of things happened at once. I had to give notice if I was going to renew my five-year lease at the same time that COVID-19 hit. I decided to move out of the space and dedicate my business to our web store. [In addition], I am excited to launch The Lilac and Lilies Loft, which will be a South Florida showroom for locals and visitors to book [in-person and virtual] personal styling appointments, virtual shopping sessions and attend events. I’m very excited about launching this new space.”
COVID-19 insights: “I think you have to listen to the universe in a way, and it helped me learn my priorities. It really made me think about my personal goals since I solely focused on my professional goals for so long. I never knew that I wanted to start a family, but suddenly it was something that I knew I needed to do, so that became my priority. When something as serious as a global pandemic happens, focusing on family is super important.”