After graduating from Virginia Tech with degrees in communications and apparel product development and merchandising management, Danville native, Sarah Rodden realized the dream of owning her own business. “Lizzy Lou Boutique started as an online boutique I ran out of my home,” Rodden says. In the summer of 2014, she launched her website. Rodden continues, “Shortly after, I did trunk shows at different locations in town, and my local customer base grew.” Rodden opened Lizzy Lou Boutique on Main Street in September 2015. “People always ask me where the name Lizzy Lou comes from. My middle name is Elizabeth, and my great grandpa, who I was very close to, called me Lizzy. My mom’s middle name is Louise, so that’s where Lou comes from. And, the staple blue sofa in my store belonged to my grandpa. It’s quite the conversation piece.”
Lizzy Lou Boutique is a women’s apparel and accessories boutique that offers the latest styles at affordable prices. “My staff and I love to help our customers find the perfect outfit. We want them to have a fun experience while they are shopping at Lizzy Lou,” Rodden says. The boutique has unique pieces that cannot be found anywhere else in Danville.
Getting from A to B with Lizzy Lou wasn’t as easy as it seems on paper. After graduation, Rodden became frustrated with searching for a job. “I tried to come up with a way I could work for myself. I revisited a boutique business plan I wrote for a small business class. I researched the clothing industry and decided to start small with an online store and very little overhead,” she says. Rodden worked a full-time job and operated the online boutique from home at night and on weekends. Any free time that she had, Rodden dedicated to Lizzy Lou. She worked in Danville’s River District and knew that was “the only place” she could envision opening a store.
The desire to start her own business spearheaded her journey, but it’s success that motivates Rodden. Being successful affords her the opportunity to work every day doing what she loves. Another perk to opening the boutique is the positivity that surrounds Rodden. “The people I meet through the store makes this job so much fun. I have the most amazing employees and customers, and I’m blessed to have this opportunity. I cannot thank my family, friends, and community enough for supporting me. I am so glad I took a chance on opening my business in Danville,” she says.
Rodden sees the continuing evolution of downtown Danville as an exciting time to be a part of the River District. She hopes her business will continue to grow with the area.
She has sound advice for anyone looking to open a business. “Have a business plan and have it evaluated by a professional. I had The Launch Place review my plan and discuss goals and projections with me. That helped me tremendously when I made the decision to open the physical store. I think everyone should follow their dreams, but make smart decisions. There is a great deal of risk involved in opening a business. Also, make sure you are passionate about the business. Many hours go into owning a business, so you want to love what you are doing.”
Lizzy Lou Boutique is at 310 Main Street in Danville and online at lizzylouboutique.com.