Mother, wife, and company owner. In the heart of Philly, Lauren Lerner, the founder of Lauren's Fab Finds, does it all.
Entrepreneurial spirits have always swam in Lauren's veins. She constantly created "yard sales in the front of my house, selling stuff I didn't want anymore to make money to buy newer things I did want." The yard sales could only be fulfilling for so long. Once Lauren grew up, she knew that she could successfully run her own business.
Of course, she had to weigh out the positives and negatives of becoming her own boss. When it comes to her day to day, motherhood is first. However, Lauren discovered a way to balance both her home life and work life.
"A huge part of who I am today is, of course, being a mother to my three very busy, dynamic boys and running this business," Lauren explains. "Along with staying on top of current trends in both style and the consignment business."
Described as a juggling act between her boys and company, Lauren found tricks to make it all work. "I also pride myself in my new marriage and of course being with family and friends outside my nuclear." Lauren jokes, "And a glass of wine at the end of the day never hurts."
Lauren did not always feel that she wanted her own company. She knew she had the skills, spirit, and passion to create a business, but her consignment company actually happened organically. Lauren considered herself a hustler ever since her yard sales. When college came around, Lauren didn't feel fully satisfied by her first job. Her solution?
"I had a successful and very busy side business selling replica bags, jewelry and multiple accessories."
Once Lauren became a mother, she decided to take the risk out of her side business and create something to help support her family. Knowing that yard sales had been so successful, she reverted back to the basics. "As a new Mom, I passed my side business to a friend and focused solely on selling my own things as well as a few other peoples on eBay to keep up with what I started."
Creating Lauren's Fab Finds (LFF) was a trial and error experience. "I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning when my business started getting busy. I found some good support and some not so good support to help me learn how to run a business while it was growing."
Lauren organically created LFF on the grounds of finding a solution to a problem that many had in the late 90s. The problem? Not being able to resell for the price something was worth. "In the late 90’s, there weren’t a ton of options besides brick and mortar consignment places or places like jewelers row."
The solution? Lauren was able to sell her own stuff and eventually other people’s things. Through eBay, Lauren was able to solve this very problem of the lack of online consignment. "When I come to think of it," Lauren explains, "LFF was a business created to solve a problem and I was not the only one having it (clearly) hence how the business ultimately succeed."
With any new business, worries can arise and self-doubt may sink in. However, Lauren was able to push these feelings away as she noticed that LFF was a company she relied on. She needed LFF to succeed for financial purposes.
Roughly four years ago, Lauren began reading more about women empowering women and learning how to add "girl boss" to her inspiration. If Lauren ever felt the self-doubt or stress settle back in, there was one thought that would be at the forefront of Lauren's mind.
"I also thought back to my core, as a little girl selling outside, my pre-kid life of working full time and running a really successful side business. I knew then, I could do it all: kids, life and business."
It's no surprise that the company Lauren wanted to create was fashion based. From a young age, she loved fashion and one she got into the consignment business, fashion was seen through a different lens. LFF has "helped build my confidence and taught me to never give up, do what you love and work hard. You learn a lot about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, when you are in charge of yourself."
And now, almost twenty years after the start of her company, Lauren’s Fab Finds has become one of the premier ecommerce consignment businesses, selling on multiple websites with an international customer base.
Ever since Lauren can remember, she has been making a profit as a business owner. Lauren's first sale was actually her mother's David Yurman bracelet. After realizing that people were not willing to give Lauren the money the jewelry was worth, Lauren was disappointed. Through venting to co-workers at her first company with PWC on the side, Lauren discovered eBay. "I listed my mother's items and got the money they deserved, close to retail in fact, I was hooked!"
Who wouldn't be? Lauren describes what was going through her mind. "It was such an amazing feeling that I could sell her things, make money for something I needed and the buyer still got a great deal. I am obsessed with a win/win/win scenario."
Lauren has been in the business for so long, creating memories and stories to share with those around her. Some stories are helpful and learning points while others just make you laugh. One particular one took place when she put up leotards for sale. Someone from the midwest ended up buying a bunch of them and sent Lauren a portfolio. It was the buyer, a man, wearing the leotards. Lauren and her staff were wildly surprised that it was a man who wanted the clothes as they had assumed the buyer was a woman. However, it is important to point out how great the man looked in his outfits that he sent over. "It was a funny story that kept us laughing for a about a year!"
LFF is a word of mouth brand with some social media sprinkled in here and there. "We really love word of mouth because it keeps the business more personal and we love to add that personal touch."
Through word of mouth, Lauren was able to have a pretty cool experience.
"A few years ago, I was asked to do a segment on both World News Tonight and Good Morning America, generally talking about reselling your stuff online as an online expert. Being on TV definitely helped with credibility and people knowing they were in good hands with us."
Lauren explains how people have established trust based on experience in the consignment field. "I am grateful I have it, there is a ton of competition out there doing exactly what we do."
Through LFF, Lauren has changed greatly as a person. Passiveness is no longer a quality Lauren possesses and although she is a people pleaser, she has to also constantly think about herself as a business owner. Yet, nobody is perfect. Lauren knows that she is "still a work in progress, but it is progression in the right direction largely in part of owning this business."
When it comes to reselling, Lauren is sometimes shocked at what people will give up. However, she keeps these thoughts to herself and sticks to her own mantra.
"As a product of having this business, I do not keep anything (classic or not) in my closet that isn't in use and loved. If it is sitting there without getting used, you can consider it gone."
As a successful businesswoman, Lauren has learned a lot. Her closing advice?
"Stay positive, have confidence in yourself, know your limits, be realistic, and know that cultivation takes time. It takes time to grow a business and grow as a person, success is not overnight."
As you fall down, get back up. When you stumble, lean on those who can help. If you struggle and make mistakes, learn from it.
"Always forge ahead."
To learn more about Lauren's Fab Finds, click here.
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