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Serendipity led Franklin to success at Ellie James

Women’s clothing store is one of the hottest places to shop in Oxford

That Lacey Franklin is the owner of the retail shop Ellie James in Oxford took a little bit of serendipity.

Franklin, 25 and a 2007 journalism graduate from the University of Mississippi, took a part-time job at the Ellie James boutique on the Oxford Square in August as the real estate market slowed.

“I just got into real estate at the wrong time,” she said. “It was so slow, and I missed working in retail.”

Franklin worked part-time at The Lily Pad in Oxford while obtaining her real estate license. Owning a boutique was always a dream of hers but wasn’t an immediate goal.

Yet, she quickly learned that the current owner was looking to sell.

By November, they’d reached an agreement, and by January, Franklin was the owner of the clothing and accessory boutique at 1005 Van Buren.

“It was really like fate,” she said. “At 24, I never imagined I’d have my own shop. I was just at the right place at the right time.”

Franklin’s Ellie James carries many of the same brands the previous owner did, and Franklin has added a few new lines like Rock Revival Jeans to the clothing and accessories sold in the store.

She said she tries to cater to a clientele ranging from high school teenagers to ladies in their 40s and 50s.

“The ladies in their 40s and 50s may not buy a dress here, but I have cardigans or scarves that they may like. We have a little bit of everything,” she said.

Accessories like jewelry, handbags and perfumes are also included in her inventory, and Franklin plans to carry lingerie, as well.

“I have every day pieces and going out dresses,” she said. “I try to buy something for everyone’s body shape.”

Another change the new owner made was the addition of vintage furniture, antiques and knickknacks from Three Chicks that gives the shop a lived-in, Anthroplogie appeal.

Franklin said the transition to ownership has been smooth because the previous owner showed her the ropes by taking her to market.

“I’ve been so lucky,” she said. “It’s been a little scary that I’m the owner of something, but I love being around people, and I love clothes.”

Easing the transition as well is the location of the store. Franklin said the Oxford Square is a great place for business.

“On the Square, we get so much foot traffic. I have customers who just come in to talk on their lunch break. I’m from Dallas, and that would never happen in the city,” she said. “Oxford has so much charm.”

Franklin said she is learning the tastes of her customers and is befriending other store owners, but says she still has a lot to learn.

Part of the learning process includes keeping the store well stocked so that repeat customers find something new when they return, and she plans to host a fashion show at the store for a modeling company in March.

Franklin said despite the learning curve, she also just feels lucky to be doing what she loves.

“This is proof if you want something bad enough it will happen – especially when you least expect it,” she said. “This wasn’t anything I was looking for. It just happened.”

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