Ask The Boss: Lorry Eible

Photography by Alex Stafford By Molly McCartney November 30, 2012

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Lorry Eible - "I moved here to soak up the sun." (Alex Stafford)

Lorry Eible

Owner, Foxy Lady

Lorry Eible’s grandfather operated a hairdressing salon on Fifth Avenue in New York for half a century, and Eible says her grandfather perfected a bleach that helped his client, actress Jean Harlow, and others achieve their famous platinum looks. Eible operated her own hair salon in Chester, N.J., before moving to Sarasota in the early 1970s. She opened her first Foxy Lady clothing store in a small Cape Cod house on Siesta Key in 1972. In the 40 years since, she has opened three more Foxy Lady locations that together employ 40 people and earn annual revenues of more than $3 million.

Explain the name. It came from the Jimi Hendrix song that was popular when I opened the store in 1972.

How did you start? I moved here to soak up the sun and enjoy a life of leisure until I found out it doesn’t work that way. I was a single mom, with two boys aged 4 and 8. For them to go to the right schools and on to college, I had to come up with a successful business.

Your stores today? In 1982, 10 years after opening the first Siesta Key store, my better half, John Walter, and I built a new Foxy Lady at 209 Beach Road and moved the business there. Two years later, in 1984, we bought a gas station on St. Armands Circle, renovated and expanded it. That became Foxy Lady West. We then opened a Foxy Lady outlet/boutique at 5900 S. Tamiami Trail. We are starting a fourth store, our second on St. Armands, at 14 S. Boulevard of Presidents.

Aren’t your stores competing with each other? Not at all. That would be like saying the upstairs at a department store is competing with its downstairs.

Who is your typical customer? A lady between 40 and 65, who is anywhere from size 2 to size 18. But we have a lot of lines for kids going to proms and cotillions. We also do a lot of clothes for mother of the bride, mother of the groom. All of the stores have shoes and accessories.

The price range? Anywhere from $50 to $1,500.

Your primary responsibility? Going to eight to 10 shows a year in New York, California, Atlanta, Miami. You are buying bottoms, tops, dresses, and trying to coordinate colors and keep some kind of consistency so there is a nice flow in the stores.

Have you made any fashion mistakes? Every day. They are on the sales rack. A mistake is something that didn’t fly off the rack and two months later you are still looking at it.

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