Milwaukee got a little cuter four years ago when Lizzi Weasler officially launched her eponymous fashion boutique, Lizzibeth. After over a year spent building a local following through pop-up shops, in-home parties and e-commerce sales, Weasler’s brick-and-mortar shop opened in the Third Ward (550 E. Menomonee St.) in 2014 with a built-in fan base.
Weasler didn’t begin her career path in the fashion industry. After studying civil engineering at Marquette University and subsequent disillusionment with corporate life, Weasler began to explore other opportunities.
“I knew [engineering] wasn’t the right path for me, sitting behind a desk and not interacting with people as much as I would have liked,” Weasler said. “At that point I started to interview people who had different jobs — more social jobs.”
Her search eventually led her to New York City. There, she worked at various jobs in the fashion industry, beginning with an internship at Teen Vogue. The spark had ignited — but it didn’t spread. Weasler wasn’t a fan of the New York fashion scene, and she “kind of missed the whole spreadsheet and numbers thing,” so she moved again, this time to Chicago for a job in finance and risk management.
It was there that Weasler finally determined the cause of her discontent: “I needed to be working for myself,” she said. “That’s when I started to develop the business plan for Lizzibeth.”
With guidance from a Chicago-based boutique owner, Weasler developed her business plan and a five-year financial projection plan, intentionally choosing to delay opening a brick-and-mortar shop until she had built a dedicated following.
And the rest is history.
This weekend, Lizzibeth celebrates its 4th anniversary in style, with a fashion show at Whiskey Bar. But Weasler is not resting on her laurels. Her business acumen comes out when she talks about the current retail climate and how she plans to address changing consumer behaviors in her ever-evolving business plan.
“The current business plan is completely different from what it was four and a half years ago, but you just have to jump in and evolve with the changes,” Weasler said.
For instance: local loyalty is on the rise. Weasler is doubling down on featuring new, locally-made brands in her shop. Another change in Weasler’s plan is to adapt her business to the rapidly expanding delivery industry.
“We’re trying to work with local couriers and start figuring out how we can get on the fast track to offering delivery service to our customers,” Weasler said. “It’ll be just like ordering through a food delivery service. You order online, and the products will be delivered within the next hour or two,” Weasler explained.
The idea of being able to solve those “I have nothing to wear tonight” crises without leaving the comfort of your couch is certainly an exciting prospect for Milwaukee women. Between her thriving online shop, Third Ward boutique, personal shopping, wedding styling and private shopping parties, Lizzi Weasler knows a thing or two about how to cater to the modern shopper.
Lizzibeth’s 4th Annual Birthday Party Fashion Show will be held at Whiskey Bar Milwaukee (788 N. Jackson St.) on Saturday, April 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. But don’t expect to see any Ford models strutting down the runway. All of the models are local businesswomen.
Ticket sales and proceeds will be donated to the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST). The charity is close to home for Weasler, whose 3-year-old niece suffers from Angelman Syndrome, a neuro-genetic disorder that affects the nervous system and causes developmental disabilities.
Fashion show tickets include a swag bag, appetizers, pastries, drink specials, raffle opportunities and more. Tickets are $15, but will go up to $17 on the day of the event. Online ticket sales end at 10 p.m. on Friday, April 28.