Following Your Fashion Dream – “Fear isn’t going to get you anywhere” – Lorie Lester

Mar 16, 2011 1 Comment

Flirty, romantic fabrics mixed with bold prints. Lorie Lester’s collections are anomalies that work. The designer’s colorful summer collection is eye catching. Electric blue and coral. Tops that flow, dresses that cling in all the right places, and maxi’s that billow at the bottom. Lester’s resort collection is particularly edgy, featuring a bold glasses print fabric used on a fitted blazer and re-purposed again to create a stunning dress. It’s an eclectic collection, but one that makes sense.

lorie-lesterLocated in the Miami Design District, the boutique is structured into three segments. Lester’s collections are showcased at the front of the store. Behind that is a is the cutting room, which is also open to customers. There, a client can handcraft a custom design, mixing and matching silhouettes with fabric patterns to create their ideal garment. The third and final segment of the boutique is the where all the work is done: the sewing room.

Lester’s boutique is a far cry from her collection’s humble beginnings. After studying fashion design and graduating from the Art Institute, Lester began interning in Miami. At one of her internships she met a freelance pattern maker who loved Lester. “We just turned my house into this little factory,” Lester says, “I bought two sewing machines and a cutting table, and that’s where I started the line.”

Once the line was created, Lester brought her collection to different stores around town, hoping they would pick up the line. She got a good response, and moved from her home office to a small studio on the beach where she wholesaled her product.


In 2009, Lester experimented with a pop up store in downtown. Her clothes were met with overwhelming response, and so in October of 2010, Lester decided to move her business from her beach studio to a downtown boutique. With the new setup, Lester was able to continue wholesaling her product, but the new storefront allowed her to put her business on the map locally.

Lester admits familial support has been one of the biggest contributing factors to the success of her company. Not only did her collection first find life within the confines of her parents’ home, but Lester’s parents also backed her company financially. Because of the large overhead in fashion design, Lester had to supplement that backing by taking out a small business loan.

lorie-lesterAnd, her mom is one of her biggest motivators, reminding Lester that if it was easy, everyone would do it.

“There’s never a right time for anything,” she says, “you just have to jump in if you want to do it, and just don’t give up.”

Another great contributor to the success of her collection was the decision to sign with PR company Tara Ink.

Because of the cost of PR, it wasn’t an option for Lester until she decided to move her company to a storefront. “It’s almost like a second rent,” Lester says, “But now that we were kind of growing and we had the store opening, we were like, let’s take a chance.” Luckily for Lester, this expense was worth the investment.

Because of Tara Ink’s Los Angeles showroom, Lester’s designs have made their way onto the bodies of celebrities.

Lester’s biggest advice to budding entrepreneurs?

Surround yourself with positive people. “Don’t bring the negative energy around you,” Lester says, “walk away.”

And, she quotes her supportive mother one last time. “Fear isn’t going to get you anywhere.”

Written by: Mary Ronau


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