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Successful Lipstick boutique readies its second location

JOHN SEELMEYER

When Isha Ferris opened a gift shop in Reno a couple of years ago, she decided to sell a few items of clothing on the side.

The clothing sold out within a week, and Ferris quickly reoriented the business now known as Lipstick Fashion Boutique.

As she opens her second location Pout by Lipstick in south Reno, Ferris might be excused for wondering if any similar surprises await her.

If nothing else, the new store’s location in Magnolia Commons, a new center at Double R Boulevard and Prototype Drive in South Meadows, is distinctly different from the funky old home that houses the first location at 333 S.

Arlington.

“My style here is more arty and fun,” Ferris says as she sits in the office of her downtown store.”There, it will be more sleek.”

But will south-Reno shoppers buy different fashions than their sisters who shop downtown? Will the new store’s location across from the sprawling International Game Technology plant affect its sales trends? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, Ferris is controlling what she can.

She’s put a lot of effort, for instance, into hiring a staff of four doubling her company’s employment that can replicate the atmosphere of the downtown store.

“People have to feel as if they’re remembered and taken care of,” she says.”We try to entertain people.

This should be fun.”

Ferris is paying close attention, too, to marketing.

She wants consumers to recognize the South Meadows location as a new store, and she doesn’t want them to believe the downtown location closed.

The basic strategy,meanwhile, remains the same in both stores.

Although Lipstick is unabashedly about fashionable clothing and accessories, Ferris positions the store to attract a wide range of consumers.

It’s not all about expensive clothing in tiny sizes.

“My goal is to have moms and daughters in here shopping together,” Ferris says.

Price points range from $10 to $350.At any price point, however, the store doesn’t chase after volume sales.

For most merchandise, Ferris orders only three to six individual pieces.

She trusts her instincts about what Reno consumers will buy over the hard sale of manufacturers representatives at apparel shows.

And the opening of a new store is likely to mean that Ferris, who already works deep into the night after her 5-year-old son goes to bed, will work all the harder.

Although she doesn’t have a college degree, she worked her way into management positions at The Principal Financial Group before setting her sights on retail success two years ago.

Her pace these days is frenetic.

The store hosts a designer trunk show once a month and a full-blown fashion show at a Reno nightclub every 90 days.

Ferris created Reno’s Next Top Model Search.

She provides in-home fashion consulting.

And she’s a single mom.

“When I’m working, I’m working hard,” she says.”When I have my son, I’m a very dedicated mom.”

On the other hand, the long hours don’t feel so long for a small business owner who used to spend weekend evenings pulling items from her closet to make sure all her friends looked perfect for a night on the town.

“I love to get dressed up.

I love to put on makeup,” she says.”Everything I love in life is right here.”

And Ferris doesn’t have any doubt that Pout by Lipstick will succeed, to be followed perhaps by a third store maybe more in a few years.

“I have a lot of confidence in myself that I will do what it takes,” she

says.”I would love to be the next Macy’s.”