By Stephen Haberkorn for DeKalb County Online
Elizabeth “Lizzy” Oparyk, Owner of Lizzy’s Pink Boutique in Downtown Sycamore, IL, attributes her store’s success to finding out what her customers want.
“Just really listening to the customer is what we do,” said Oparyk. “And that’s what’s always been my success in any sales position I’ve had.
That sounds simple enough, but Oparyk’s long and unlikely road to becoming a Sycamore boutique owner would make an interesting script for a women’s empowerment movie.
Oparyk grew up in Chicago, but was living in McHenry when she drove her daughter out to Northern Illinois University for an open house. She ended up getting lost in Downtown Sycamore and instantly fell in love with the town.
“I went home and told my husband, ‘We’re going to move there,’ remembers Oparyk. “He said, ‘If you can sell our house, I’ll entertain the idea.'”
Within a week, they had their house up for sale, and a week after that it sold. Now with no home, they moved to DeKalb County and rented while they had a new home built in Sycamore.
During the home building process they had a lot of issues, along with many others who were building in that new community in Sycamore. Finally fed up, Oparyk stormed into the builder’s office one day to complain. The man who was there asked her what they should do differently in order to please people.
“First of all, you’d get someone like me in here who would care about your customers,” she replied. And after that conversation, she was offered a job on the spot. She worked as a new home sales manager from 2005 until 2011 in the subdivision where she lived. “Each sale not only generated happy homeowners, but also new neighbors and lifelong friends,” Oparyk wrote in the job description on her Linkedin page.
That fairy tale existence lasted a 1/2 dozen or so years, however, as she and her husband ended up divorcing, leaving her as a single mom with four kids during the housing market crash of 2008. Then the builder she was working for sold to another builder, who let her go a few years later. “I was like, ‘Ok, now what do I do?'” said Oparyk.
She had already been selling a major cosmetic brand part-time for about 15 years out of her home and knew that she enjoyed helping women feel better about themselves. After continuing to do that for a while, she met a woman on a trip to Puerto Rico who had a boutique in Downstate Illinois. When she came back, she told her new husband that she wanted to step up her game a little bit and offer women’s clothing. She started purchasing clothes from some of the same vendors as her new Downstate friend. Most of them sold online out of Los Angeles.
She began with one rack of clothing, selling to the women coming in for her cosmetics business. “By the end of the week, I was purchasing my second rack,” said Oparyk. “And by the end of that month, I had four racks of clothing that had four bars each on them.”
Oparyk started attending StyleMax in Chicago and large shows in order to meet different vendors. Word of her clothing boutique in the master bedroom office of their home spread quickly, and soon they were busting at the seams.
After operating her clothing business out of her home for twenty months, Oparyk applied for her business license to open a home boutique in April of 2016. The in store and online store was up and running by May and they had their Grand Opening in June.
Opportunistically, Lizzy’s Pink Boutique used a booth at Ladies Night Out in Downtown Sycamore to officially launch the store. Ladies Night was on a Thursday and their Grand Opening was on Friday and Saturday. “I reached a ton of people and it just took off,” Oparyk said.
Oparyk said that they always try to provide their customers with one-on-one assistance and pride themselves on giving women who come into their boutique a unique experience.
“Women love it. They love our clothing. They love the quality,” Oparyk said. “I bring my staff to StyleMax, so you’re getting not just what I like; you’re also getting what they like. So we’re getting a variety in our store, which also helps cater to a wider demographic.”
Customers who shop at Lizzy’s can expect to find items that they’re not going to see at other boutiques. Oparyk normally buys only one of each size and when they’re gone, they’re gone. “A lot of women say, ‘I like that, because I don’t see myself coming and going down the street,'” said Oparyk.
In addition, Lizzy and her staff are honest with their customers and try to find the outfits that look best on them. “By doing that, we make them feel good from the inside out,” Oparyk said.
The merchandise at Lizzy’s boutique ranges from super soft leggings for $10-12 and tops starting at $16, up to their premier labels that go for $60 or more. “So we really have a price point for everybody. We cater to all budgets,” said Oparyk.
They carry both clothing and accessories at the boutique, including a limited supply of shoes—maybe 5-6 styles per season. They also carry brand name jewelry, such as Rachel Marie Designs, which is handmade in Milford, Michigan. “That’s very popular here,” said Oparyk. Lizzy’s has done two trunk shows, including one for the Vintage Shop Hop.
In addition, the shop offers Bryan Anthonys Jewelry, which has little sayings on it and is extremely popular, according to Oparyk. The next-closest boutique that sells Bryan Anthonys is in Morris, IL, and Oparyk said they get a lot of orders for it from all over the country.
The Sycamore boutique does have a strong online presence and believe strongly in using Facebook and Instagram to promote their business; however, Oparyk plans to scale back their online sales by no longer displaying everything in their store on their website. She said that is because they want to get people in the door to touch, feel and see the products, and so they can give them the full customer service experience before they make their purchases.
“That’s kind of why I got in business. I love to shop. It makes me happy. What girl doesn’t?” said Oparyk. “I like to feel. I like to touch. I love to try on things to see how they look. Sometimes you need to step outside your comfort zone and try things on to see what looks good on you.”
To those who say that brick and mortar stores are going away, Oparyk points out that women’s boutiques are popping up all over the place, because women want that service and experience they can only get in person.
As far as their location at 303 W. State Street, Oparyk could not be happier. “I love being on Main Street here,” she said. “It was always a dream of mine, since I got lost in Downtown Sycamore. We’re literally right at the corner of Somonauk and the main drag. It doesn’t get any better than that—just being a part of the community. Everyone knows we’re here.”
Oparyk is enjoying making a living helping women to look their best and echoes a popular cliché. “I love coming to work every day.,” said the boutique owner. “I don’t even feel like I’m working. There’s nothing better than helping women feel better about themselves, and what better way to do it than with clothing.”
Lizzy’s Pink Boutique is 100% woman-owned, with Oparyk as the sole proprietor—although she certainly appreciates that her husband has been extremely supportive of her business.
Upcoming events planned for the shop include live sales on Facebook, private parties, and “Yoga and Flow.” They will also be doing more vendor events. She encourages anyone who has a home business to contact her about showcasing their products to her customers.
This summer, they are also hoping to team up with FunMe Events to do a Divas Shopping Tour of Chicago.
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