The first time hearing Michelle Smith-LeDrew refer to the women who shop at her local fashion boutique as “clients,” I was a bit caught off guard. After learning about Michelle’s experience, passions, and day-to-day approach to operating her shop, it became clear why the term more commonly used by the provider of a service is most natural.
Prior to opening Glam’s Warsaw location in 2014, Michelle had launched a successful personal styling business in the D.C. area where she consulted with women to help them find their style and feel beautiful! That role hasn’t changed as a boutique owner. It’s as if both of her shops (a second location was opened in Granger July 2020) are now her offices to work out of, house her curated collection of items, and meet women to serve through her passion for styling. It’s a passion driven by Michelles love for experiencing that moment when a women begins to glow as they realize their beauty, brought out by an outfit she helped put together.
The plan was to be part of a lot more of those moments by opening up Glam’s Toscana Park location this past summer, but the pandemic has made growth difficult. In addition to less in-person shopping going on overall, Glam’s selection has always been great for those looking for what to wear to their next event. Less of those has meant decreased demand for related local products and services. Like many area businesses, Michelle and her team are doing what they can to adapt to the times. In their physical and online store you’ll see a larger selection of cozy around-the-house clothing items for those spending much of their day cooped up, who sill want to feel glamorous. Where Glam-hosted live events were the original plan to interact with clients and the community - Facebook Lives, Instagram, and even TikTok have filled the void.
One such event was their cancelled 2020 Fashion Gala and Fundraiser to honor the lives of Michelle’s dad and brother who tragically died in a 2015 plane crash. The event brings the community together in the same way Charles and Scott had throughout their lives and raises money for the Smith Strong Scholarship - a fund that supports college-bound seniors at Tippecanoe Valley High School, where Michele’s dad, Charles, was a head football coach and had a major impact on the community. The Gala is one way Michelle is carrying on their legacy of giving back to the community, in addition to being involved in and donating to various local organizations.
Beyond a resource for fashion, the Granger community has gained a business backed by individuals dedicated to local involvement and support. It’s those kinds of impacts, outside of a business's direct line of work, that we don’t always think of when threats of closure due to COVID come into play.
Opening her Toscana Park location during a pandemic was not in Michelle’s original business plan. The challenges that have come along (and unknowns) have left Glam Granger’s future up in the air, just as it has with many businesses. What’s certain is that Michelle will do all that she can to adapt, while remaining optimistic and continuing to do what she loves.
I shared the below post with Michelle the other day because I thought she’d like it. We’re hoping that history repeats itself, and if that’s going to be the case, you’ll want to stock up on outfits now! :)
You can check out Glam's online shop here and follow them on social media for inspiration and entertainment! They recently went viral on TikTok 😂👇