LOCAL- Tell us about yourself and your families small business ties?
My name is Victoria (Tori) Barrett Cingolani and my mom is Marcie Lynn Cingolani; that’s where we get the name Lynn & Barrett. We are a team of, what we like to call, mother-daughter boss babes. We are from a small town in Ohio, less than an hour away from Pittsburgh, where our flagship store resides. I (Tori) currently live in the Greentree area and love every minute of it. My mom and I became business partners during the middle of 2016 and we haven’t looked back since. My parents also own multiple, successful, businesses of their own in my home state of Ohio; a plumbing company and an oil-change station. You can definitely say that I have grown up respecting any and all small businesses because of this, and operating a small business is basically in my veins!
LOCAL- When and what was it that started you on this journey?
I (Tori) was working multiple jobs after graduating college in 2015, just trying to make ends meet after moving into a southside apartment with my then, longtime boyfriend. My parents called all of my jobs, my “circus jobs”.. food truck, magazine, swim school, and clothing boutique; they weren’t wrong! Both of my parents could see how enamored I was every time I talked about working at the clothing boutique. I absolutely LOVED it. That’s when my dad had the idea of my mom and I becoming business partners and opening our own clothing boutique. I did not go to college for anything that had to do with fashion, and neither did my mom. However, she knew how to run a successful business and I was very into fashion and style like any other girl in their mid-20’s. It was a huge lightbulb moment, and definitely a no-brainer. Four months later the doors of our first store were being opened to our customers!
LOCAL- What challenges have you found operating two locations?
My mom and I both love each location for their own separate reasons. I love going down to my hometown, flagship store and seeing familiar faces. And my mom loves coming up to our Crafton location because it is fresh and new and we love meeting all the new people who walk through our door. So the biggest challenge for us is being together at one location or the other, it rarely happens now. We have an amazing manager at our flagship store but my mom oversees that location, while operating other businesses that her and my dad own, while I operate the Crafton location. We love every minute of being in our stores, but it’s challenging working at 100% while being in different locations. But I think we’re doing a pretty great job, and get better at it every day!
LOCAL- With many shoppers looking to online stores like Amazon to buy goods traditionally sold in brick and mortar stores how do you separate yourself and capture market share?
My mom and I love to online shop like the rest of ’em! But, I feel it’s a little different with clothing. People like to try on things to know if it fits just right. They also like to feel the material and know what kind of clothing they’re buying before placing an order. I love having my website as a tool that our customers can check out what we have before they come into the store. I have so many moms who come in with screenshots from their daughters, looking to buy a top or sweater her daughter just has to have! I think that’s so cool! On our social media, where I interact with the majority of our customers, I try to capture the essence of our awesome in-store atmosphere, in hopes that our followers will want to come in and check us out – you can’t get that on Amazon!
LOCAL- How would you describe your store, who is your ideal client?
Our store definitely gives off a boho chic vibe when you step inside. We love pretty things with a little bit of an antique style, decor wise. As far as our clothes go, we love casual wear that you can sport a million different ways. We are also super into staple pieces and statement pieces. We want our customers to be able to come in and find a little bit of everything when they shop with us. Our ideal client is someone who is looking to add amazing pieces to their wardrobe. We cater to women of all ages, we love seeing people rock our pieces all over social media and out in the real world!
LOCAL- Without giving away your master plan, what are your growth plans for 2018 and beyond…
We love to live in the moment, but a business cannot grow unless you are looking forward. At this point in our business, in a couple words, our growth plan would have to be, “old school marketing”. We are still taking each day at a time, but we are hoping to keep growing when the time is right!