Business: ellelauri

Location: 264 21st St., Avalon

Owner: Liz Rymar, 31, of Sea Isle City and New York City

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Employees: Owner operated, with sister's help

Phone: 609-961-3658

The ellelauri store began as a clothing line started by my sister, Laura Rymar Serro, of Philadelphia, and me about five years ago in New York City. We designed it together and we manufacture all of the clothing in the garment district in New York, so all of our products are made in the U.S.

We focus, probably 65 percent, on women's dresses but we also carry skirts, blouses, tops, pants and shorts. But we're really known as a dress line. So for the past five years, we've been selling our clothes through other boutiques, and we're carried in 65 stores coast to coast.

This store, ellelauri in Avalon, is our first retail location. Since Laura and I started the line together, my style has been more feminine, more sophisticated. I like girly things and a lot of our dresses reflect that. My sister is more trendy, an edgier style, and we kind of balance each other out with our designs.

Kim Kardashian wore one of our silk-printed skirts and that put our sales through the roof. A lot of people still come in and request that skirt. A couple publications, such as People StyleWatch and US Weekly, ran the picture and gave us credit, so that was exciting.

Jessica Alba wore one of our skirts as well. The store is a little bit different. It's probably 90 percent our designs and brand name, but we're also carrying accessories such as flip-flops, jewelry, shoes and bathing suit cover-ups. We've also brought in a couple of other lines, Paige Denim and Wildfox, to have more variety.

Memorial Day was our first weekend. As of now our plan is to be open until late September.

Entry: I always wanted to work in fashion. I graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in fashion merchandising. I went straight to New York and got a job with a swimwear designer. I took classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology after work.

I started putting my business plan and my line together, and got it going while I was working. A year later, I started focusing on it full time.

The future: We're looking to open a year-round store in Philadelphia, and operate the Avalon store in the summer.

Business editor Kevin Post


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