“I don’t think I’ve worn heels since I moved to Austin… except to a wedding.”
This cheerful admission from New York transplant, Lucy Jolis, owner of Sunroom boutique on South Lamar, is perfectly befitting her kicked-back approach towards style for herself and her customer.
“I’m obsessed with fashion, and my goal is to have things that people haven’t seen before.”
– Lucy Jolis
Describing her approach to fashion as relaxed and easy, her ripped boyfriend jeans and basic tee combo on the day of our interview are the stuff of classic Americana, while her stacked rings, layered bracelets and artfully disheveled scarf reveal a seriously layered approach to her simplicity. It’s with this consciousness that Jolis curates her shop. The gallery-esque showroom, which just celebrated its first birthday in May, is a streamlined display of labels gathered from the owner’s countless hours of scouring the blogosphere from California to Copenhagen.
“I could spend all day, every day scouting,” says Jolis. “I subscribe to a million blogs – international are the best for really obscure finds. I’m obsessed with fashion, and my goal is to have the things that people haven’t seen before.”
From shift dresses conceived by French model-turned-designer Margaux Lonnberg and comfy Chambray pants made in Portugal to swimwear from Orange County-based Mikoh, Sunroom is a merchandise melting pot of brands from across the globe. Jolis says it helps that she’s her own customer: “I usually order one of everything for me. I stock the stuff that I want.” In addition to an offering of jewelry, scarves, sunglasses and some choice home décor items, often with a beach-chic vibe due in part to Jolis’s time spent living and working in Laguna Beach and Montauk, local labels Esby and M.E. Shirley have also found a happy home among the mix of far-away brands. “So far the local designers I carry have come to me, which has been fun.”
Jolis once operated an Etsy shop selling her vintage finds, sparking her fever for retail, but the section of vintage clothing that helped launch Sunroom is now a thing of the past, as her growing customer base has proven to be more intrigued by her ability to locate the new and the now. And with a future goal of designing a small line for Sunroom, it seems the sky is the limit for this savvy entrepreneur. Even if she’s planning to get there wearing flats.
“The Sunroom girl is a conscious consumer. She cares about where and how things are made.”
– Lucy Jolis
How has social media had an effect on your business?
Lucy Jolis: I’m not a natural social media person.I’m not a natural over-sharer, so posting doesn’t really come natural to me, but the impact is so obvious. Sometimes people call immediately and order. And a lot of people ask me to save an item and you never hear from them again. But posting doesn’t always translate to sales. A post can get a lot of likes because it has good lighting alone, or it could be on a model that looks amazing. It’s not necessarily because of the product you’re showing. I really try to put up what’s new, though, because things come and go so quickly.
How did you select your South Lamar location?
L: The spot fell into my lap. Catherine from Headdress posted on Facebook about a small space next door to her. A month later I was open for business. This was the only space I looked at, but I didn’t even realize how much being on a main street was important for business. Being on South Lamar, something like 400,000 cars pass in front of my window every single day. It’s incredible. All I cared about was having parking. It was a perfect sized space, the price was right and it had great light. I knew I could work with anything else. The realization of the importance of visibility to the street came later. Had this been one block over or one block behind, business wouldn’t be the same.
Where did the name Sunroom come from?
L: I walked in and saw the space and it came to me immediately. I liked the fact that it wasn’t a witty or obscure name with lots of back-story and hidden meaning. The space is literally a sun room. It was simple, in a not-trying-too-hard way, and was easy to remember.
Who is the “Sunroom” customer?
L: The Sunroom girl is a conscious consumer. She cares about where and how things are made. She prefers classic silhouettes over form fitted pieces and natural fibers over synthetics. She is stylish but not trendy.
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