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Meet Debra Van Dyke of Frilly Lilly in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Debra Van Dyke.

Debra, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
We opened the doors in 2005. At the very start, there were just a few of us; Claudia, Lisa, Jeremy, and myself. We were just a tiny little boutique. We made all our products in very small batches and we put the labels on and tied all the bows ourselves. We only had one or two estheticians working on a daily basis. It takes a lot of time and effort to start a boutique and launch a product line from scratch and things start very slowly.

I loved what we were doing so much but when we first opened the doors, I wondered if people would love us too.

It took me at least three years of planning to fully develop the idea of Frilly Lilly. I would create vision boards, read design books, go to antique shops, work with chemists, and anything else that was needed for me to feel proud of what I was creating. Some small details have changed over the years but I always wanted to create a beauty boutique that would specialize in waxing, manicures, and pedicures. I wanted to have our own signature bath and body care products too. This way I knew I’d love every product we created and that they would be just as lovely and functional as I wanted.

It was the help from my children, Lisa and Jeremy, and my friends, Claudia and Carly, that allowed our first boutique to grow and flourish from the tiny little boutique it once was. I’m grateful they are all still a part of the Frilly Lilly team and still help keep us great.

Shortly after we opened, I was in Las Vegas for a business trip. I don’t know what encouraged me to do so but I decided I wanted to show our products to a few businesses. I think I was just hoping I’d get some feedback from someone after I put so much effort into creating the line. The first place I visited was the Palms Hotel. They decided to place an order on the spot. I had to call Jeremy to write up a price sheet that day. We had never planned on selling our products to other businesses so we were completely unprepared for it. From there, the next two places I visited were the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas and then Fred Segal in Los Angeles. They both placed orders. None of us expected to have other stores carry Frilly Lilly. We were all so shocked and excited. It was very validating to feel that stores known for being trendsetters seemed interested in what we were doing.

Within a few years, our first boutique was doing well and we had other spas and stores carrying Frilly Lilly products. After that, I became comfortable with the idea of opening more boutiques. I loved the idea of being able to encourage and mentor women to open a business of their own. I wanted to be able to give women the tools they needed and empower them to be successful.

After we took care of the extensive paperwork and planning, we slowly started expanding and opening more locations. We now have 14 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

There are times when I still find it so unbelievable that we have more than our one boutique. I’m so proud of each boutique and the amazing team we’ve built. It’s hard for me to believe that it wasn’t that long ago that there was just a handful of us at one boutique doing the best we could to grow.

Has it been a smooth road?
I don’t think any entrepreneur can truly say their journey has been a smooth road, and where’s the fun in that anyway? Some of my biggest struggles were at the very beginning when I had to be an esthetician, manager, accountant, marketer, and about a hundred other jobs all at once. Looking back on those days where I had to do everything at once makes me so grateful for the team I have now.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Frilly Lilly – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Our whimsical and feminine boutiques specialize in waxing and provide our signature bath and body care products as well as a full range of jewelry and accessories. We only use the highest quality products, maintain the strictest health standards, and make sure our team is expertly trained.

Frilly Lilly’s growth has helped me fulfill my passion for empowering women to succeed in business. Almost all our new boutiques have been opened by women that started out as team members at other Frilly Lilly boutiques. I’ve been so proud to see them grow and succeed as entrepreneurs.

Health & Safety
We take our client’s safety extremely seriously. We meet and, in many cases, exceed health and safety requirements to ensure you feel comfortable about choosing Frilly Lilly.

Waxing:
We don’t double dip!
We use single-use bedding for every client and disinfect the waxing table after each use for extra safety.
We use hospital-grade disinfectants on our tools and instruments between every client.

Environment
We have taken actions at our boutiques, head office, and with our products to ensure we reduce our environmental impact as much as possible. By working with Bullfrog Power, our boutiques and head office are powered completely by wind, low-impact hydro, and solar power. In doing so, nearly 40 tons of CO2 emissions have been spared from our atmosphere in the last year alone. That means whether you’re pampering yourself with one of our lovely products or enjoying one of our services, you can breathe a bit easier.

While shipping our products to customers and boutiques, over 90% of packing and shipping materials we use are recovered and reused from other companies that would otherwise discard them. The environmental impacts of most of those shipments are offset using carbon credits.

Lastly, we are happy to say our products have never been tested on animals!

If you had to start over, what would you have done differently
Financial literacy is so important for entrepreneurs. I would have loved to have a solid financial education to make business decisions more confidently and knowledgeably.

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