We stopped by Lady Bye KC today to welcome Abby Roen Flores back to the neighborhood. Abby owns and operates the new Lady Bye store at 6245 Brookside Plaza and its sister store COCO brookside in Waldo.
Two Stores, One Mission
In April 2017, a fire did extensive damage to her Coco store, forcing her to temporarily relocate. Abby said it's especially sweet to be back in Brookside. "Brookside is my home," she said. "It feels so good to be here. There's just something about Brookside that’s so special. It's such a close-knit group."
“I came up with the ideas for Lady Bye and Coco on the same day,” Abby said. “They were the only two names I came up with. One Sunday afternoon I was supposed I take a nap but I wasn’t tired. Mark, my husband, came home and I had made a mood board for a whole new store!”
Abby always wanted the two stores to be sisters. “I like the dichotomy between the two stores,” she said. “It’s like you get your First Friday outfit at Coco and your work clothes at Lady Bye.” Abby describes Coco as the Los Angeles sister and Lady Bye as the New York sister. Two different styles that are both fashion-forward.
Her mission with both stores is to provide fashion for all at affordable price points, stock sizes for all body types (size double extra small to double extra large), and excellent customer service, which she says is given. “I want a group of friends to walk in and everyone be able to buy something,” Abby said.
A Quick Turnaround
The Lady Bye store came together in just six weeks, which was a whirlwind of a timeline for owner Abby and her husband Mark.
“When the landlord said the space was open I realized I could make this a reality,” Abby said. “But then they told me that they already had someone serious about taking it. Once I realized that it could be gone, I knew I needed that space.” The Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Abby heard about new availability in the space. She toured the following Monday. Between Tuesday and Monday, she came up with the full assortment for the store.
“The second we had a signed letter of intent I ordered everything so that the second the contractors were done we were ready to move in.”
Abby said her husband Mark is a huge part of the process. “He counted this as the seventh storefront we’ve open in the last seven years. We’ve gotten it down to a science. He just takes care of anything I can’t. We each have our bits and pieces. There’s just such an amazing team behind the scenes that I appreciate.”
Back in Brookside
“Brookside is such a walkable neighborhood,” Abby Roen Abby said. “You see the same folks walking their dogs. You get to know people by their routines and habits and be a part of their lives. Someone may come in shopping for a friend's wedding, and the next time they come in they have pictures of them in the dress at the wedding. It’s neat to be a part of that.”
Abby is excited to be in Brookside for upcoming neighborhood events. “I’m really looking forward to being a part of that experience as a business—of being here for the St. Pat’s Parade and the Art Annual. Being on that side will be really neat.”
Abby is also hoping to host events in the store and build a community. “I really love to help women feel beautiful. If you feel really amazing about something it changes your entire day. I love being a part of that and helping people find that.”
Art History to Fashion Boutique
“Being still doesn’t resonate with me,” said Abby Roen Abby, owner of Lady Bye KC. “I need to be constantly moving forward. My husband is the same way so when I come to him with a new idea he’s like ‘what’s next?’”
Abby got her undergraduate degree in studio art and art history at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota. She and her husband Mark married and both worked at Target Corporate for a while. “I remember walking down the hall with a friend at Target HQ one day and she asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I remember saying 3 things: I want to get my masters, open my own store, and I can never remember the third, so I guess it wasn’t supposed to happen.”
Abby went on to get her Masters degree in Art history at KU, which brought her to the area. She studied the history of fashion and finds consumer behavior fascinating. “You construct your facade on what you wear,” Abby said. “It is this big thing in the world: dress the way you want to project yourself. When you dress for yourself and your confidence and what you’re looking for people also perceive you that way. It’s always a part of that interaction. So it’s especially fun for me when people who love fashion or are seeking a new style come into the store. It’s fun to help people find their style and something that helps them feel good and that compliments their wardrobe and lifestyle. My staff is good at that too.”
A Flexible Career
Lady Bye KC owner Abby Roen Abby said her favorite part of being a business owner is the flexibility.
“I have a lot of health limitations that limit what I can do professionally because I need a job that’s flexible around my good and bad days. A strict 8-5 job would not have suited me. For a while, I was very ill and I needed a flexible job.”
To be an entrepreneur you have to be a self-starter, Abby said. “My dad had his own business and he really modeled the “you work till it’s done” mindset. If the work isn’t done you keep going.”
Abby learned from her father the drive to balance work and taking care of herself and her family.
“It’s easy to let work become everything,” Abby said. “Thankfully the bad weeks aren’t as bad as they used to be. But 95% of what I do for the businesses I can do from my laptop in bed. Anything I can’t do there’s someone else that can do it. I like being my own boss I like being able to hold myself to my standard—which is really high.”
Shopping local is also very important to Abby, who works to make sure her store has affordable pricing and sizes for all. “Brookside embodies shopping local,” Abby said. “I’m excited to be a part of that community.”