Starting your own business can be a ‘very scary proposition’

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Owner Anthony and Lisa Fortner inside their store Unique Fashions in Lansing, MI.

Driving down Willow Street in Lansing, Mich. on a sunny afternoon, a passer-by notices there were 10 mannequins standing in front of a what it seems to be a clothing store. The mannequins were all dressed up from men’s to women’s clothing that were easily catching to the eye.

Unique Fashions is on W. Willow St. in the Capitol Plaza in Lansing, MI.

Walking in, the visitor notices a woman sitting in a chair and a man in another. The store was called Unique Fashions; it was very small but it had so many clothes and items it was overwhelming.

The store was divided in half with one side for women the other for men. There were denim pants, jumpsuits, dresses for cocktails, dresses for lounging, shirts, matching sets, purses, wallets, necklaces, and glasses. Anthony Fortner, the store’s 52-year-old owner talked about what inspired him to invest in a clothing business.

“I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. Where everything was so stylish and flashy,” said Fortner. “I’ve always been a stylish guy myself, I always had to keep up with the latest trends.”

Anthony Fortner said he always wanted to open his own business; he just didn’t know when it would be the right time to actually invest into an actual clothing business. Fortner and his wife Lisa Fortner decided last fall that it was time to look into owning their own store.

“Starting a new business can be a very scary proposition, especially knowing that it can or cannot be successful,” said Lisa Fortner. “We decided to invest in a clothing store rather than other businesses because with clothes you can always keep up with the different trends and clothes never seem to get outdated.”

Unique Fashions has been opened for almost 5 months now. The Fortners invested just about all of their savings into the store to see it flourish. They started off with just clothing and a few accessories like purses and belts. But as time went by they began to add more merchandise.

Owner Anthony and Lisa Fortner inside their store Unique Fashions in Lansing, MI.

“We listen to our customers,” said Anthony Fortner. “Quite a few times we have our regulars and they give suggestions on what they would like to see in the store, and from there I and my wife discuss whether we think if it’s a smart business move or not.”

Over the past 5 months, Unique Fashions has grown tremendously from accessories to clothing. They have added shoes, glasses, wallets, jewelry, bags and backpacks for men, even a few undergarments. The Fortners have made back the initial amount they invested in the store already and are excited for what is in store for the rest of the year.

“Since business has been going well so far and people are still discovering we are here, we are now expanding to next door for more space,” said Lisa Fortner. “I’m glad to say our initial investments paid off.”

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