Beach Babe Boutique, owner
Beach Babe Boutique traces its origins to Christin Lilly wanting to solve a problem. “It all started with me just wearing frumpy clothes all the time,” she says. Lilly couldn’t find clothes that fit right, and she wanted to feel good about what she wore.
She took matters into her own hands, searching for and finding clothing that made her happy. People around her noticed, and soon she was shopping for others, like a personal shopper.
From there, she started a mobile boutique, offering her growing clientele the chance to shop her selections at pop-up events. “Being a mobile boutique was hard,” Lilly says. “I look back now, and I’m really glad I took those bumps and bruises when I did.” But the physical labor of moving a boutique around town took a toll.
Lilly heard about a great opportunity for a storefront in Sarasota and jumped on it. The store gave her the chance to expand her business and also made members of her family happy. “My husband was getting tired of our house looking like a shopping mall,” she says. “I moved into the space, and it has blossomed from there.”
In August, Lilly’s Beach Babe Boutique moved from the Gulf Gate area to a storefront in Siesta Key Village. During the move and pandemic, Lilly says local customers helped carry her through.
To stock her store, Lilly focuses on her goal: to make every woman feel gorgeous. “I don’t buy clothing that I feel isn’t going to fit the average woman,” she says. “My buying motive is, ‘What’s going to make my customer look and feel good?’”
She drives traffic through a Facebook page and VIP group. For her VIPs, she gets more personal, trying on clothes and telling them what she likes. She also posts polls and questionnaires to determine what people are looking for. “That’s a big part for me — being a listener and hearing what they say,” Lilly says. “If I do listen and find what they’re looking for, they see it, they buy it, they wear it, and they love it. In a way, I’m still a personal shopper, just on a bigger scale.”
Business has been good, and Lilly has plans for a second location. “As crazy as it sounds in the online marketplace era, I’m still finding that women love to come in and touch and feel and see,” she says. “There’s still a draw to see it in person and try it on. I have found a real passion and joy with that.”
City of Residence
Owner at Beach Babe Boutique
Years on the Gulf Coast
Five, two-and-a-half in Sarasota
Married almost 19 years with three girls and three dogs
Marshall University, B.A. in Spanish; Mountain State, B.S. in health sciences
What community group or organization are you most involved with?
I try to split time/efforts between a few local.
What's the weirdest job you've ever had?
A ski technician
What's your top tip for being productive?
Get up early, grab those morning moments, and get things done, so the rest of the day, as chaos ensues, you are ahead of the game.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be?
I love acting. I do some on the side but would love to do more.
What's your favorite off-hours activity?
Any water related — swimming, boating, beaching, etc.
What's your favorite board game, game show or video game?
I love Masterpiece (an old relic of a board game).
What’s your go-to delivery service? (DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub, Bite Squad, etc.)
Uber Eats with shared delivery
What do you use most — Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google Meetings?
What’s the best binge-worthy show you have enjoyed during the pandemic?
"Tiger King" on Netflix
What’s the longest virtual meeting you’ve been on since mid-March?
How many times had you used video for a work meeting prior to the pandemic?
I utilize Facebook Live to share new products, so quite a bit but definitely more now.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic?
Adaptability is so important. Being able to switch gears and utilize diversified methods is critical.
What do you miss most about the world pre-pandemic?
Smiles. I miss nonmasked faces.
What have you been spending more time doing during the pandemic?
Snuggling with my schnauzers, hanging out with the kiddos and ordering take out
Do you prefer working from home or working from an office?
My office is my storefront, so I love going there. It gets me in the work mode.
How have you kept up camaraderie with colleagues during the pandemic?
Laughter and Zoom meetings where we can utilize our facial expressions in safety. Using social media to keep up to date with everyone and just do little check-ins on everyone.
What’s the first thing you’ll do after the pandemic?
Burn my masks — ha! But seriously, I will try to find a way to reuse or repurpose them. I will not miss those!