Elyse Kierig Designs a Life in the Family Business
By Kimberly Boney
Fashion ForwardJuly 2015
By Kimberly Boney
Photos: Paula Shultz
For most people, finding their true calling is a lifelong process. It can take years of soul searching, trial and error, an inner struggle marked by waxing and waning levels of confidence, and quite often, a series of poor choices. And then, one day, the path appears – almost as if it had always been there - waiting for the right amount of wisdom and strength to reveal it. There are others whose purpose emerges early in life – those who recognize the power of embracing their innate abilities.
Meet Elyse Kierig. Having grown up as an active participant in the family business, the recent high school graduate has learned more in 18 years than many would in a lifetime about running a business, responsibility and building and nurturing relationships. Elyse was only 2 years old when her mom, Amber, and dad, Jeremy, launched a small boutique called For Elyse in Chico. As Elyse grew, so did the business. In 2008, the Kierig family launched a second location of For Elyse in Redding.
“Elyse was literally raised in this business,” her mom says. “She used to run back and forth to pick up inventory, tag items and do anything else she was able to do before she was old enough to be on the sales floor. She got a good feel for merchandising during that time. When she was little, she used to attend trade shows with me. I remember all of the vendors asking her to try on the shoes because her feet were so small and she could fit into the sample sizes.”
For the last two years, Elyse has worked on the sales floor at For Elyse, nurturing her innate talent of working with customers, touching their hearts with her genuineness and making them smile along the way.
“Off the bat, I don’t tell people that I am Elyse. I don’t want to be treated differently from the other employees at the store. I am honored to know that when I see people out and about wearing clothing from our store, they look great. And when you look good, you feel good,” says Elyse.
Happiness radiates from within as Elyse welcomes each customer with a kindness that simply can’t be taught. She humbly admits that her circumstances have been different. Her outgoing personality—which she says is her contribution to For Elyse—has been nurtured all along. “I get it from my dad,” she says, a smile lacing every word.
“My whole life, my parents would take me along as they traveled and it gave me a whole new perspective.”
“She loves her job and has always had great rapport with the customers, even as a little girl. We really put a lot of effort into training, merchandising and style trending with our employees. Elyse has been attending those meetings since she was 4 years old,” says Amber.
The team meetings have taught employees to be far more than traditional sales associates. They create beautiful color-themed displays and apply techniques that are akin to those of fashion stylists in their daily interactions. “If a customer selects an item, we can conceptualize an entire outfit based upon it,” says Elyse.
According to Elyse, time management is the most important lesson she has learned along the way. “It’s hard to balance work, school, family and a social life, but I’ve been able to find a way. My mom is one of the most inspiring people I know. If you knew what she did every day – and that she still makes time for her family—you’d be amazed. Through everything, she puts me first.”
Through and through, For Elyse is a family business. “My dad does a lot of the behind-the-scenes things. My grandma works here in the office,” says Elyse. It can be a balancing act between being an employee and the boss’s daughter, but Elyse wouldn’t have it any other way: “I love working with my mom.”
Elyse insists her greatest challenge is the age difference between herself and the other employees. “I have to prove to myself and the others that I can handle the level of responsibility I am given here at the store. I’m not just here because I’m the owner’s daughter, but because I work hard. I don’t want anything handed to me.”
Having seen her mom build a business and watching it grow right along with her, Elyse has developed a strong work ethic. She has every intention of carrying on the family business. “The idea is to open one more store with my mom and carry on what she started,” she says.
Last year, Elyse and her mom took a trip to Europe, where Elyse worked with the design consultants that help bring Amber’s concepts to fruition. She attended her first fashion show as an adult in Paris and visited London, style watching all the way there and back. In February, Elyse went on her first official buying trip to Las Vegas.
“My dad is pushing me to start designing clothing, but what I really love is getting to know the customers,” says Elyse. She can’t pinpoint her most memorable experience: “It’s the relationships I’ve built. I remember every customer and their story.”
For Elyse: 228 Broadway Street, Chico • (530) 893-0106
1712 California Street, Redding • (530) 246-4900
Find For Elyse on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest