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Katie here from the Girl Crush team! I’m so frickin’ excited to share with you my dear friend Stephanie Chan, a woman who has inspired me from the moment we met. She’s full of spunk and interesting ideas, and she always has on the chicest outfits. A little over a year ago, Stephanie opened a women’s boutique in Park Slope, Brooklyn called Lykke (pronounced loo-kuh)—which, like, WHAT A FEAT. Her shop focuses on independent designers, and she’s also done some amazing collabs with local artists and vintage shoppers.
She has forged her own path to her own definition of success, and I’m so proud of all she’s accomplished. I asked Steph a few questions about her journey, so if you’re interested in fashion, starting a small business, or badass womxn doing badass things, read on. (And if you’re cool with being tempted by gorgeous clothes, follow Lykke on the ‘gram.)
Can you tell us about your journey to starting Lykke?
I studied nutrition in undergrad but, on a whim, decided to study abroad in Copenhagen. While I was there, I became interested in design. It's everywhere from mass produced goods like IKEA and H&M to brands like Georg Jensen, Samsøe & Samsøe, and Marimekko. After college, I moved to Shanghai to work for a designer and developed a passion for locally made goods/independent designers. Eventually, I moved back to NYC to work as a buying assistant for a design startup called Fab.com. I learned as much as I could in those years and when I came upon my current space, opened Lykke.
What was the inspiration behind the name Lykke and the types of fashion you source?
I toyed with several names but ultimately landed on Lykke. It's the Danish word for happiness and seemed fitting. The shop's my happy place, where I get to connect independent designers that I'm passionate about with customers who are eager to move away from fast fashion and support smaller brands.
What made you feel ready to launch your own business?
I never felt ready. The week I signed my lease was the most stressed out I've felt in a long time. Ultimately, it came down to having my finances together, finding the right retail space, and knowing I had learned as much as I could.
What has been the biggest challenge in running your shop?
At the moment, the biggest challenge is figuring out the balance between your personal life and work life because there is no boundary. The business depends largely on how hard I work, so figuring out when to let go is tough.
What’s the most unexpected situation you found yourself in in the process?
Putting up drywall. When I was building out the store, we found a back wall that was falling apart/covered in plywood. We decided to remove it and found crumbling dry wall. After talking to several contractors, the consensus was that I should attempt to fix it on my own. Otherwise, it would be too expensive. A friend of mine (shoutout to Lyman!) was kind enough to drive with me to Home Depot, purchase drywall, and fix up the wall. (Protip: Lowe's How To videos can teach you anything.)
Was there a moment when you felt accepted as part of the Park Slope community?
The Park Slope community has been so kind to me from the start. From popping in during my build out with supportive words, to shopping at the store when I first opened. There was never an exact moment but at some point, my customers started bringing their babies to the shop to meet me, newly adopted dogs for their treats, etc. Many of those customers have now become good friends.
What would you tell another young woman looking to start her own biz?
Just do it. You'll never feel ready and there will never be a right time. But think things through, learn as much as you can, and keep your overhead as low as possible. And keep trying. Eventually something will stick.