“It was nerve-wracking at first, taking that leap,” says business owner Elizabeth Berg. When she first started Marquette Boutique, Berg wasn’t sure the business would take hold. “I was like, ‘I’m going to do this my senior year [in college], and if it doesn’t work out, at least I can put it on my resume.’”
Medina’s Berg launched the online clothing boutique (with occasional pop-up shops) in 2019 while completing her degree in retail merchandising at the University of Minnesota. With a sophomore year internship in public relations under her belt, Berg discovered her true interests at another internship during the summer of her junior year—working in a wholesale multi-brand clothing showroom.
Berg’s interest in observing the interaction between wholesale sellers and buyers led her to realize her need to decide which side of the clothing equation she wanted pursue. “I did really like the company, and I liked seeing both ends of it,” she says. “But I realized that being a buyer would definitely be more exciting, and it was something I’d like to do.”
After her first pop-up shop, she thought, "Oh, wow, this could actually work." Berg uses what she learned from her experience in wholesale clothing to source brands to build the cornerstone of her online store. “I always looked at the brands that are good quality and trusted, brands I’d seen before, that are popular and that I can rely on,” she says.
As far as inspiration goes, Berg notes social media personalities among her influences. Nowadays, online wholesale orders are filled more quickly than ever. “I can order a full collection, and it could come in three weeks,” she says. This allows her to remain trend-focused and quick to update her inventory.
Inventory flexibility helped cushion Marquette Boutique against the initial shock of COVID, but it was still a difficult transition. “It was tough for me to do everything on my own,” Berg says, “[Overall], being online was definitely a benefit during this time.” Berg shifted her attention toward smaller priced items to offer her clientele more accessible options. “I know a lot of customers I have are either in college or just a little bit older,” Berg says.
She says this season’s looks include bikinis, which are making not-so-bashful statements with bold patterns and bright colors. For a sporty vibe, don’t pass up fitted rompers--yes, fitted. “I’ve been seeing them all over,” she says.
Berg will resume pop-up shops at her North Loop venue in late May or early June. Check Marquette Boutique’s social media feeds for more information.