Lawanda Thornton, owner of Lavish: a Luxe Boutique, said that her store was more like a ministry. The store opened in 2018 at 4230 Elvis Presley Boulevard.
Thornton will spread the word as she opens her second store in the Edge District, Lavish Too at 676 Marshall Ave. She hopes to open by May.
Thornton, born in Memphis but raised in Milwaukee for most of her childhood.
She went to college after being in gifted and talented program at school. She got into the wrong crowd.
I saw people make quick and easy money. She said that they were stealing clothes to sell.
She was arrested and sentenced to 5 years in prison. She served 15 months of her sentence. She was told by her parole officer that she would be returning.
Thornton stated that she was not the ideal prisoner. She was involved in fights. She read the Bible from front to back.
"God said to me, 'You are going home. I trusted him and believed his words. I bought my children's home in Milwaukee when I first came out. "I vowed never to steal again, because I knew that it was one of the Ten Commandments," she said.
Thornton's extended families are based in North Memphis. She visited Wolfchase Galleria about 18 years ago. She was so impressed by the houses in the vicinity that she decided to return to the area.
She began her career in the UT Medical Group's surgery department. She then went on to work at St. Francis Hospital in the diagnostic centers.
Later, she got a job at a local bank as a personal assistant. Then, the job was cut.
"God spoke to me already." She said, "He had already given me his vision for a boutique." Guess what I did?" I took a leap of faith. I had no money, nor a business plan. "But I had faith and favor."
She went to Las Vegas around this time with her son. This was a combined "nifty fifty/dirty thirty" birthday trip. They took a shopping trip to Los Angeles as a side-trip.
She said that God was whispering in her ear and telling her "You are going to hook up."
She asked her son what he believed that meant. He suggested that the message might have something to do with her long-desired shop.
They went into a clothing shop. She was asked by a woman working at the store where she came from. Thornton told her about his desire to open a shop. The woman promised to help her. She did so by providing early inventory.
I had never seen her before. She emerged from behind the counter and handed me her business card. She wrote on the back her name and cell phone number. Thornton remembered that she said, "Whatever I need to do I will help you." "I started to cry in that shop."
Thornton began looking for another location. She ended up sharing her story with the leasing agent at the Elvis Presley Boulevard location. He gave her 5 months rent free.
They said that I would not make any money in Whitehaven. She said, "We're one the largest boutiques in town."
Thornton called the Lavish aesthetic trendy. She sells men's and women's clothes, and keeps up with the latest trends in Paris and New York. She has a partnership with Chuckles Comedy House. She dresses visiting comics and gives tickets away to shows every week. She has also dressed a "Love & Hip Hop" star.
Thornton spotted Marshall Avenue after hosting one of her Beauty & Bubbles Events, which combine scripture, fashion and champagne.
She described her clothing at Lavish, as funky and a little bit edgy. She's going to start off with a more conservative look at Lavish Too.
We'll start with the more conservative dresses like baby doll dresses and linen short sets. "We'll start with the more conservative sundresses and then we might incorporate some of those funky clothes," said she.