TAPPAHANNOCK, Va. — On a historic street in Tappahannock, a young entrepreneur is proving that age is just a number.
“It’s always been in the back of my head that, you know, one day it would be nice to be my own boss,” said Lauren Dunn, CEO of Lauren Blair Boutique.
At just 17 years old, Dunn is making that dream a reality. In June, she opened her own clothing boutique on Prince Street.
“It was just moving and seeing such a small town and what needs it needed, so I wanted to be able to bring that, what the community needed to live,” said Dunn. “There’s not a lot of places to shop, I mean we were driving an hour for clothing stores.”
Her mom, Tammy Trimble, said the idea started during a two-week quarantine in December when Dunn’s stepfather came down with COVID.
“She and I sat on the sofa a lot for two weeks,” said Trimble. “There’s a lot of boutiques that are on TikTok, and so we got to talking, and it’s like, I bet you can do that.”
Dunn said after hours of research, she put all her savings into launching the website.
“I had to figure out how much money I was going to spend so I wasn’t going to be in debt at 17,” said Dunn.
Within six month’s time, Dunn was opening Lauren Blair Boutique on Prince Street.
“She knew what she was doing right away. I think she could probably sell anything if she had to,” said Trimble.
Dunn said opening day far exceeded her expectations. Trimble added that there was a point in the day when Dunn was brought to tears because she was stunned at how many people had come in.
“I was definitely thinking maybe I’ll have 20 people at most throughout the day and I ended up having 50 to 100 people come in that whole entire day. I had a constant flow,” Dunn said.
While small businesses across the country have closed their doors amid the hardships of COVID, the senior in high school aimed her passions at launching her career.
“I had that drive and I knew I wanted to do it and I was like, nothing’s going to stop me from doing what I want to do,” Dunn said.
She wanted others to know, they could do it too.
“I feel like if there’s a will there’s a way,” Dunn said.
Trimble added that she hoped Dunn’s determination would encourage other children her age to strive for their goals.
“You have to pick your parameters, what you can do and what you can’t do,” said Trimble. “A lot of people would’ve just gone into debt taking out business loans, which she hasn’t done at all. So she knew what she could do and she knew what she couldn’t do, and she’s sticking with that plan for now.”
Dunn said other business owners along Prince Street and in town rallied behind her, offering advice to help make the boutique a success.
“I’ve been able to meet new people, I’ve made friends through this, and I’m so happy I’m going to continue this. I mean, I’m living the dream,” Dunn said.
Along with her boutique, Dunn also juggled school and applying to college, where she planned to major in business.