When mainstream media refers to the retail sector’s reaction to the pandemic as an “apocalypse,” millennial Lizzy Pure counters, “The retail fashion industry as a whole is doing OK. New retailers have started during the pandemic; it’s only certain groups of merchants that are experiencing problems.”
Smartly located adjacent to Neiman Marcus in Lenox Square mall, her eponymous store Pure rivals a Kim Kardashian and Kayne West closet with pricey brands including Hugo Boss, Balmain , Versace, Fendi Kids, Dsquared, Giuseppe Zanotti, Alexander McQueen, Moschino, Diesel, and Karl Lagerfeld; and who has heard of IH Nom Un Nit? Categories range from denim, eyewear, outerwear, shirts and tops, fur to home accessories, men, women and kids.
Pure owns similar stores in Miami (Aventura), Houston (Galleria), and Charlotte (South Park Mall) in addition to Lenox Square. “Pure is redefining luxury boutique retail and the relationship consumers have with luxury fashion,” Liz said. “While the designer assortment is exclusive, Pure’s culture is inclusive. Our team represents almost every gender, race, sexual orientation and age group. We have a celebrity wall with over 4,000 images of tastemakers shopping at Pure: superstars like Lil Nas X, Tyrese Gybson, French Montana and sports superstars like Cam Newton, Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. High-profile celebrities travel the world, see the best and choose to shop at Pure. That is the greatest compliment. Our strong relationships with celebrities lead to unique, amazing events at Pure Atlanta like private concerts and celebrity fashion shows.”
Growing up in Davie, Fla., Liz graduated Florida State University and got her Master of Business Administration at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Her career started as a 16-year-old sales associate. She knew immediately that retail was her calling and worked her way up through retail positions while in school. Then she left the safety of corporate retail to start Pure and never looked back.
A few short months ago, she moved with her commercial real estate husband to Sandy Springs and enrolled their two children in The Epstein School. Between the stores and the various fashion weeks, prior to COVID, she was averaging six flights a month. In terms of keeping all the balls in the air, she said, “The children come first. I balance my life by being present. If I’m at the dinner table with my kids, I’m not reading work emails; I’m completely engaged with them.”
Pure has been in Lenox for 10 years. “Atlanta is the epicenter of the Pure culture as a progressive city, often adopting trends early. Each Pure store is different and reflects the culture of that city. Pure was unaffected by the pandemic. I am disturbed when the media discusses a ‘retail apocalypse.’ This is a market correction problematic for retailers that are disconnected from their markets. The pandemic will push a store that’s teetering on the edge, but it will not close powerful market leaders. The current climate requires most to be specialists in their niche. The old concept of ‘big blanket all category retailers’ doesn’t really resonate to big spenders anymore; consumers are looking for special items and specialty retailers. Retailers that have a strong focus with excellent customer service and brand messaging will flourish. Consumers want a meaningful experience and to feel brand energy, and want to connect. The retail experience is different from the past; now you need authentic engagement with clients.”
A smart marketer during the pandemic, she designed a line of Swarovski-encrusted face masks, averaging $79 each. Fashion+Mask = “Fask” with 2 ½ filters. Some are being resold on eBay for $500-plus!
Liz predicts that trends for 2021 will show optimism. “This season we saw a lot of lounge wear. Spring/Summer 21 looks more refined, signifying a return to normal life. I am head buyer and while I have curated a strong assortment of established designers, I am very passionate about identifying unknown talent.”
In terms of the future, she expounds, “I get offers from malls monthly, with several deals on the table right now; we just have to pick. I’m also working on selling a reality show about Pure.”
She advises young people who want a retail career, “Always follow your dream, and never give yourself a limit. This is America and Pure is proof of the American dream!”
Not to mention that the “rag trade is part of our Jewish DNA.”