Alexis Drury, 27, of Keene, has lived in this area her whole life, only moving away briefly for a year. She graduated from Monadnock High School in 2012 and then went on to Keene State College for management and communication and graduated in 2016. After college, she got her real estate license, but her passions led her away from real estate, and she opened up her own clothing store, Mabel and Lou (located on Central Square in Keene), in 2019.
What led you to open up Mabel and Lou?
It had been kind of on my mind my whole life. I did some modeling when I was younger, probably from like six or seven years old until I was 10. I loved that industry but knew I never wanted to live in a city. If my sister ever needed an outfit, I would always go to the store with her and help pick one out. People in college would take clothes out of my closet. I did real estate for a few years and started saving up some money. One day I was at my job, and I said, “You know what? I am just going to go for it!” I invested a little bit of money into it just to see if it would work. I actually opened for the first year on the second floor above Life is Sweet. It was a tiny little 300-square-foot place, cheap rent, just so I could get it done. And then COVID happened, which was kind of a blessing because it forced me online, and that’s where the majority of our sales are now. It was always something I wanted to do, and thankfully I just forced myself into it one day, and it has worked out ever since.
What would you say motivates you the most?
I love having my own thing. I just love having something that I can go to every day, and it’s mine, and I can create what I want. Just working for myself is important to me. I have never seen myself sitting at a nine-to-five job. I mean, you do what you have to do, but I think if you have a passion, you should try to follow it at least. My fiancé was a huge part of this too. He really motivated me and pushed me towards it. And, of course, my mom is a huge help. She goes to markets with me and helps me pick out all the clothes. Working for yourself just makes it a different feeling of going to work every day.
Are you still working in real estate?
I still hold a license, but I just do referrals. I didn’t plan on not continuing with my real estate career because it’s a lot of work to get your real estate license. I only had it for probably a year and a half to two years before I started Mabel and Lou. But I just became so busy at the store, and real estate is really demanding, so I just moved my license to referrals. I think I will always keep it just in case, but for now, I am doing Mabel and Lou full time.
Do you have any more plans for the future of Mabel and Lou?
For right now, I don’t see moving the location. I love my location and where we are on Central Square. We get a ton of traffic from The Stage. But I did just hire someone full-time, so I am now focusing more on growing out online because, honestly, I think it is the future. I love having the storefront. I love people coming in and seeing people and meeting them and them being able to try on clothes. I think I will always have a brick-and-mortar for that purpose. But unless we were to add another location, I think you kind of max out in your location. With online business, we ship all over the country. I still do all the shipping myself, and I love seeing where all the packages go. Right now, I am focusing my time on growing online, and social media is huge.
How did you go about setting up your website? Did you design it yourself?
My stepbrother is a computer wizard, and I am so bad at technology. So he did help me in the beginning, but I use Shopify as my platform, and they make it really, really easy to create your own site. I have since gone on and bought a new layout and created it myself.
When it comes to online sales, are you advertising online?
I don’t really do any advertising. I do all social media, which is free. Sometimes I will pay to run a little promotion or something like that now and then. Sometimes we do some giveaways, which helps with advertising and gets more eyes on our page. For the Reader’s Choice Awards, we put an ad in The Keene Sentinel, but other than that, we don’t really do any advertising. Which is awesome! This is why social media is so cool because someone will buy an outfit that they love, and then they’ll post about it and tag us, and then their friends will see us, and then their friends will see us. Social media is definitely a game-changer when it comes to that!
And, who are ‘Mabel and Lou’?
Mabel was my great-grandmother’s middle name and I’ve always been called Lexy Lou!
Mabel and Lou is located at 36 Central Square in Keene. Open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and closed Mondays. shopmabelandlou.com.