SHOP ONLINE: Meet LMC Boutique
Earlier this year, I started a new series for the blog called “SHOP LOCAL: Meet the Mom Behind…” to feature some of my favorite local businesses, along with the moms who run them.
“SHOP ONLINE: Meet…” is a spin-off of that series, focused on online shops with a Madison connection, since we are all currently “safe at home” and shopping online vs. in-person is our best best in order to avoid the “C-word”.
First up in the spin-off is LMC Boutique, an online women’s clothing boutique based right here out of Madison.
Victoria Martino, owner of LMC Boutique, graciously offered a hand-picked selection of clothing and accessories for participants to wear during their photo shoot that day. Kate shared a link to the online store in advance of the shoot to allow ladies to select a top or dress they might like to wear for their headshots. (Shout out to Jessica Sampolinski for also letting us borrow jewelry from her Noonday Collection!)
As someone who fluctuates between sizes Large through 1X, I was concerned that the boutique wouldn’t really have anything that fit me well. When I shared that concern with Kate via email prior to the shoot, Victoria selected a few items she thought would work for me, before even meeting me, in order to have tops on hand in my size that day.
That’s when I knew LMC Boutique was a business I should get to know and support. I immediately followed their account on Instagram upon leaving the studio after my scheduled time slot that day.
Imagine my surprise when the boutique shared a few photos of me from the shoot on their Instagram account a few weeks later.
Because of her generosity in sharing clothing to help empower local women in our community, I decided to interview Victoria to learn more about LMC Boutique and the gal behind the business, which is in line with Kate’s vision for Women’s Headshot Day of “community over competition”.
Meet Victoria “Tori” Martino and LMC Boutique below in the first installment of “SHOP ONLINE”.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background…what led you to open an online women’s clothing boutique?
Hey y’all! I’m Tori, the owner of LMC Boutique. I love my family, chocolate, and golden doodles (don’t have one yet, but my day is coming!). I’m an optimist and an idealist – a positive soul always searching for joy! On paper, I have a degree in Biochemistry from UW-Madison and found myself in a career in IT Project Management after graduating from college. That is still my full-time job. I grow LMC Boutique in my spare time.
As for what led me to LMC – I wish I could say I always knew I wanted to start a boutique, but that wasn’t the case. I was actually very scholastic throughout college and thought I would follow a more typical, well-defined career path. However, as I began to work in a corporate environment, I quickly realized my joy, energy, and love for people was overflowing the bounds of a job.
To add to it, at this point in my life I had already failed at a few things I had really wanted. So, I was in this place of frustration and dissatisfaction – which turned out to be exactly what I needed – and a really key point in my story. I’m so thankful for those hard years because they helped me pivot.
Ultimately, I realized I didn’t want a defined job separate from my life, family and friends. Instead, I wanted to create a life I loved where all the lines were blurry. This led me to the idea of starting a business. I just didn’t know what kind!
My most fond memories of growing up are of time spent shopping with my mom & sister. Not because we needed to buy anything when we went, but because when we walked and shopped, we talked.
I fondly remember the sisterhood we created during our weekly shopping trips – just the girls! We bonded in so many ways.
With that little seed deep in my heart, the idea of “starting a business” became “starting a clothing shop.” LMC was born just a few months later.
The sisterhood of the boutique has quickly become my passion place.
I chose the online format because I wanted to continue my career while growing LMC until I can make it my full-time job. Online felt more feasible than a brick and mortar shop that needed to be staffed and merchandised each day. The lifestyle felt more balanced to own & run online, and felt more scalable long-term.
How long has LMC been in business?
We opened in November of 2018. So, it’s been about 18 months!
Tell us about LMC…what makes your shop unique?
In my mind, it’s heart. From packing the boxes, designing our tags, selecting each piece by hand, the hand-written post cards, our visual branding – it’s all created really special from the heart. I’m not really sure how else to say it, but I love running this shop. I love my girls. And I always hope it shows through in the work that I do.
Who is your target customer? What is the demographic of LMC?
Our target customer is a kindhearted, genuine gal who appreciates a curated collection of classic, feminine wardrobe staples. We serve women of all ages and demographics.
Tell us the story behind the name…how did you come up with LMC? What does the name stand for or mean to you?
There is actually a good story here…LMC stands for “Love you, Mean it, Ciao.” It is an Italian greeting.
When my sister and I were little girls, my aunt (my mom’s sister) spent a few years living in London. This was back during a time when you needed paid calling cards to dial internationally. We only had a few “minutes” each Sunday to call our Aunt. And we so looked forward to this each week!
One Sunday, we heard my mom saying goodbye and before hanging up she said “Love you, Meena, Chow.” My sister and I looked at each other confused. What were they talking about – dog chow? And who is this “Meena?” we wondered. England was making things weird…
Needless to say, we asked our mom about this mysterious phrase, which caused a fit of laughter between my mom and aunt. Our silly interpretation of “LMC” has been the source of many laughs over the years. What she really said was “Love you – Mean it – Ciao.”
Ever since that day, when we say goodbye, we say “LMC.” To me it represents sisterhood, laughter, and love. It’s the good that comes from strong female relationships. So when I was thinking of a name for the shop, I wanted to tie it back to the strong, amazing women who always made me feel loved.
How do you balance running the shop along with your full-time job?
I work on growing LMC during my nights and weekends. In terms of balance, there are weeks where I feel balanced and weeks where I don’t. That’s just the reality of life, and no one has it all figured out (don’t let anyone fool you)! But I always make time for the things that are important to me.
What role does your partner play in this process?
I am blessed to have a loving partner who is extremely supportive of LMC and me. He is my primary sounding board for ideas. We goal-set for our future together and find places where we can help one another out. I am grateful for the honest relationship we have built. We make a great team!
You usually do pop up events for the boutique, but in light of the current pandemic, all events have been cancelled. Do you have any online events readers can look forward to?
YES! We know this is such a tough time for many businesses who depend on these events each year. While we hope pop-up shops can resume soon, we made a few adjustments in the meantime to make shopping with us more convenient and as fun as possible given the current situation.
Here is a quick list of the adjustments our shop has made:
- Virtual Shopping Events – We have held a few virtual shopping events over the past few weeks via IG Live. Follow along on Instagram (@shoplmcboutique) for announcements on future event dates.
- Private personal shopping – DM us to book a personal shopping session! Sessions are conducted via the video chat feature inside the Instagram direct message window.
- We also offer free shipping on all orders over $100, plus free local delivery in the Madison area, AND free local pick-ups and free returns, along with an extended return window.
Just for fun, what is your favorite brand or item you carry in the shop and why?
I wouldn’t say I have a favorite brand, but pretty much anything pink would be my favorite!
Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
This is always a tough question to answer! A silly fun fact about me seems fitting. I have a little pet bunny named Eleanor – that I’m actually allergic to! I love her despite the sneezing and itchy eyes that are now my new normal.
Thank you Tori for sharing your story and for supporting local women through Women’s Headshot Day.
Check out LMC Boutique online for a curated collection of women’s clothing and accessories, with new arrivals added every other Sunday. And remember to support your local businesses!