Shopping can be like therapy for some women, while others would simply prefer to never enter another dressing room under the glare of fluorescent lights. Brentwood resident Jennifer Leszcz has created a shopping experience that appeals to both kinds of women.
Leszcz’s entrepreneurship, combined with her retail and apparel background, has helped her develop Eye Candy Boutique, an appointment-only shopping business offering affordable fashion trends in clothing and accessories to women. Eye Candy personalizes the experience by enabling women to shop in the comfort of their own homes and at trunk shows and charity events across St. Louis.
Born and raised in St. Louis, the 37-year-old Leszcz graduated with a degree in textiles and apparel management from the University of Missouri. She started her career in the retail industry selling gifts to area hospitals for a New York-based company. After several years, she began a side business selling fashion accessories that eventually grew into Eye Candy. For the last four years, her business has been thriving on its own thanks in part because she doesn’t have the overhead costs associated with a storefront.
“People want to be helped when they’re shopping, and I believe our success is because of our personalized customer service,” she said. “Everyone wants fashionable clothes, but they don’t want to spend a lot of money. I try to offer clothing and accessories that aren’t too trendy but make people feel better about themselves.”
She brings the latest styles to her customers by frequently traveling to Los Angeles, New York and Las Vegas, home to the world’s largest apparel trade show.
Eye Candy has participated in charity events for organizations such as Friends of Kids with Cancer, Our Little Haven and local hospitals and schools, where a portion of sales go directly to the charity.
“I enjoy doing the charity shows because I am giving back to the community where I grew up,” she said.
Although she has customers of all ages, she has found the majority of her customers are stay-at-home moms.
“Moms want to be fashionable, but so many are buying for their children and not thinking of themselves,” she said. “We try to help them find cute, comfortable clothes and realize they don’t have to reach for the sweatpants every day.”
Jennifer Schaefer of Brentwood said she doesn’t have time to shop all day in stores. She likes that Eye Candy and Leszcz help her find clothing that works for her body and her lifestyle.
“Jennifer is really conscientious about helping you find what you are most comfortable in,” said Schaefer, a mother of two daughters. “I’m not totally into style, and so I really appreciate how versatile the clothing is and how Jennifer can help you dress up merchandise if you need something for a special event.”
This sense of fashion has been with Leszcz since she was a young girl.
“When I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money, but I remember shopping at places like Venture and finding trendy, stylish clothes when I was in school,” she said. “I’ve always loved sales and retail fashion. My first job was at Merry-Go-Round when I was 16, and that’s where I learned to sell. They called it the six steps of selling, and I still remember those today.”
She credits her success to her “very positive and always supportive” parents, Jim and Diana, now retirees, who help Leszcz in her business. The entrepreneurial spirit was also instilled in her brother, Justin, and his wife, Danielle, the owners of Yellow Tree Farm, an urban homestead in St. Louis that sells produce at area farmer’s markets, including the Maplewood Farmer’s Market.
In her spare time—when she has any—Leszcz enjoys photography and spending time with her Brentwood neighbors and her two dogs, Maxx and Stuart.
“I’m never bored and I love what I am doing,” she said. “I always knew I would be in sales, and this has been my dream job.”
To learn more about Eye Candy, visit the website, where you can also read her blog about the latest fashion trends in St. Louis.