Lynette Bowser couldn’t be more grateful to her loyal customers and staff during her seven years as owner of Sassy Pants Boutique in the little yellow building at 36 E. Bridge Street, downtown Rockford. The doors to the shop closed this fall, only after much thought, soul-searching, and tears. It was especially hard to close the doors before the holiday season, with all the charm of downtown on full display.
“This was always my favorite time of year, with the Christmas music, the lights, the snow falling. But life takes you on unexpected turns and you have to roll with it.”
Lynette said she has had her own interior design business, Lynette Bowser Interiors since her first child was born in 2002, but she had to put it on hold when she became a single mom in 2009 and that industry was suffering.
Years later, in 2010, the opportunity came to realize a long-held dream. “Back then my kids were little, I was a single mom and a storefront opened up in Rockford. I had always wanted to own my own shop and I knew it was time.”
That was the beginning of a store that would become one of the draws to downtown Rockford for the next seven years. Sassy Pants was all Lynette hoped it would be and the store was even recognized by Senator Debbie Stabenow as an example of an outstanding woman-owned business.
As her kids have grown, now ages 9, 14 and 15, it is harder to do all the mom things, like driving them to events and sport while taking good care of Sassy Pants.
In 2016 she had the opportunity to join a real estate team and that has taken off for her. She couldn’t continue to give her Sassy Pants customers and staff the full attention a booming business requires. A friend told her, “It’s hard to serve more than one master.” She came to the very difficult decision to close Sassy Pants and go full forward with real estate and her interior design work.
Now she is, in her words, “Living the dream,” with the best of both worlds, her real estate business and using her interior design talents to supplement that work and help her clients. For sellers she can offer pre-listing consultation, telling them where improvements will pay off in the sale price. It might be new carpet, light fixtures, paint or any other necessities to help entice a buyer.
“I select all of that for them,” she said. She also stages all her client’s homes. “It’s like my own little HGTV.” She said there is no charge for the staging or consultation, Lynette considers it part of excellent service as a realtor.
“We’re both working for the same goal,” she said of herself and her client. “For buyers, I find out their needs and wants and figure out what I need to do for them to get that. I can make suggestions for structural changes if needed, I help them get settled, help with any interior design needs they may have for their new space.”
She said she considers it her job to remove all the barriers for her clients to end up with their dream home.
In a way, the work she does is much the same, whether it be to offer great products to improve the lives of her former customers at Sassy Pants to what she does now. “It’s still helping people. It is still building relationships. That’s what I did with Sassy Pants.
She does have thoughts on the retail world given her years living that life. She thinks retail is getting harder, but the type of retail here in downtown Rockford is the kind that will not only survive, but thrive in the changing purchasing atmosphere.
“This is the time for the mom and pops to shine. I really feel it is the big box that is suffering now. For the shops in Rockford, “You are not just selling an item, you are selling an experience.” She said it is important to keep the items for sale in smaller retail unique. Stay focused and don’t forget your customers are your main priority. She said that was what made Sassy Pants the success it was.
“I can tell you I achieved what I set out to do with Sassy Pants. Now I’m doing something else I love. I can still continue to help people every day, just in other ways.”
Lynette is currently at Esquire Realty Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 616-581-2776.