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An Interview with Elizabeth Leu

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
For some reason there always seems to be so much mystery behind the mastermind of Fiddlesticks for our customers. They are always asking my coworkers and I- who is Elizabeth Leu? Who is the woman that picks out these adorable onesies? Well, as in one of my favorite childhood movies "The wizard of Oz", the women working behind the curtain is not who you think. She's the lady playing peek-a-boo with your little one, and a quick game of trucks/monster, or lovingly wrapping your gift. As Elizabeth has been busy interviewing others for her blog, we felt that it was time that she answers some of your questions...

- Brandi Smets

What inspired you to open up Fiddlesticks? Where did the name come from?

It actually all happened fairly organically and as I suppose it was meant to be. When I opened Lavish eight years ago I never anticipated selling anything kid related. But I quickly found the neighborhood wasn't catering to that age at the time. So I started selling baby merchandise and it took off fast, and the more we sold the more we found the demand to grow. Soon our customers were growing out of the store...and that's about when I realized the opportunity was staring me in the face, and that I should make it happen. So I did. And I haven't ever looked back.

The name is something that actually takes me back to my childhood. I am the youngest of 4, and I grew up in the Midwest. When my mother (my VERY patient mother may I add!!!) got frustrated she would blurt out 'Oh Fiddlesticks!' And every time I heard it, it made me still does.

As a mother of 2 how do you balance running a business and family time?

I count my lucky stars on many levels. I have a very wonderful, extremely dedicated, and entirely entertaining staff. We work together as a team. I run on a philosophy that I am only as good as my team. We all have different talents and together we divide and conquer.

My children LOVE to spend time at the store when the opportunity arises, and my husband is really understanding when I need to dedicate time to the store and away from the family. It's an eb & flow that works really really well.

What inspires you?

Lots of things. A meaningful conversation with a friend. A super yummy home cooked meal. A piece of clothing that I wear over and over without hesitation. A moment with my children that makes me laugh. A picnic at Crissy Field with friends. Date night with my husband. A really good and addicting TV series, or a good book. Planning our social calendar. A well wrapped gift. A hand written note.

What was your favorite outfit, pair of shoes, or toy as a child?

Oh - hands down it was a royal blue t-shirt that had 'whoopie' on it. I don't know what it was about it, but I loved it big time. I wish I still had it.

Was there anything you got stuck wearing as a child that still makes you cringe?

I had these red corduroy knickers. And I wore them ALL the time. They actually just crack me up because I loved the crazy out of those...and I just don't see those coming back in style. Although they should.

The one thing that does make me cringe a bit is the BOWL cut my mother use to give me. My hair could have used a little urban style. It had a boy look to it.
- When building a wardrobe for your kids what are the staples you always go for?

In short, a really fun pair of shoes and an adorable sweater or jacket. My children are in school uniforms so I tend to gravitate towards the accessories for them - the things that allow them to spice up their everyday look. For my daughter it's the leggings or tights, and for my son it's outwear. I have tried to get him to wear different shoes, but for the last year all he will wear are the elephant shoes from Livie & Luca. I stopped trying and just keep replacing them. I think we are on pair #6 at the moment.

What advice would you give other women who wish to open a business? What has been your greatest support?

I encourage anyone to keep moving towards their dreams. I think not making it happen is worse than failure. You will never know until you try, and I am sure you will end up surprising yourself in a good way. Opening one door has always opened up several more for open a door & keep on an upward slope. The best career move I ever made was opening a store.



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