Story By Amy Geiszler-Jones - Photography By Kacy Meinecke
For the past 20 years, Julie Lair has loved shopping at Lyndon’s in Bradley Fair. For the past 12 years, Camille Ogden loved buying the contemporary, high-end fashions that stocked the shelves and hung on the store’s racks.
Last August, the two women went all-in and became Lyndon’s new owners, purchasing it from its founder Donna Preston.
“We both eat, drink, sleep and breathe fashion,” said Ogden, who is the store’s director of sales.
“Like last night, she sent me the Instagram Dior live feed from New York,” said Lair, who serves as the president. Both had just recently returned from a weeklong buying trip to New York City.
“We just love fashion – in a dorky, nerdy kind of way,” Ogden said, laughing.
Both are a constant presence at the store, forming friendships with their clients and helping Wichita women feel like they’re shopping in a boutique in the hubs of fashion – New York City and Los Angeles.
According to the store’s origin story, in 1975 Preston opened the store in the Happiness Plaza shopping center on Douglas to provide clothing with style and sophistication found on the Coasts. It was originally named Foxy Lady.
The store eventually moved to its current location at Bradley Fair, Wichita’s pioneering destination lifestyle center. Over the years, Lyndon’s earned a reputation as a place to find quality, trending and staple fashions and has consistently been named “a style leader” by the women’s fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar.
“There are so many styles that we carry so we call our store eclectic because we can accommodate and fit a lot of different lifestyles,” said Ogden.
If you see a style trending on Instagram or in a fashion magazine, chances are you’ll find it at Lyndon’s, the pair says, because of their passion for fashion.
“We can outfit anyone in some sort of way,” said Ogden, noting their clients range in ages from teens to octogenarians.
“We carry for a variety of price points and for ages and clients,” Lair adds.
“We carry many of the lines that local shoppers will buy online,” Ogden said. “They’re just not aware that someone in Wichita carries it.” If the item doesn’t fit quite to your liking, one of the store’s two on-site seamstresses – a mother-daughter duo – can make alterations.
They take the business of clothing women seriously as they peruse the markets for the items and lines they sell. “We are picking out what women will pull out of their closet and wear that day,” said Lair.
For some lines, they may have only one item per size. “That leads to exclusiveness,” said Ogden.
Since buying the store, the pair have slowly put their personal mark on the store. Lair, who loves window shopping at Saks in New York, likes to create fun window displays. They’ve added contemporary, sleek lighting, dropped some previous fashion lines and have added new designer lines including Marc Jacobs, Red Valentino and Helmut Lang. One successful step was expanding the store’s shoe lines, ranging in prices from $100 to $700.
“They’ve been flying out the door,” Lair said.
One thing they won’t change, the pair said, is the relationships and service they provide. Their four employees all have worked at the store for years; one has worked there 24 years.
“That’s why our clients like us,” said Lair. “There’s consistency and that helps build trust. It means we care about how you feel and we’re not going to want to put you in something we don’t care about.”
Obviously for Lair, the relationships she built with the staff had a big impact – big enough to to decide to buy the business with Ogden. Lair is a former teacher and social worker who started shopping as a young mother, often with her one or more of her four children in tow.
Ogden, who started picking out her own outfits at age 2, earned a degree in entrepreneurship and marketing at Wichita State. She was working in a retail store next door to Lyndon’s when she was recruited to be part of its staff about a dozen years ago.