Why She’s Top 40: Even after 16 years in business, she is staying on the cutting edge of the beauty industry and continuing to build a fiercely loyal customer following.
If you could change one thing about Edmonton, what would it be? “I love vintage, but there are a few older retail sites around town that have so much more potential than their current states. I’m talking integrated retail, residential and transportation that truly considers its users and wows its community. I would love to be part of the design process.The first thing I’d do is fill a deli with Montreal-style bagels.”
When Jennifer Grimm was attending the University of Alberta, she never declared a major; she dabbled in everything from journalism to marketing to organizational theory. But she always knew she’d end up owning her own business.
She just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.
Straight out of university, in 1999, at just 23 years of age, Grimm opened LUX Beauty Boutique – a store where customers could get new and hard-to-find beauty brands while the owner could satisfy her many interests.
“For someone like me who is undeclared – who loves the management science part of it, the organizational theory and the marketing – retail allows you to live each of those disciplines every day,” says Grimm.
“And when you’re around beauty products, how can you have a bad day?”
Since opening, Grimm has had to keep up not only with changing beauty trends, but also advancements in the retail industry, including the advent of online shopping – LUX was one of the first beauty retailers to sell on the Internet, and last year became the first store in the world to use SelfPay, a mobile self-checkout and payment app. But she has managed to stay ahead of the curve by focusing on what her customers want.
“I’m always analyzing; I notice patterns. Being able to keep up with trends or see where things are going … is fascinating to me,” she says.
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She is also an active member of the Retail Council of Canada and, though she’s no longer involved in it, she founded The Block to Shop, a collective of businesses at the southern end of 124th Street dedicated to promoting one another.
LUX itself, though, is growing; Grimm is getting ready to open its second location later this year, with more in the works. But she is quick to deflect credit to her team, which she says has been the secret to her success.
“Owning my own business means I have this creative laboratory to execute my ideas, and I have this incredible group of people who get to participate in executing those ideas. … If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be getting to do what I get to do,” she says.