Le Prix is a true gem. Operating out of owner Robyn Hobbs personal residence, the store is open by appointment only, offering customers a personalized shopping experience. Unique in its mission, Le Prix looks to help women love their bodies again while dressing in fabulous, affordable, pre-loved and new pieces from around the globe. Not only is this a fantastic place to shop, Robyn offers her services as a stylist, to help customers pair pieces together to create gorgeous looks. With future plans to travel/shop in Morocco, Egypt and India, this is one boutique your inner adventurer will adore.
Bubbly, extroverted, and stylish, Robyn has an eye for great fashion. As a student and entrepreneur, she has learned how to find quality pieces at reasonable prices. With a passion for the environment, Robyn has combined her interest in travel, shopping, and recycling garments into a rewarding business venture.
Read on for the rest of our interview.
Thanks for meeting with me Robyn. Are you from Waterloo Region originally?
Yes, I was born and raised in Cambridge! I came to Waterloo to do my undergrad at Laurier and now I’ve been living here for about 8 years. I love Waterloo. I mean I just bought a house here!
That’s great! I know you’re very busy with Le Prix and other things…can you tell me about your life right now?
Along with owning Le Prix, I’m actually a graduate student completing my Master’s in Environmental Studies. I also work part-time at Laurier’s Graduate Students Association doing communications and graphic design. On the side, I sometimes do graphic work as well. Things are definitely busy, but now is the time to establish what we want in life, and I love what I’m doing!
I totally agree! Can you tell me a bit about Le Prix?
Le Prix is a fashion and lifestyle brand that provides pre-loved and new designer clothing, shoes and accessories from around the globe at affordable prices. I also offer my stylist services to help customer’s look and feel their best.
How did it get started?
I started Le Prix during my last year of undergrad. I have always loved shopping, and when I became a student, it became important for me to find great pieces at affordable prices. That summer, I didn’t have a job that was working out, so my good friend pushed me to finally start the business. My friends always liked what I was wearing, so I would style them, and when I was out shopping, I would find pieces that wouldn’t fit me, but I knew would look great on someone else. Eventually friends of friends started messaging me and asking if I would pick up items for them, or if I would take them shopping. That’s when I realized I had an idea for a business and decided to start Le Prix.
It seems like it’s really taking off too.
Yes! It’s been organic growth which I am grateful for because I’ve been a student the whole time. I started with just a small clothing rack in my room, but it’s been slowly growing since then. I now have a whole room in my house for it which is great! I also got involved with Laurier Launchpad, which really helped me refine my business. The program offered so many resources. It gave me access to lawyers, accountants, marketing support, etc. Each week I worked on one part of my business plan, and then met with potential clients, changing the plan as I went. It was great!
How did you decide to offer clothes from around the globe at Le Prix?
Well after Laurier Launchpad, I finished my undergrad and went travelling for 3 months. I have always loved travelling, and found people really loved the pieces I picked up abroad, so I thought, why not shop for Le Prix while I’m away. That way the pieces are completely unique. I’ve shopped in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, and this summer, my mom and I went to Paris and Rome.
Wow! So when you’re abroad, where do you shop?
I honestly have incredible luck. I believe most of the time I’m simply in the right place at the right time. I will stumble upon random, one-day markets, or sidewalk sales with fantastic items. Often before I go somewhere, I will look online to see the great shopping areas, or I message bloggers in those cities to see where I should go too.
I bet you find some really great pieces.
Oh yes! Fashion is so cultural and everywhere I travel is completely different for shopping. I get a gut feeling about the pieces I purchase for Le Prix. There are so many different style personalities, so I shop for every one of them. I try each and every piece on myself before buying, even if it’s not my size, just to make sure there isn’t any damage. Sometimes I find that my pieces are actually ahead of the trends here in Canada because I’ve shopped abroad. I Snapchat my shopping adventures to customers, so they can feel like they’re travelling with me!
How did you come up the name Le Prix for your store?
I wanted to invoke a level of luxury with the name, but I also wanted it to represent affordability and fun. The original name I chose was Le Prix D’Amour which means the price of love. I chose this because I really don’t think you should have to pay a lot for clothes you love. The name was just too long though, so over time, I shortened it to Le Prix. I really love the name because Le Prix is a mix of pre-loved and new clothes, but mostly pre-loved. I care about the environment, and think repurposing clothes is key, which makes them more affordable and special then always buying new.
That’s so true. So who do you find are your main customers?
Well with me being a student, many of my original customers were students too. That’s been changing. I would say there are two: young professionals and their moms. These are ladies who no longer have young kids, they are coming back into their own, and want to have fun with their style.
How does the personal styling work for your business?
Currently, I function by appointment only. I have the online store as well that I ship from, but to visit Le Prix, customers call, email or text. I really want the store to feel like customers are shopping in their best friend’s closet. Not only that, then clients get my full attention and they can come alone, or with family or friends, which they love. When customers are shopping, I help them with how to wear each piece, as well as figuring out what other pieces they have in their wardrobes already that could work with the new pieces.
I also get contracted out and go to other stores to shop with clients. I do wardrobe overhauls…I used to love the shows Clean Sweep and What Not to Wear so the styling piece is a combination of those two things, only nicer.
What’s your favourite part about owning Le Prix?
I think women spend too much time hating their bodies, when they really shouldn’t. Everyone is awesome and unique, and I want to help women love how they look. There’s that little mission in there at Le Prix. I love helping clients find their style. Some already know what they like, but aren’t always sure how to pair pieces. I help customers build on what they already know, so that they like what they see in the mirror. My favourite part is helping customer’s feel good, that’s why I do what I do. What’s unique about shopping at Le Prix?
Well I have a 7-day return/exchange policy, which many second-hand stores don’t offer. I also do gift wrapping, and customers’ get high quality pieces at affordable prices. I shop around the world, have a fashion trunk they get to pick a free item out of when they spend $25 and Swiss chocolate as a thank you. I love my job and I love helping customer’s feel better. The one-on-one attention I provide is also unique!
What does style mean to you?
Style is expressing how you feel each day. It’s looking put together, however that means for you. Some people are boho, others’ are preppy. Style is putting yourself in pieces you feel great in. I always tell my customer’s if you don’t feel like a 10 in it, don’t buy it!
I completely agree! Do you have any fashion tips for our readers?
Honestly just wear what you feel good in. I personally don’t like when you can see someone’s’ bra straps in an outfit. It just doesn’t create a cohesive look. A good pair of dark denim, or black skinny pants go with everything and can transition from day to night! A blazer is also a must in a wardrobe. It can be dressed up, or down, with the cuffs rolled up. Since we live in Canada, you also need to think about what your coat is saying about you because it’s one of the first things people see. If you don’t want to wear a fancy coat, try a nice scarf and cute mittens.
Thanks so much for sharing Le Prix with us Robyn! It truly is such a fabulous shopping spot. Just to finish off, when you’re not here and at school, where do you like to go in our community?
Are you looking for a new look? Need some help with your style? Want to shop fabulous pieces from around the globe? If yes, then a visit to Le Prix may be just what you’re after. Using her expert eye, Robyn will help you find pieces that truly reflect your personality, at budget prices. Yahoo! Be sure to follow along with Robyn’s adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (@RobynLePrix).