Before you even walk across the threshold of Lulu in Franklin, you get a hint of the lifestyle store’s personality. The windows are filled with découpaged pumpkins dusted in glitter with a tiny sign stating “No soliciting, pretty please with sugar on top.”
Owner Teresa Ofman, who opened the store in 2009, has sprinkled sugar on the entire store, filling it with a merchandise mix that is both pretty and elegant with just enough whimsy to keep it fresh.
“We work really hard to offer a wide variety of price points in the store. And we always say that we carry something for every woman at every age and stage of her life,” says Ofman, who waves at customers as they pop in the light-filled store.
While Lulu is known for luxury bedding (think custom monogram shams in baby soft cotton mixed with cloud-like duvets and linen dust ruffles), the store also features local art, jewelry, table and barware, stationery and bath and body products.
Lulu is more than just a magical, cupcake-like retailer however. Last year, Ofman added the Amy Howard Home Paint collection, a one-step paint line.
“We are offering workshops on how to rescue, restore and redecorate furniture. Amy is from Memphis and really believes in repurposing and creating something beautiful from a piece of furniture that just needs some love,” explains Ofman. “It is just one way we work to serve our customers.”
The store also provides design services. A passion for Ofman, who laughingly says when other girls babysat for clothes, she saved her money to redecorate her bedroom.
Her other passion? She believes in supporting local artists and works to fill her store with products made in the United States.
“I love knowing the back story on a product. Knowing that Amy Howard is from Memphis. Or that our bedding is made in the United States versus overseas. It is important to me, and I think it is increasingly important to our clients. Especially as a small business owner in downtown Franklin,” says Ofman.
Shopping local isn’t the only trend Ofman tracks. With countless miles logged at designer and furniture showrooms, Ofman sees home décor design trends before they hit the mainstream.
“Home décor follows fashion,”says Ofman. “Fashion has been mixing inexpensive pieces with luxury items for years now. Nobody buys from one designer and wears it head to toe. Home décor is following suit.”
The trend, dubbed high-low decorating, is about choosing a great sofa and adding a side table that you bought on the cheap and painted, according to Ofman.
“Our clients want livable luxury … pretty pieces you can live with. All of our bedding is washable. A high-low mix lets you take an elegant mirror and pair it with a painted dresser. I think the fixed and formal style of decorating—with a room filled with only period antiques—is gone,” she continues.
Her tips for newbies just starting out on the decorating path?
“Buy one good piece that you can use for years. Add trends with home accessories like pillows or lamps. And have fun with it,” laughs Ofman.
If you shop her sugar-on-top store, you are pretty much guaranteed to fill her last edict. Everything about Lulu is fanciful, fabulous and fun.
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