MJ Layne Celebrates 11 Years of Providing Unique Items For Geist & Fishers Shoppers
Photographer: Josh Brown
When Michele Lauer’s youngest child started kindergarten, she knew her days of being a stay-at-home mom were over.
“I had a dream of opening a store,” she says. “I didn’t know what kind of store it was going to be. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I learned and 10 years later, I’m still here.”
MJ Layne Clothing *Jewelry *Home Décor *Gifts is a charming space that opened in 2007 and primarily focused on home décor items. However, as her business and customer base grew, Lauer scaled back her home décor inventory and incorporated more clothing, jewelry and gift items. This product diversity has made MJ Layne a local destination for any shopper seeking something unique.
“I go through the catalogs and get a feel for what is current and then when I go to market, I shop ‘til I drop in order to bring back the best pieces for the store,” she says.
Lauer recently traveled to Atlanta in order to shop for the holidays. She said “market” can be an overwhelming experience for the uninitiated. There is so much to look at across four buildings (18-21 stories each) that it’s not uncommon for some buyers to get nauseated in the process.
“Sometimes I don’t think they stop to eat,” Lauer says.
With well-known brick-and-mortar chains struggling and mom-and-pop shops closing due to the rise in e-commerce, Lauer says she’s often asked how her business competes and thrives under the pressure. She says no matter how convenient it is to purchase a product online, people always appreciate the opportunity to browse and to find something they can’t find anywhere else.
“I am the worst person when it comes to online shopping,” she says. “I order it and then it gets here and I hate it. I always tell myself that I should have gone to the store and looked at it in person. I understand that people get overwhelmed and it’s convenient to shop online, but there is something special about walking into a store and finding something really special.”
Lauer says initially her primary customer base included women 40-60, but as more and more teenagers and young girls have come in with their mothers, she’s started carrying items that might appeal to them as well. She says it is not uncommon for family members to come in looking for coordinated outfits for family photos and while she does not carry “mommy and me” styles, they can find something similar that still reflects one’s personal style.
“I’ve also been told I have great ‘concert’ shirts as well,” she adds.
When Lauer first opened MJ Layne, she wanted to find a location that was not only close to her children’s schools but also near home so that she could balance both work and family. Now that her children are mostly grown, she still loves the location because it is convenient for those other moms who want to shop, but don’t have time to drive all over town.
“When I chose my location, I watched how the traffic flowed in and out of here,” Lauer says. “I am right by Kroger, so I know 90 percent of my customers are in the grocery store two-or-three times a week. It’s easy for them to stop in on their way to pick up their carpool or buy some milk and bread.”
MJ Layne Clothing *Jewelry *Home Décor *Gifts is located at 11760 Olio Road Ste. 200 in Fishers. You can call them at 317-570-2400 or visit them online at mjlayne.com.