Looking Forward to Fashion
One of the youngest, most fashionable boutiques in East Lansing is owned by Michelle Gross, which is fitting, as she is a recent MSU grad, and, well, quite young and fashionable. Jeanologie, located at 303 M.A.C. Avenue, opened this summer with a warm reception. The store boasts today’s top fashions and designer names at various price ranges for both men and women, and even sells pieces from some of MSU’s top design students. It’s hip, it’s chic, it’s 100 percent Michelle Gross.
“I’ve always known I wanted to get into fashion,” said Gross, who graduated in 2007 with a degree in Apparel and Textile Design, and a cognate in Entrepreneurship.
She started early, designing and sewing clothes for her Barbie dolls, and hasn’t stopped since. “I even made my own prom dress,” said Gross. “It was off the shoulder, with a train in the back. Pink and black, it was really pretty.”
After doing some market research and seeing what other boutiques were doing, she new what kind of store she wanted to open.
“This is the kind of store you’d see in New York,” she said. “There is an upscale, posh, big city feel to it.”
A member of AOII while she was a student, and a true sorority girl at heart, Gross saw the need for Jeanologie after her time spent in East Lansing with her sorority sisters.
“We were always having different events, date night, formals and semi-formals, it was hard to get access to the kinds of clothing we needed,” she said. “This is a convenient spot for them.”
One might wonder how someone so young has gotten such a jump start on her career, but Gross has a simple formula for this:
“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from doing anything.”
She also attributes some of her success to her family.
“I would not have been able to do this without them,” said Gross, whose family helps her with buying, retail, and advertising. “They’ve been a huge support.”
While Gross enjoys experiencing the business side of fashion, the opening of Jeanologie has been an exhausting job.
“The hardest part is leaving work at the door,” said Gross. “Even when you’re home, you’re looking through magazines or at people on the street for inspiration.”
But she wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
“My favorite part is definitely the buying trips,” said Gross, who travels around the U.S. in order to check out the latest fashions and bring them back to East Lansing. “Going to New York City and Chicago, you learn about upcoming trends and new styles. It’s a lot of fun.”
With hopes to expand her business, she looks forward to the future but also enjoys the moment. You’ll find her behind the register, which also happens to double as her Mac laptop, playing her favorite music, greeting customers and offering fashion advice.