Finding her wings
Lauren Lind’s Southern-inspired boutique takes off upstate
From financial analyst to flight attendant to boutique owner, Lauren Lind has lived many lifetimes, all under the age of thirty. But it’s her latest venture as owner of Upstate Threads, a rapidly growing boutique on Schoen Place, that has Rochester buzzing.
After graduating from SUNY Fredonia in 2016 and working in the finance industry, Lind moved to Alabama with her now fiancé, Jeff Tampe, while he was stationed in the army. It was there that Lind’s sense of ingenuity and discovery prompted her to start seriously considering the fashion industry as her next endeavor. However, it wasn’t until the couple returned to Rochester that Lind decided to put her newfound Southern inspiration to use.
If starting a new business in the midst of a pandemic sounds challenging, you wouldn’t know it from Lind’s success. Opening fully online in July, Upstate Threads now boasts nearly 3,000 Instagram followers. By October, Lind opened up shop in the Village of Pittsford.
“When we lived in Alabama, I shopped all the time,” she recalls. “There were the cutest little boutiques down there … I wanted to bring what I found down there up here.”
The store, a neutral-toned enclave nestled across the street from the Erie Canal, boasts a selection of clothing as versatile as it is comfortable. A shared space with Stephanie Thompson’s children’s boutique, Chicke, the combined storefront has clothes for both mother and baby. From neutral-toned joggers to buttoned bramis [bra plus cami], Lind has created an impressive atmosphere by combining the essence of her travels with comfortable chic styles made popular in quarantine.
“Being a flight attendant, everywhere I go I need to shop,” Lind says. “I need to find a cool boutique, because you can find so many items that you can’t find in a mall. I think it makes it fun to get something that you can’t get anywhere else.”
In charge of all aspects of the boutique, Lind is something of a one-woman show. On top of purchasing trend-forward pieces and stocking inventory, Lind both models for and runs the boutique’s social media accounts. And yet, it is this kind of individualized perseverance that is exactly what attracts so many people to the cozy atmosphere Upstate Threads possesses.
“I think people feel comfortable being in a smaller space where you can still get the things that you want and you’re not having to go to a huge mall with hundreds of people,” says Lind.
Despite her recent success in the fashion industry, Lind didn’t always know if this was her calling. Having worked in both the financial and travel sectors, Lind wanted something different from the standard nine to five. She wanted something that others could appreciate as much as she could call her own.
“I knew I wanted to own my own business,” Lind remarks. When she was furloughed as a flight attendant, she knew it was her opportunity to do just that.
The boutique, seemingly an accumulation of her life experience and entrepreneurial mindset, features apparel and accessories that celebrate ease as much as excitement. When asked how she would describe the overall tone of her pieces, Lind responds “Neutral, things that are versatile and feel like you want to wear all the time.”
But don’t think Upstate Threads is just lounge wear. “I wanted to throw in a few things that are different,” Lind says. Think leather moto jackets, animal print booties, eclectic graphic tees.
As for what fashion to expect in 2021? “I love wide leg denim,” Lind says. Moreover, with warmer weather ahead, Lind predicts maxi dresses will make a return with the spring.
After years of searching, Lind has quickly settled in as owner of one of Rochester’s fastest growing boutiques.
“I found my thing.”