Style Profile: Grace Lovekin

Owner of popular women's clothing boutique, Mad Monkey Clothing, mother of two boys, and Humber College Fashion program mentor... that is not even the beginning of describing what a lovely and committed woman that Grace Lovekin is! I got the chance to sit down and talk fashion and all about owning a store with her.
Mad Monkey Clothing started out as "Xtreme Clothing" back in September 2005, and was later purchased by current owner, Grace, on February 1st, 2008. Fashion has always been something Grace liked - but never studied , at least professionally. She graduated from Western University for Psychology and Women's studies, and not until working at mad Monkey Clothing for two years, she proposed to buy the store, and was eventually given the approval. With no business or fashion education background, it is such a neat thing that Grace has made herself an ultimate fashion-entrepreneur. 
Grace takes on responsibilities at Mad Monkey such as visual merchandising, taking care of inventory, paperwork, and taking trips to the city for buying. She goes into her store almost every day, and is recently able to get some weekends off! In those times off, and when she is not working hard at her store, Grace says she loves to go longboarding, as well as mentor young girls and give speeches at Humber College, and attend fashion week and events.
Read further for all of the questions I asked Grace, and her interesting and note-taking-worthy answers she gave me!

Mikayla:

Do you have a certain personal style? If so, how would you describe it?

Grace:

My personal style would be described as casual. I love bohemian inspired clothing but I also enjoy the simplicity of classic lines. I suppose I am a fusion of all those things...how? I'm not sure but I pull it off.

Mikayla:

How has your style evolved over the years (if at all) from being a teen, to now?

Grace:

I wish I could go back to being the teen me, I used to wear whatever I wanted without thinking twice! Oh the freedom! But seriously, my style is always evolving! I'm a mom of two and I quiet often think, "I can't wear that" but then I rethink it and make it happen in some other way. As you get older, or as your body changes it's important to adapt and evolve your look to today's style and fashion.

Mikayla:

Would you say that your own personal style reflects what you sell at Mad Monkey?

Grace:

Mad Monkey Clothing is most definitely a reflection of how I dress but also my lifestyle. We sell street wear, surf brands and lifestyle brands which all speak to me or my past in some way. My style is definitely not defined by one brand which is probably why I have so many brands in the shop, they all have elements which I love and couldn't live without.



Mikayla:

What are some of your favourite looks for Fall 2014 so far?

Grace:

Fall is probably most people's favourite season, and I'm excited to see the crop top trend continue with high waisted skinnies. The look I'm most excited about seeing people rock this season is the 90's grunge look. Plaid, ripped jeans, combat boots, oversized crop sweaters and patterned dresses. Welcome back 90's!

Mikayla:

When you took on Mad Monkey Clothing, did you feel pressured at all, or feel overwhelmed?

Grace:

I took over Mad Monkey Clothing in February 2008. February has 28 days in the month and that year we had 12 snow storms. "Freaking out" is an understatement about my first month as a business owner. But I worked hard, spread the word about my little business and made it work. Because I was determined that snow couldn't beat me!



Mikayla:

Being a young, successful woman in a small community, many young individuals look up to people like you. What would be your advice to those who want to pursue a career in the fashion industry?

Grace:

The fashion industry is a huge world with tons of opportunity. However, as glamorous as people believe these jobs to be, they are hard. And you need a good brain and tons of creativity to survive. Some people believe I have the most magical, amazing and fun job in the world, it is that, but it's also tons of work. Work hard, know your stuff, become an expert in your field and people won't be able to refuse you. Be better than anyone else!

Mikayla:

When you were my age (18 or so) who did you look up to? What inspired you?

Grace:

When I was your age (and don't laugh), I loved Britney Spears. And this is not the Britney we know now, but the new, exciting, beautiful girl she started off as being. She wore what she wanted, and always pushed the limits of fashion. She was unique, new and she could dance! I was captivated! It's funny, Britney and I are the same age and still have a lot in common, but if there's anything I've learned from her, it's not to shave your head, surround yourself with positive people and never give up!  She's still going...and so am I!



Mikayla:

What did you learn by taking Philosophy and Women's Studies that you see applying to your day job now?

Grace:

It's funny, I do not have a degree in business, or accounting or math, or even fashion studies for that matter. I have a degree in Philosophy and Women's Studies. But I think it suits me just fine. The philosophy side of me allows me to think critically and helps me to make hard business decisions while the women's studies side gives me ways in which I can relate to the many different women perspectives and personalities.

Mikayla:

Since you are very busy and have a lot of responsibilities, how do you manage it? Any coping strategies you have learned over the years?

Grace:

How do I manage my crazy life? Good question. One day at a time. But I must say, having positive and supportive people in your life and in your business is key. Finding good employees and managing them is quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever done in my job. But I've had the pleasure to have worked with some amazing girls who have helped me grow my business to what it is today.



Mikayla:

Are there any other fashion or beauty related things you have yet to accomplish?

Grace:

I'm really happy working hard at the shop and growing Mad Monkey Clothing into a bigger and better business each year. I do eventually want to teach young people all the things that I've learned by being an entrepreneur. I've started working with Humber College and I hold work shops and give talks on how to get started etc. It's fun and I love sharing!



Grace was not afraid to wear whatever she liked, and does not necessarily like to follow trends, she says. Check out a style story of her's on Mad Monkey's website

What Grace Wore:

Top, Pants - Free People via Mad Monkey //
Jacket - BB Dakota via Faun //
Shoes - Nine West via Goulds Footwear //

Photos taken by Mikayla Kuehn

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