Liz Haan’s Marie La Mode Boutique Follows Family Legacy of Faith in God

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Marie La Mode Cutline No. 1-1Liz Haan is an passionate fashionista. Liz Haan is a goal setter. Following the grand opening of her boutique, Marie La Mode at 910 Cherry St. SE in Grand Rapids, Haan set a weekly sales target for her 1,500-square foot store.

But at the close of a recent week, it appeared she would fall $400 short of that goal.

And then at the 11th hour, a couple walked into her women's clothing store and — wait for it — purchased $400 worth of merchandise.

But what the 29-year-old Haan gained wasn't just making ends meet, but another lesson in faith.

"I was worried and wasn't trusting You," said Haan. "You sent in a couple and it was perfect a little reminder You're still here still paying attention."

Twin rudders of entrepreneurship and faith

Entrepreneurship and faith are the twin rudders with Haan's family. Her grandfather, Paul Hense, is the retired president of local accounting firm Hense & Associates. Her parents, Jeff and Debbi Nol, own Arie Nol Auto Center in Kentwood.

And now Haan is blazing her own retail trail as sole proprietor/buyer/sales person of her storefront start up, a business venture that initially began as a mobile boutique that drove to farmers' markets and other venues to sell her wares. There were limits to selling jeans, tops and dresses this way, she acknowledges.

"It was seasonal," said Haan. "It was hard for our customers. They wanted us (to sell) all the time and they had to travel to find us and really wanted us to open a store."

'The style'

Marie La Mode Cutline No. 2-1Marie La Mode is located at 910 Cherry St. SE. So in May of this year that's what Haan did, naming her boutique Marie La Mode because Marie is her middle name and La Mode is French for "fashion" or "the style." Finding just the right moniker wasn't a cakewalk, she says.

"I wanted it to sound different," said Haan, a 2012 graduate of Central Michigan University with bachelor's degree in merchandising and a minor in advertising. "Everybody is about something and something and I just wanted it to be different. That (name) kind of just came to me and it worked and nobody else had it."

Her decision to focus her business on women's clothes is a hand-in-glove fit.

"I just love clothes and helping women feel their best," she said. "It makes a huge difference when you like what you have on. It's like a mood boaster. if I can do that for everybody that's great."

Haan describes her decision to open a boutique "like a leap of faith" knowing the Lord guides the path of those who follow Him.

And for Haan, that provides her with an enduring confidence.

God-given talent

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"I was brought up in church but I don't think you really feel God working in you until you meet Him," said Haan. "When I started this, it was like a leap of faith. I took $2,000 of the $4,000 out of savings to start the boutique. God gave me the talent and personality and hard work ethic ... for a reason. It's just trust 100 percent. He already knows if I'm going to succeed or fail. He already knows the end of the story."

She also is grateful God gave her a family who understands the trials of running their own business.

"I can go to them and tell them I'm really struggling with this," she said. "My grandpa talked about the time he was sitting in bed (about a problem) and went to his office at 3 in the morning because he figured it out."

She says she's learned the value of being quick to listen and slow to speak.

"One thing I've learned is you learn so much by listening," said Haan. "My husband is amazing at being the best listener in the world."

Haan recently hired her sister-in-law part time. She and her husband, Chris, attend the Kentwood campus of Ada Bible Church. The couple has two Shelties, Josie and Lucy.

Haan has her sites set on future goals as well.

"I would love to at some point not to work so much in the store but being able to do more with what I've been given like speaking or volunteering, she said.

Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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