Entrepreneurship with a view: Laura Vinroot Poole

Entrepreneurship with a view: Laura Vinroot Poole
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Mix one part techie, two parts high-fashion connoisseur, and a dash of Southern charm, and you’ve got yourself local fashion phenom Laura Vinroot Poole. The indelible entrepreneur is the brains behind the Capitol boutique on Sharon Road lending itself to the lovers of names like Valentino, Givenchy, Jason Wu, and more.

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Photo courtesy of Capitol/Laura Vinroot Poole

We caught up with Laura to learn more about her stake in Charlotte’s bustling fashion scene and what it takes to create the type of city you want to live in.

Axios Charlotte: So, how long have you been in business?

Laura Vinroot Poole: Hard to believe, but it will be 20 years next year. My husband was coming to graduate school at UNC Charlotte for architecture and having left Charlotte for boarding school at age 15 and vowing never to return, I knew that in order to live here I needed to have a hand in transforming Charlotte into a city where I would want to live. Fashion was the vehicle that my husband and I chose because the field was completely open.

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Photo courtesy of Capitol/Laura Vinroot Poole

CA: Let’s talk about Charlotte’s fashion in comparison to some of the many markets you’ve shopped or drawn inspiration from. How has it evolved over time and what is to come?

LVP: Charlotte is an incredible market because people actually still dress here. People take pride in how they present themselves and I would argue that we have some of the best dressed people in the country here. I’m particularly excited about the men’s market here because we have a city that used to be full of conservative bankers that are well-traveled, smart, cultured, and now really into fashion and shopping for themselves. I can’t wait to see where we can take men’s fashion here…Saint Laurent, Dries Van Noten, and Thom Browne are collections that we’ve invested heavily in for next season and it’s thrilling to see Charlotte men rising to the occasion of the most current and respected menswear available in the world, but never before in this market.

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Photo via Instagram

CA: What opportunities exist in the Charlotte fashion space, in your opinion?

LVP: I’ve always seen Charlotte as a completely open market…if you have a great idea or concept, you will never find a city more willing to support you and get excited for what you are doing than Charlotte. The people here are not jaded…designers have always been blown away by our clients because they are smart, interesting, interested, socially adept, exceedingly NICE, and very chic. I think it’s a totally unique place and I feel so lucky to be able to live and work here.

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Photo courtesy of Capitol/Laura Vinroot Poole

CA: As an entrepreneur, what resources (if any) have you tapped from the local ecosystem to grow your business and establish your presence in the city.

LVP: Throughout my career, when I have had major financial and strategy questions, there are no shortage of some of the smartest business minds in the country to support me…I’ve had so many incredible mentors here. I’ve also had a wonderful relationship with the Center for Intentional Leadership. We have invested heavily in the personal and professional growth of our entire team and require all of our leadership team to complete the individual Intentional Leadership Course. Engaging with them has completely changed the way we work (and live, for that matter) and it’s the best investment we have ever made.

CA: As a creative business owner, how do you keep your clients coming back?

LVP: You have to inspire them and YOURSELF every day. If you aren’t excited, then it’s hard to get the clients excited. My team loves what they do…they love fashion and they love people…and if they don’t it tends not to be a great fit. All of us also love Charlotte and we are very inspired to make Charlotte better and more beautiful every day.

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Photo courtesy of Capitol/Laura Vinroot Poole

CA: What have been some of your biggest lessons learned in maintaining a physical space, busy schedule, and staying sustainable?

LVP: Being married to an architect has been helpful to teach me that projects are very rarely ever finished…I think it is important to always look at the stores with fresh eyes and never be afraid to improve upon them. I walk in the stores every morning and try to look at them as a client would…it the music too loud? Is it too hot? What does it smell like? Are the collections organized in an understandable way? Are there tons of things I would want to buy? Is there a salesperson with whom I can connect here? Would I be excited to shop here? Really…how would I wish to be treated as a client here? Everyone on my team thinks that way and we talk about it and analyze it—a lot. Only when the client comes first can you offer a truly luxury shopping experience.

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Photo courtesy of Capitol/Laura Vinroot Poole

Catch up with Capitol on Instagram, shop local boutiques with the House Account app, or visit the boutique at 4010 Sharon Road.

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