Brown Fox: Oakland Avenue’s New York-Style Boutique

Brown Fox

by Jean Scherwenka

Lolita Dorsey, Brown Fox Boutique’s owner and operator, uses her contrasting life experiences to define what she wants – and then goes out and gets it. A striking woman always dressed in the latest styles, she actually grew up as a tomboy, jumping out of trees and doing flips with her two older brothers. “I didn’t start getting girly until about 12 or 14 years old,” she says. “And then I was all about making weird, different stuff.”

Coming from a long line of creative entrepreneurs, Dorsey can’t remember a time when her mother didn’t own a store. She grew up working in the store where a lot of her mother’s business savvy “rubbed off” on her. But Dorsey didn’t really think about owning her own store back then – it seemed too confining at the time.

She got her store idea while working in corporate America. “I knew that I didn’t want to stay there,” she says. “I just didn’t fit. So I started designing earrings, something I did as a young girl. I created a website called Brown Fox and started designing the jewelry for different boutiques in the area.”

“The website was going great,” she says, “but I wanted to do more with clothing. I had some on the website, but I wanted a place where people could come in and actually feel and touch it.” About that time a store opportunity came to her. “It was a natural progression for me. I took over the lease and thought, ‘I’ll try this.’” The Brown Fox opened its door June 1, 2004 at 3475 N. Oakland Ave., and grew into a New York style boutique.

The store carries styles “for women who want to be different and be noticed, women who see clothing as their way of expressing themselves,” says Dorsey. “They’ll find trendy items here that feel comfortable, and they’ll stand out in a crowd.” She also believes they’ll find an honest sales person and prices that beat any other boutique in the city.

“As a sales person, I’m different from a lot of the others. If something doesn’t look right on you, I’ll definitely let you know, because I don’t want you to walk around looking stupid. When you come out of the store, I want you to feel good, I want you to be happy with your purchase, and I just have to be honest, even if it costs me a sale.”

Dorsey continues to create and sell her own line of jewelry along with shoes, purses, hats and other accessories. After two successful years as a one-person operation, she has faced her share of frustrations and challenges. “I still love it,” she says. “Even after a bad day, I come back the next morning, and it’s all okay. I still love it.”

Brown Fox Boutique, 3475 N. Oakland Avenue Tues-Sat 11-6 414-332-2667

Riverwest Currents online edition – September, 2006