"I've always been interested in fashion," said Lauren Ward, owner of Zelio NOTO, a hip located in Akron's Historic District. She aims to bring affordable "big city style" to the area.
The 25-year-old Cuyahoga Falls native and graduate began her career at Wet Seal in Summit Mall while still in school. "The manager taught me a lot and she made it a cool environment," Ward said.
She learned the business, how to talk to customers and clothing arrangement. She enjoyed retail, which led to a management position, and continued in the field after graduation. She worked at Express and managed Kirkland's, both in Summit Mall.
Then she met her husband, Jakob, whose parents own The Funky Hippy. Ward credits her family for her success. "I had so much support and help from them," Ward said.
Zelio NOTO began online. She bought clothes and held a launch party in her apartment. "I had no plans for a store. We got a lot of random people there and a lot of people bought clothes," Ward said.
Ward's mother-in-law helped Lauren expand Zelio NOTO to her first location at the Northside District. Ward ran Zelio NOTO from there for six months, and then moved to her current shop at 51 E. Market Street.
NOTO means "famous" in Italian, and Jakob added Zelio. "It's kind of funky," Lauren Ward said.
Ward has been featured in Akron Life and made four appearances on Robin Swoboda's former Fox 8 television show That's Life. This year marks NOTO's third fashion show, scheduled for June 18 at 8 p.m.
"The style of the show is going to be kind of 50s," Ward said. "The dresses are feminine and very vintage."
in Cuyahoga Falls will take care of the hair and makeup for models walking the runway.
Tickets are $32 and can be purchased online. "Everyone gets a free gift," Lauren said. All featured styles will be available for purchase immediately after the show.