By Meredith Lane


I had been hearing about Peplum, this awesome new boutique in Chevy Chase, for several weeks. When I walked in the door and met Lauren West, one of the owners, I instantly understood all the hype! The store itself is bright, beautiful and inviting — and Lauren is too! Plus, their inventory is fantastic.

Peplum offers “nice easy price points” with styles that are both trendy and classic. “We did a ton of research,” West said. “I looked in my own closet to see what brands I was wearing and then started doing research on those brands. Then I really started expanding my collections.” She also talked to other people who had boutiques and picked their brains for advice.

The store carries a vast selection of clothing, jewelry, accessories, gifts, shoes and bags. Brands include Adelyn Rae, Rebels, Bishop & Young, Endless Rose, English Factory, THML and GLAM. Everything is priced less than $150!

For Peplum, it truly is a family affair. For starters, opening the store was actually Lauren’s husband’s idea. “I think he thought I may have a shopping problem,” she said laughing. He suggested that she channel that energy and enthusiasm into a business. “I knew I wanted to work for myself but it took me years to figure out that this was what I wanted to do.” She added,

“I grew up in an entrepreneurial mindset type of family, so while jumping into a new business venture was scary, I had my family’s support and experience behind me as backup.”

The next family member to jump in: her mother! “My mom, Diane Henson, is my business partner and I absolutely could not do this without her.” West’s parents are in construction. Her sister, Clare Henson, co-owns Market on National. “Clare was a huge help with the layout and design and since our dad is a general contractor, he was able to do the build out. Then my other sister Meredith has been so awesome and helpful as well. She’s a teacher and while she was off of school this summer, she worked in the store a lot, which allowed my mom and I to go to market a couple of times and for my husband and I to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip with friends,” West said. Sometimes in life and in business, it truly does take a village!

Now that Peplum is off the ground and gaining great success, Lauren and Diane are excited for what is to come next. They also want to encourage others who are on the fence about pursuing their dreams to just go for it. When Lauren was in the beginning stages of Peplum, she was talking to another woman who was leaving her job to start a new career and her advice resonated. She said, “I realized the only reason I wasn’t going out and pursuing my dreams was because of the fear. And I realized that was no way to live my life: making decisions based on fear. So I am just going to do it.” Hearing those words from someone West admired was a turning point for the young entrepreneur. “Everything was just lining up: my mom coming in as my business partner, my husband being super supportive, the perfect location being available. It just all came together. You just have to believe in yourself.”

Peplum is located at 824 Euclid Avenue in the former Handpicked space.•