Resident brings East Coast fashion to Barrington
Leslie Roberts operates a local outlet for Carlisle Fashions from her Barrington home. She sells the line professional women's clothes out of her home. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Local rep: Leslie Roberts
Product: Exclusive line of women’s clothing
Contact: (847) 381-4959
Updated: December 9, 2012 6:40AM
BARRINGTON — Barrington resident Leslie Roberts always had an interest in fashion.
Before she moved to the area from Pennsylvania more than 20 years ago, she represented New York-based Carlisle Fashions. When Roberts settled in Barrington, she brought the home-based business operation with her.
And those East Coast stylings have proved to be popular locally, too.
Roberts said about 80 percent of her clients have been buying clothes from her for almost as long as she’s been in Barrington.
“This is for women who hate to shop but still want to look good,” said Roberts, explaining that Carlisle Fashions offers a more personalized shopping service than going to a department store.
Carlisle markets four collections of clothes a year – one for each season. For every collection, Carlisle sends its representatives about 250 items of clothing, all in different sizes and varieties.
Roberts said she specializes in polished-looking women’s clothes that are also comfortable.
“We have everything from comfy turtlenecks to business suits,” Roberts said. “It’s not till you really see the clothes that you find out how beautiful they are.”
Roberts said Carlisle also prides itself on making clothing that last a long time.
“We’re always told they’re timeless,” Roberts said.
Carlisle also places great importance on maintaining the same colors year after year in case clients want to add to an existing outfit. Fabrics Roberts works with include silk, plaid and thicker, woven textiles.
When she receives new clothing, Roberts said she hangs it up on grids for a flat display. She also said she keeps charts on all her clients.
“I decided to set up my business like a dentist’s office,” she said.
Roberts said the majority of her clients are from the Barrington area, but she also has several clients in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. She said although she had to do a lot of cold calling at first, her business now is mostly from referrals.
“It’s been very empowering to be able to use my business skills,” she said, adding that she also mixes in her artistic skills as well.
“It’s like you’re an artist and you have this canvass,” Roberts said.
Roberts credits her husband for being supportive and allowing her to run a business while they raised their two children.
“It’s a lot of work, but to me, it’s worth it,” she said. “I’ve been able to make a nice income and own my own business. It’s been wonderful since the kids are grown because I still have something to do.”