Originally from Western Pennsylvania, and raised in Kentucky, you wouldn’t say Connie Leál grew up in the fashion world, but that’s where you can find her now. Owner of Leál Clothing Boutique (2128 Arlington Avenue) in Upper Arlington, Leál says she always knew she loved fashion, she just didn’t know when she’d pursue her dream. “I have always been aware of style trends,” she says. “And I have always tried to create my own unique sense of style, even when I was a little girl.”
Leál received a degree in accounting and began her career working as a retail consultant for Arthur Anderson in Kentucky and followed that with roles at the firm’s Columbus office and a position at the Limited. Leál decided it was time to break into the fashion world, opening her own boutique in 1993. She felt her background in retail consulting and accounting gave her the perfect groundwork for running a business. Her own keen sense of style is what she hoped would make it unique.
But she wasn’t just looking to open just any clothing store. Leál says she wanted to bring more stylish fashion items to Columbus and wanted to do so in a friendly, neighborhood environment, rather than a big mall. “Being on Arlington Avenue helps us offer an elegant, warm environment and allows us to give special attention to everyone who comes into our boutique. We don’t look at people and see a sale; we look at them as potential, long-term relationships and we aim to help them develop their own unique sense of style.”