Women in Business: Elizabeth Sansom

Posted in: Women in Business


“The town had done a survey and one of the things they wanted to see in Napanee was a high end lingerie store. It will be 9 years and growing all the time.” Elizabeth Sansom, owner of Milady’s Lace on Dundas Street tells us about her origins. She came here with her husband when Goodyear Tires opened up in Napanee 30 years ago. She spent time researching and preparing to open her store and even spent some time with the owner of Port Perry’s Ooh La La. “She helped me in a lot of ways to understand how to get training and how to go ahead. Since then she has closed her store but we keep in contact all the time.”

Milady’s Lace is a unique store in our downtown where each employee is professionally trained in bra fitting. “Women who are breast cancer survivors should definitely not have to wear anything different than what they want. In our store they are able to modify any bra or swimsuit into a mastectomy bra or swimsuit. That is important to me.” They also carry the SAXX line for men.

10 days after Elizabeth opened Milady’s Lace her husband sadly passed away. “I poured myself into working in this store. Everything happens for a reason and I moved forward with the help of Tracey Snow.” Tracey the Business Development Officer for the County of Lennox and Addington. Her team and her customers have always encouraged her along and motivated her to keep moving. She says it was “the customers coming in and being fitted in proper bras and my staff here really being enthusiastic about growing the business and the product.”

Elizabeth has learned a lot about business in last decade but still faces hard decisions all the time. Her advice to those who may want to follow in her footsteps though is to “research and research and talk to people who are not in the area you want to open in. They will advise you on things to do and things not to do. Build a good business plan and leave room in that plan to make changes. I still operate on a three year business plan. At the end of one year I do my next year. This was on the advice of Tracey when I first started and I’m pretty much on track.”

“I think there is no other place to have a business than Downtown Napanee because all the other businesses work together and support each other and if you don’t have what they want we make sure they go to other stores in our town.” We are certainly glad that Elizabeth and her remarkable staff are here!