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Viva 'The Difference'

Cheryl LeDoux has been helping women find right styles for 31 years


Photo Credit: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: CLIFF NEWELL - After women come into Cheryl LeDouxs The Difference for the first time, they are liable to come back again and again and again.

Cheryl LeDoux has absolutely no complaints about her many years as owner of her women’s style shop The Difference.

Except maybe one.

“I’m not quite sure what to call it,” LeDoux said. “It’s much more than a shop. We do so much more than the average store.”

LeDoux has been able to find the answer for everything else at The Difference, which has been operating in Lake Oswego for the past 31 years. Not only is The Difference a welcome change from the exasperating experience of shopping in a mall, but the women’s clothing, makeup and accessory store specializes in helping woman find just the right style and look for each stage of her life.

As LeDoux puts it, “Our clients are part of our family.”

It is one big happy family. LeDoux has known many of her customers for many years, from the time when they were teenagers trying to find just the right makeup to when they are mothers of teenagers themselves. The Difference has been a great resource in helping women go through the passages of life.

The reason The Difference has had such success and longevity is that LeDoux has examined the stages of her own life as a woman and passed it on to others.

“Making a difference in women’s lives is not clothes, makeup or accessories,” LeDoux said. “Anyone can put clothes on you or sell accessories. It’s about finding their uniqueness and personal style. We help them find their styles and feel good about themselves. We help them find their inner beauty. When women find their styles, they say ‘Ah, yes!’”

The trend toward helping women find their personal styles rather than just selling them clothes began just about when LeDoux opened The Difference in Lake Oswego. It started out mainly as finding the colors that suited women the best. But the business quickly evolved.

“That was the seed of the business, but there is much more to it than that,” LeDoux said. “There is so much more involved than helping women with their wardrobes. There is so much more individualism. A woman has a major change in her life every 10 years. Their bodies change, their careers change — there’s career, parenthood and retirement.”

Not only do women change but fashions change, and LeDoux, of course, keeps a sharp eye out for the trends.

Ultimately, though, she says, “Our clients teach us.”

If young women starting their business careers think LeDoux is a fountain of wisdom, they are right.

“Surround yourself with good people,” she advises. “I have a wonderful staff here. Believe in what you’re doing, be genuine and have integrity. Also have perseverance. Know why you’re doing what you are doing.”

A big key for LeDoux keeping her work fresh is that she has a great outside interest.

“You wouldn’t believe it to look at me, but I’m a cowgirl,” LeDoux said. “I train and develop horses. I do ranch work and cutting, and I herd cattle.”

You need a horse to keep up with Cheryl LeDoux. She is as ambitious as ever to help all the women she can find their inner beauty.

“Our best advertising is our clients,” LeDoux said. “There was one client who told me, ‘I had three women tell me about you.’

“I want to reach those women. I want to help their lives be so much smoother.”

The Difference is located at 17750 Lower Boones Ferry Road. To find out more, go to thedifferencepdx.com or call 503-636-4261. The shop is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Contact Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or cnewell@lakeoswego

review.com.

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