As department stores unload mass shipments in anticipation of the holiday season, one Westlake shop has decked their halls with hand-selected wares customers may not find anywhere else.

From silk velvet pumpkins stuffed with hazelnut shells to terracotta bread warming plates and handcrafted Italian leather jewelry, Lizzylu has spent a decade selling unique gifts while giving back to the local community.

In a nutshell

Every year, Lizzylu founder Gene Attal and his son Christopher Attal attend artisan markets around the country in search of decor, home goods, accessories and artwork to fill their shop.

"I'm a relationship person. We want to be able to talk to the artists and say, 'How is this made?' and see the passion that they have for that product," Christopher said. "That way you can come back, regurgitate it to the customer, and they can feel excited about the product as well."

Christopher said a large portion of the items in the store are handmade, and if they see another boutique in the area selling the same product, they are more likely to discontinue selling that product.

Thanks to their unique sourcing methods, Lizzylu has also been able to dodge some of the supply chain struggles following the pandemic, Christopher said.

The backstory

An Austin-native, Gene began his 35-year career in charitable giving as the president of the Seton Foundation, a nonprofit medical organization associated with Seton Healthcare. As president, he led fundraising efforts and managed the organization's gift shop, Sweet Charity, for 14 years.

In 2017, Gene brought Lizzylu from 35th Street to Westlake with plans to give back directly to the community where his children were raised.

These days, Christopher manages the shop alongside his sister and a handful of volunteers.

"I've pretty much retired from the store since I'm older, but I still hang out from time to time," Gene said. "It's truly a mom-and-pop business."

What's in a name

Lizzylu was named after Christopher's three daughters—Lily, Izzy and Gabilu, he said.

Looking ahead

Lizzylu volunteers pick a new local charity to donate proceeds from each quarter. Most recently, they chose the Zachary Scott Theatre in Austin.

During the holiday season, they host a fundraiser for the Eanes Education Foundation, a nonprofit that provides funds for teachers within Eanes ISD. Each year, the shop helps design a unique Christopher Radko Christmas ornament themed for Westlake High School, and 20% of the ornament sales go to the organization.

The reveal of this year's ornament will happen Nov. 30, and based on previous years, the ornament is likely to sell out on the same day, Christopher said.