It’s a long and winding road as the story goes…
Let me tell you a little bit of our history, our beginning before WE became US.
In the summer of 1995, I established a teaching pottery studio called Hands In Clay. I was a mother of two young boys and wanted to be able to spend time with them but also work as well. I was able to develop my business by giving pottery lessons and selling my pots at juried craft shows that were held all over New York state and as far south as Maryland.
Fast forward 5 years. The shows were becoming too hectic to travel to because leaving my young sons home with my parents or bringing them along with me to a craft show was too chaotic. How I longed to get off the road and simply turn a key in the door.
I soon developed an interest in women’s clothing. Although I had no retail experience in selling clothing, I had a natural fashion sense and intuition about it. I understood how to dress in a flattering way. There were areas of my body I liked to conceal but then highlight my more positive features. I was drawn to luxurious, comfortable fabrics in vibrant colors and patterns. My passion for clothing made me want to share my gift with other women, to show them how to dress and feel their best. I knew how confident I felt when wearing clothing that looked and felt amazing and I was certain I could build a career around this.
In the spring of 2000, I began selling clothing at my new boutique. As I delved into the world of clothing, I discovered designers I had never heard of: Bryn Walker, Cut Loose, and CMC/Click. Their silhouettes were easy to wear. The fabrics were comfortable and draped beautifully and the styles were figure flattering and timeless. I have built our business on these designers for the last 16 years.
And We Met…
When the boutique was just over a year old, I stumbled upon a chat room on AOL called “Scotland.” I had always been enamored with Scotland and Scottish accents. A connection was made and a friendship developed immediately when I met Robert, my now husband. After talking on the phone for almost a year, I invited Robert to visit me in New York. He was living in his native city Aberdeen in Scotland and working all over the world as a cook/baker/camp boss in various locations on land and also offshore in the oil industry. Long story short, Robert arrived in the United States to meet me after he completed a contract in the Mexcian Gulf, and he never left. Our friendship flourished, we fell in love, and later that year we married.
As I continued to nurture and grow the boutique, Robert decided to open his own business. With a strong background in the catering and hospitality industry having trained as a pastry chef, a bakery seemed like a great idea. He opened to rave reviews and happy locals and visitors alike.
We eventually decided to purchase a commercial building with two side by side storefronts and two apartments above. We moved our entire lives into the building, slowly renovating each space as we could. In time we were both operating our businesses respectfully and living above the stores.
We worked hard individually and together. I assisted Robert in his shop learning the ropes of the professional pastry chef and cake decorating. Rob accompanied me to buying trips to showrooms in New York City. But after about eight years, Robert decided to close his business much to the dismay of his loyal customers. The two businesses had created a huge workload for both of us and not enough positive results. So, Robert joined me in the clothing business. We worked together, with me on the floor and as the buyer for the store while Robert ran the office and overall business operations.
So we built it…
We conducted a very large expansion and renovation of the boutique which began in early winter, 2013, and months later in the spring, the new storefront opened.
It was and is beautiful, bright and spacious. We filled the space with flattering clothing from all the designers I had introduced to my customers over the last 13 years, and with the new and improved larger store space we are able to accommodate many other clothing lines. One of the reasons I love about owning an independent boutique is that I am able to carry unique and hard to find clothing lines. Our extensive inventory includes classic, timeless styles as well as unusual and attention grabbing items that can turn heads. We carry clothing that is neutral and earthy and also bright and dramatic.
I have a welcoming and friendly personality and I truly enjoy the social aspects of owning a boutique. I have made friends with many of my customers over the years. There are times when several women come into the shop all at once and their energy becomes contagious. They interact and help build each other up. I absolutely love this and thrive on it when this occurs! It makes me so happy to hear how much I have changed someone’s life when I have assisted them in finding THE perfect outfit. We strive to do what we do well: outfit women in clothing that flatters them and boosts their self confidence.
Every single person that enters our shop gets as much attention as they choose. Our staff respects those that enjoy shopping and picking clothing on their own, but we are also happy to assist those who need advice and service. We are happy to provide a quick tour of all of our different styles and designers and to show our regular shoppers what has newly arrived.
It is long overdue that Lea’s has an online presence in the world of online shopping and women’s clothing. We have decided that it is time to offer women all over the opportunity to find quality, figure flattering fashions for all lifestyles. Robert and i are proud to announce that our new online store is open! We will be working to add clothing to the website on a continuous basis so please be sure to check it often for new items. We hope you will enjoy our online shop!
We thank you for your support!