After eight years working for a construction firm, an Irish mother of three girls decided it was time to change direction in her career, so she followed her dreams and recently opened up a women’s clothing boutique called Sea in Nyack, New York.
Louise Higgins, 26, from Dundalk, County Louth, has spent the last eight years of her life in New York working for one of the city’s largest Irish construction firms, JT Magen. She currently holds the position of financial manager.
Although Higgins enjoys the job very much and is still employed by the company, she decided late last year, while pregnant with her third child, Jane (now seven months), that she wanted to do something fun and girly with her life that at the same time provided her, her three girls, Jane, Nicole, six, Emma, five, and her fiancée Ruairi Duffy, with a stable future.
While pregnant with Jane, Higgins, who showed an interest in fashion at a very young age, threw around the idea of opening her own clothing store.
“I really wanted to do something for me and to have more free time in the future,” said Higgins, who admits that at the moment she is working long hours to get her business off the ground.
“So I thought about opening up a clothing boutique,” she added. “When the store gets off its feet I’m really looking forward to the idea of having more time with the kids and having a very successful business, maybe even a chain of stores.”
Higgins, who lives in Woodlawn, an Irish neighborhood in the Bronx, shopped around for the right location for months. She finally settled on a quaint shop front on Main Street in Nyack, New York.
“I love Nyack because it has a great mix of people, very diverse,” said Higgins.
After securing a store, Higgins traveled to various trade shows in the U.S. and over to Europe to carefully select the merchandise she now sells in her boutique.
“I will be choosing clothes to sell in the store that will meet everyone’s fashion style and budget,” said the Louth native.
Higgins’ love for fashion coupled with her entrepreneurial drive has made her first week in business a great success.
“I’m really enjoying it so far. Business has just been fantastic,” she said.
“We have only been opened a week and we have had a lot of foot traffic through the place, a lot of whom purchased clothes they liked, and told me they would be back again.”
Higgins’s boutique, Sea (so named because she has always had a love of the sea), has rails of elegant clothing, including pieces from Frye, Oasis, Vera Moda and Tracey Reese.
“Oasis and Vera Moda are very popular with the girls at home, so it was a must for me to be able to offer clothing from these design houses to my customers,” Higgins said.
“I buy clothes that I love and that my friends love,” she added.
Higgins, who said Diane Von Furstenberg is one of her favorite designers, hopes to bring a bit of the city to the suburbs.
“I’ve already had a lot of Irish girls come up from Woodlawn and Yonkers to buy clothes in the past few days and I’m hoping, once word gets out that an Irish girl owns a clothes shop in Nyack, that lots more will come up to visit me here,” adds Higgins.
Aside from the elegant racks of dresses, skirts, shirts and trousers, Sea also carries shoes, vintage jewelry (several pieces with a Claddagh twist), bags and belts.
“Because we are just opened a week I’m still getting stock in every day so I’m really just getting everything up off the ground, but soon enough we will have a lot more to offer from a variety of designers, both American, South American and European,” she said.
Higgins, whose store is located on 88 Main Street, Nyack, New York, said she credits the love from her family and her fiancée, Ruairi, who works for Eurotech Construction, as the reason she has the boutique at all.
“My family, friends, Ruairi and the girls have been really supportive and fantastic in all of this, and I know I will have them by my side as Sea gets bigger and more stores open in New York in years to come,” said Higgins.