As more shoppers turn to online, major retailers including Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Sears have seen sales decline and have closed stores.
Some Westchester entrepreneurs are not only bucking the trend and opening brick and mortar stores, they’re keeping it all in the family.
Two women-owned retailers have opened local stores. Both are betting on female shoppers enjoying the hunt for unique fashion in person instead of online.
Inspo, a new boutique that mixes art and fashion, opened in Pelham this spring and hits the right note with female clients.
Instagram users will recognize #inspo as a popular hashtag for fashionistas and in this case it means city fashion in Westchester. The store is owned by mother and daughter team Janice Harding and Ginghi Clarke.
It’s a place that encourages shoppers to linger after they get in the door. A bowl of fresh water and doggy snacks along with a small table and crayons mean the clientele is specific to local mommies who may be totting family members and pets but want to shop unencumbered while they browse for home goods and clothing.
Daughter and mom — who go by the nicknames Gin and Jan — opened the store in May.
“I’m always into style,” says Clarke. “I started designing as a teen with prom dresses in high school done from sketches. I love putting things together and believe in making everything beautiful.”
The store has her imprint, with dark hardwood floors, glass chandeliers and soft color velvet seating. Clarke has a background in real estate and insurance and has been able to turn her hobby into her work.
“In the past two years I’ve been thinking about my calling and my passion is for for fashion and creativity,” she says.
In light of all the major store closures this year, she says the secret of success is still pleasing the customer. “I think with any business there is a chance of survival if the product and service are superb, and I’m always working towards that,” says Clarke.
She and her mom divvy up the work — she handles most of the buying and selling of retail; her mom is the artist responsible for the acrylic paintings hanging throughout the shop. “The thought behind this was her cultivating her artwork and we thought why not make…