Leyariza Castanos and Minerva Guerrero met when they both worked entry-level retail jobs in college. Never content with the lower tier of the fashion industry, they used to talk about eventually owning their own clothing store. “One day.”
The day came in June, when the longtime friends opened LeMí on Broad Street in Ridgewood. “We went our own ways for a time, but we had originally talked about it, and life got us back together,” Castanos said.
She had studied fashion in college and dabbled in shoes and online sales afterward. In early ventures they had established a clientele around New Jersey, and when the time came to open the store Ridgewood seemed an ideal location.
Selling mostly tops, dresses, and accessories, the store caters to 20-35 women, as Castanos sums up her clientele: “You’re going out with our girlfriends? Let’s go to LeMí and pick up a dress, and let’s go.”
They also cater to those serious about fashion. The partners frequent conventions to find vendors they like, and those who produce unique clothing. “They specialize in small boutiques like mine. They don’t oversell to Macy’s or Forever 21, big clothing stores like that,” Castanos said.
So customers of LeMí are unlikely to find their purchases replicated in another store—or even on another day at the Ridgewood boutique. “Part of the culture of LeMí is to not repeat the same pieces,” she added.
But, she stresses, high fashion does not necessarily mean high prices, and the governing concept of LeMí is “to bring fashion to ladies at reasonable prices.” They sum up their business model as boutique clothing at affordable prices.
They say business has gone well since their June opening, and they plan a fashion show for Saturday at 7:00 pm. The outing will be free, and provide an opportunity see modeling of the store’s fashion.