This week I had the pleasure to sit down with Brenda, the owner of the fabulous Darcy Park Boutique in Manasquan, NJ. We discussed what she loves about running a business in Monmouth County, and what she has in store for us in 2022!
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in Virgina, right outside of DC. After college I made my way North and called NYC home for close to 15 years. I met my husband there and we made a wonderful life focusing on our careers and travel. Once my husband and I started vacationing at the Jersey Shore we fell in love with the beach lifestyle….a few years later we sold our apartment in Manhattan, moved to West Belmar and opened my dream boutique!
Tell us about your business!
As a 40 year old something woman I looked around and noticed there were no women’s stores catering to someone my age. I wanted to find clothing that fit my lifestyle; casual afternoons, date nights, girl weekend getaways, while remaining age appropriate. I couldn’t find what I was looking for so I decided to create it! I opened my dream boutique with an emphasis on dressing the busy working woman and mom. I carry trendy, affordable and chic lines that help women look and feel good. I know when I feel good in an outfit I hold my head higher and enjoy myself more. That is the feeling I want every woman to feel when she is wearing the clothes she purchased at Darcy Park.
What’s your background? What made you go into what you’re doing now?
I don’t have a formal fashion background but have always loved fashion. I pay close attention to trends that fit my lifestyle and modify as needed. This passion for clothing has helped me curate and select brands that fit my target customer. So far so good!
What do you love about having a business in Monmouth County?
I love my clients, both those that shop in store and online! I receive daily DM’s from clients asking about a particular outfit I have posted, pictures of them in Darcy Park styles and have been able to turn clients into friends. Having a brick and mortar store in Manasquan has helped me meet so many interesting women from all over NJ and beyond!
What has been the most challenging part of running your business during Covid and how did you over come it?
Covid rocked everyone’s world, including the clothing industry. Women couldn’t go out so there was no need to shop at the level of years past. The stoppage and slow down of the supply chain impacted my vendors and brands as they were also at a standstill with manufacturing and shipping. Not only had I just relocated to a location down the street I now found myself having to pivot my once thriving in-store business to a strong online model…not an easy task! I hired a web designer to create my online presence, increased my Instagram posting and pushed my clients to my online site. My online sales have been growing and now I have increased my customer base from Florida to California! So while Covid hurt my business initially it also forced me outside of my comfort zone and into online sales.
What are some exciting plans you have for Darcy Park in 2022?
I will be bringing in new brands that are eco-friendly and made from sustainable materials. We will be offering private 1:1 styling sessions, introducing quarterly personalized style boxes, working with some charities, hosting in-person “Wine and Wear” fundraisers and bringing in more color to my clothing.
What is you favorite business in Monmouth County (other than yours!)?
My favorite place for an amazing meal is Blend on Main in Manasquan. My go to for avocado toast is Homegrown in Manasquan- they nail it! I love getting my nails done at Sunny’s in Sea Girt and I only trust the gals at Salon Cartage with my hair. This entire area is filled with resilient small businesses and I am proud to be a part of this community.