NEW JERSE Y MONTHLY March 2015 23
MEN’S :: WOMEN’S :: GADGETS :: HOME :: FOOD :: BEAUTY :: KIDS
At long last, mom and daughter land the ideal location
for their trendsetting apparel boutique.
CONNIE AND CHRISTYN HAGELIN first decided
to open a women’s apparel boutique in Morristown three years ago, but they couldn’t afford
the coveted downtown South Street real estate.
So, in December 2011 they launched Top This
in a more affordable but hard-to-find location: a
tiny, 1,200-square-foot basement store accessible
only through a parking lot behind South Street.
The Hagelins weren’t too concerned about being
off the beaten path. “We could afford to make
mistakes there,” reflects Connie. “It was like Field
of Dreams; if you build it, they will come.” The two
scoured trade shows from coast to coast and focused on carrying labels not found in department
stores. Customers loved the store’s fresh looks, and
word of mouth spread fast.
After building a client base and scouting locations, the pair made the bold move last December
to a more prominent, three-story space on the
corner of South and Madison streets. “At first we
wanted to be down by the Green, but there’s no
parking there,” says Connie. Aptly renamed Boutique 161 in honor of the new address, the store
has both visibility and its own parking lot. The
1,700-square-foot main floor—formerly Camille’s,
a sandwich shop—is flooded with natural light
from eight Palladian windows. The second floor is
reserved for private fittings, personal styling and
parties; there’s even a staff lounge, an office and a
basement for storage.
Boutique 161 has the same fashion-forward
spirit as Top This. “We want our customers to
have a reason to come to us,” says Connie. “They
can’t find these labels at the mall.” As a former
vice president of Macy’s in Livingston, Connie
has had her fill of predictable looks. Boutique 161
carries little-known but exciting labels like Stella
and Jamie, Three Dots and Red Haute.
“Our customer base is so broad,” says Connie.
“We have girls in their teens all the way up to
70-somethings; they all like fashion.”
161 South Street, Morristow
One-of-a-kind, blue druzy
agate geode ring in 24-karat
gold plate setting; $42.
Colorful wallets for fresh
style on the go; $28 each.
Swarovski Crystal mesh
Versatile Soho tote with
cowhide leather and
zipper detailing; $298.