By Joe Anuta
A new boutique and jewelry store on Sutphin Boulevard in South Jamaica doubles as a showcase for independent designers, and should be on the radar for anyone wanting to pick up some unique fashion accessories, as the name implies.
On Aug. 19, Rana Epps held the grand opening for Femme Unique, at 113-10 Sutphin Blvd., where entrepreneurs and designers mingled over wine and cheese in a sleek loft above the shop.
Epps wanted to create a venue for smaller companies that might not get exposure at any of the plentiful shopping centers around the borough. And in the process, she hoped to carve out a niche for herself.
“It’s about creating a community of entrepreneurs,” Epps said down in the small showcase room, which is co-located inside of Scuptors Day Spa at the same address.
Epps runs the jewelry side of her store as a sort of baseline to keep things constant and make enough money to pay the rent.
But each month, she will pick a different designer to feature for a showcase in the shop, where curious customers can pop in for something different.
To kick off the rotation, Epps will be selling limited-edition graphic T-shirts made by a company called Collosha, which prints organic-looking designs influenced by the wilds of Asia and the creatures that inhabit it, according to Epps.
At the grand opening, she nearly sold out of a series of quilted handbags made by a woman from Long Island.
And there is much more to come.
Epps has her monthly schedule booked until March. For example, one upcoming artist creates shirts specifically designed to go with Nike Air Jordan sneakers.
The entrepreneur does not have a scientific approach to booking her showcases. Finding them just seems to be in her blood.
“It’s just who I am,” she said. “I’m a people person, so it’s just easy.”
In addition to designers, the first-time business owner is also encouraging anyone from outside South Jamaica to come down in order to dispel any myths about the area.
“Some people think negatively about this neighborhood,” said Epps, who has lived in the vicinity for 33 years. “But this is something positive.”
The grand opening was also a family affair.
As people showed up for the party, Epps’ uncle suddenly took it upon himself to provide valet parking.
“That was my favorite part,” an ebullient Epps said after the event’s conclusion. “I never asked him to do that.”
Femme Unique is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and can be reached at 718-772-8878.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.