By Rebecca Henely
To make it as a clothing retailer in Astoria, Kristie Foster of the boutique KrisTEES said you need to compete with Manhattan.
At her store, at 24-01 23rd Ave., which sells contemporary women’s fashion by independent designers, Foster hosted a shopping event with state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) Dec. 12 to promote small business shopping.
Foster was joined by the owner of a pop-up shop in the back of KrisTEES, Peter Valcarcel, and Anna Krill, president of local cancer care and support group SHAREing and CAREing.
“I feel like I’m in the Lower East Side or shopping in SoHo,” Simotas said of KrisTEES. “This store represents what Astoria is becoming.”
A portion of the proceeds for the evening’s shopping went to SHAREing and CAREing.
Foster, who used to work in the fashion industry, has been operating KrisTEES for six years. To entice shoppers who would be more inclined to take the N train into Manhattan for clothes, KrisTEES offers unique clothing by designers from New York and California but also from countries like Denmark, Sweden, Canada and Australia — which are not sold in Manhattan.
Prices are about mid-range but of high quality, and tend to last longer that clothing bought from most stores.
“Usually they’ve heard about us and we’re here for a reason,” Foster said of her customers.
KrisTEES also offers accessories such as jewelry, hats and tote bags printed with pictures of the Hell Gate Bridge, but in the back Valcarcel, another member of the fashion industry and longtime Astoria resident, has returned and opened a temporary store.
Shoppers can purchase some of Valcarcel’s art and handmade items, as well as beautiful dishes, pillows and baby alpaca throws hand-woven by women in Peru working through an organization that helps single mothers.
“This is obviously the next step for me,” Valcarcel said. “I’ve always been a collector and an admirer of beautiful things.”
Valcarcel sells these items online at petervalcarcel.com, but working with Foster at KrisTEES has given him a temporary physical space.
“What I like about being here is obviously I can talk to people and see the things that they want,” Valcarcel said.
Krill said she was delighted to have the support of Simotas and KrisTEES for SHAREing and CAREing.
“It is the private, local business that care about their neighborhoods and it is the private, local businesses that care about their local causes,” she said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.