Surrounded by new restaurants, businesses and ongoing construction, Halsey Street is a microcosm of Newark’s growth potential. The street is located in one of the city’s most desirable locations and serves as a prime area for economic and cultural growth. For SHE Boutique owners Tina Owugah and Lanel Lundy-Pascal, a window on Halsey street serves as an introduction of their brand to the blooming city.
With a 25 year friendship between them, Owugah, a clinical trial head at Novartis pharmaceuticals, and Lundy-Pascal, a former executive secretary at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, are match made in small business heaven. Both women had the itch to start a business, but couldn’t decide on what to do.
“My partner [Lundy-Pascal] and I had been thinking about opening a business for a while, but we weren’t sure what to do, until this opportunity just fell in our laps,” said Owugah.
Prior to SHE Boutique becoming a reality, 83 Halsey street was home to Luxe Boutique, a women’s consignment clothing store. Owugah, who patronized the braiding store below her current location, was intrigued when she encountered the store boarded up on more than one occasion.
“I have been taking my kids to the braid shop here for years. And one day, I came to visit and I asked ‘What’s going on with the boutique upstairs, why is it always closed?’” said Owugah.
“I asked the landlord to call me, and he said that they were in the process of moving the former tenant out. I said as soon as that’s sorted out, please call me. Just knowing the construction that was going on, with Prudential and the growth on Halsey Street and the growth in Newark, period, especially in the downtown area, the space was perfect,” she continued.
Decorated with a plush zebra skin rug and racks of figure-hugging dresses and custom-made ankara ensembles, SHE Boutique posits itself as the fashion destination for anyone looking for original clothing pieces from local Newark designers, as well as affordable, trend-driven contemporary options.
After a seven-month wait for the former occupant to completely vacate the location, Owugah and Pascal-Lundy were tasked with making SHE Boutique the destination it is now in a very short time.
“It took us literally like two months to kind of get in here paint, do what was necessary, like get some equipment and supplies, get things going, promote, and open.” said Owugah.
In nine months, the location quickly transformed from a space in transition to a fully stocked clothing boutique and fashion destination.
In addition to serving as a boutique, sometimes Owugah and Lundy-Pascal transform the Halsey location into a miniature runway to promote local designers like Anthony Eastwick and Bariel Dean. The owners plan to expand the store, but not in the way most will expect from a fashion boutique. SHE, which is also an acronym for Spiritual Healing and Empowerment, moonlights as a women’s group that aims to work with women “from the inside out”.
According to a statement released by the owners, fashion is only the beginning of SHE boutique’s journey.
“We want to not only be a boutique, but also a very strong presence in the community that offer promotions and special events to help uplift and support all women.”
SHE boutique is located on 83 Halsey St. Newark, NJ. For more, visit their Instagram page.