In our next Small Business Spotlight, we catch up with Pam Santorelli of Habit, a trendy women’s fashion boutique that has been bringing the latest styles to South Boston for almost ten years.
Tell us about Habit and what made you start the business?
I’d always had a passion for fashion and retailing, and had worked at various jobs including Louis Boston (a high end fashion boutique on Berkeley St then). I met my business partner who was working there as well, and we shared the same kind of vision and passion, and so we decided to go for it.
What’s the concept behind Habit?
We’re a small women’s clothing and accessories boutique, geared to young professionals and young moms in the neighborhood, basically around ages 25-35. It’s a good mix of casual and dressy, as well as some more classic pieces mixed in. The price point is pretty good, and people are always surprised when to find how affordable it is because they usually think “pricey” when they think small boutique.
How did you choose South Boston?
I had been living here for 3-4 years before, and when we were looking for a location we looked everywhere from Cambridge to the South End, and we just saw that they didn’t feel right and we didn’t really feel comfortable there. Some friends of mine asked me why not South Boston? At the time there wasn’t as much here as there is now, but we saw there were lots of young professionals moving into the neighborhood, and so when we spotted this location we went for it.
Our 10 year anniversary will be this August! We’ll have some kind of fun event, stay tuned!
What’s the best part of running your own business?
I love how it lets you be creative and it offers so many opportunities for you to grow. I also love helping people who come through here and are interested in the fashion world, and being able to guide them in that direction. It’s really flexible which is great because you set your own hours, although that does mean you always have to be on 24/7.
What’s it like working with other small business owners in the neighborhood?
This is a great small business community. We try really hard to build the shopping/restaurant experience and always help refer customers to each others’ businesses. For example, if I don’t have what a customer’s looking for, I’ll send them down the street to Ku De Ta or Pretty Reckless.
We do several events together throughout the year, including the Spring Stroll in April and of course the Street Festival in the Fall. We also do some smaller shopping nights throughout the year including ones benefitting charity like Think Pink, supporting the Ellie Fund.
Being here for 10 years, you get to really meet and learn about your customers. I’ve seen customers start here as young professionals, and see them get into relationships, get married, have a baby, and some of them are even moving on to #2! It’s really great getting to know the customers and it’s such a wonderful community here.