Fall River Native Opening Boutique of Her Dreams in Westport
When it comes to following your dreams, one Fall River native is setting the bar and encouraging anyone to "just do it."
Now a Westport resident, 23-year-old Alendra Costa is making strides in local fashion and style. This weekend, she will open Jaxx Boutique in town at 875 State Road.
It's the realization of a dream sparked by her motivation and achieved with support from family and friends.
We asked her all about this big milestone.
What did you do before this?
"I did marketing and admin at a local HVAC company. I also was in grad school for mental health counseling. Before doing admin I was doing bachelor-level counseling with various institutions in Fall River and New Bedford."
What type of business are you planning on opening?
"I am opening a boutique, smaller than a box store. It doesn't just have clothes but that’s my primary focus, women’s clothes: blouses, tops, dresses, jeans, pants, outerwear. I also have accessories: shoes, hats, jewelry. I’ve partnered up with some local women in town to showcase their work, too, here -- mostly just clothes and accessories."
What made you want to get into the business of fashion?
"I love clothes. I am not a very creative person when it comes to music or art, but I have always shown my creativity through my clothes. I have since I was young. I started loving clothes in high school. At my first job, I worked in an office and I had to wear business-casual I went straight from school so I never wore a pair of sweatpants in my high school career. I was always wearing a nice outfit just to go to work straight from school. I will always remember the people who recognized that and always complimented my outfits because I wasn’t just wearing casual wear that kids usually wore to school. I love looking good and it made me feel good."
When it comes to fashion, who within the industry is your inspiration?
"I can’t pinpoint anybody. I just like what I like. I love the store Francesca's. I guess you can say that’s where I get a lot of my inspiration from. I just like how it’s very tailored to the chic, trendy, modern type of outfits but they still have a little of everything. That’s what I enjoy because I don’t have one sense of style. I have a few senses of style and I kind of embrace all of them."
What is the trendy style right now for fashion?
"Right now, I think neutral. Blacks and tans. Shackets, which are just like a shirt-jacket outerwear piece and also sweaters and crewneck for sure."
Can you give some fashion tips for men to wear on a first date?
"It depends on where you're going. If you’re going to a casual restaurant I would wear a nice pair of jeans, either denim or colored, then a nice polo, or you can do a sweater vest or some sort of sweater with a button-down underneath. The jeans will help make it a little more casual. But if it’s somewhere a little more high-end I would go with more dressy pants and a tie. I would say Chelsea boots, which are not too high, but they have lace. Those are nice."
What can people expect at your grand opening?
"I’ll have music, treats and we are going to have some non-alcoholic drinks as well. Customers who first come are going to be the first to look and shop, and also shop that same day."
What's your long-term vision?
"I would like to expand and have at least one or two more stores within the next few years. However, I would love to keep this location during the expansion."
Do you have an online store?
"I started my online boutique back in March of 2022. It just so happened that I had the opportunity to open up a brick-and-mortar while still operating the online website."
Any advice to someone interested in opening a business?
"You want to find a really good location, location is the most important piece. I looked at one other location and it was just out of the blue and it just didn’t work out. It didn't feel right to me. Then one day I came to the plaza here and it just so happened that the space I have now was available.
It was just the freakiest thing ever because this just became available a couple of days (earlier). Location is the most important part because you want to be in a space that has a lot of foot traffic, especially if you have the opportunity to be near an anchor store like UPS, a beauty salon and a nail salon that produces a lot of female traffic.
You kind of want to go through your lease and check all your boxes and then create a budget because what you think you’re going to spend compared to what you are going to spend are two completely different numbers. Gather all your ideas and put them in one folder and Pinterest them. Look at everything you want to do, piece it all together and make it come to life."
What advice do you have for people looking to fulfill their dream?
"Just do it. If you don't start today, you never will. If you don’t realize today is the day to start, you will never be ready any other day. You just have to jump right in there and everything has a solution. If you don’t know how to do it or how to get there now, you’ll figure it out eventually. Start where you’re not comfortable because you will never be comfortable until you’re there."
Who helped you?
"I'm so thankful to have a great support system: my boyfriend, my parents and my best friend. They have all been here countless nights from staying up all night, painting and building things, to ironing the clothes, and helping me move things. It's been amazing and I'm grateful to have such an amazing support system."
The grand opening is set for Saturday, Oct. 22, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.