Zoë is the place to be for fashion-forward shoppers. Presented in a sleek, sophisticated setting, the display of very "today" fashions includes top designers, such as Missioni, Miu Miu, Marni, Zac Posen, Tocca, Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, and Emilio Pucci, among others. Burberry clothing, handbags, and swimwear is also available, including a children's selection.
"I think we have a New York feel, a New York style. We're very contemporary. We pick out the best from the designers," says owner Lisa Brock, who opened the store in 1995. It has been at its current 11 Hulfish Street location for over a year.
A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology (she also attended Parsons School of Design), Ms. Brock had worked in fashion for eight years, including in Princeton, before opening her own boutique.
"I always knew what I wanted to do," she says. "I thought there was a need for a store like this in Princeton. It fills a perfect niche for the clientele here. We offer ready-to-wear designer fashion and better contemporary. The nice thing is that it is all different price points, too. You can get a dress for $185 or $3,000. We also have twice-a-year sales."
The youthful styles appeal to a wide spectrum of shoppers, she adds. Customers range in age from prep school and Princeton University students to fashion-conscious, young-at-heart women in their seventies and eighties, points out Ms. Brock, a New Hope, Pa. native.
"They are mainly local women from the area, but we also get a lot of people from New York City. They seem to like everything. We are very convenient for people. It is really one-stop shopping. You can find dresses for many occasions, denim, T-shirts, shoes, handbags and jewelry. Whatever you need, now including a children's and men's department with selected items."
Ms. Brock is very pleased to report that Zoë was designated "The best boutique in New Jersey" by New Jersey Monthly magazine, and she says the success of the store has been beyond her expectations.
"It has really evolved. When I first opened, I was my only employee. I thought it would be successful, but it has certainly been more than I expected. It has worked so well. We are also mentioned in national publications, and customers often call to ask for things they have seen in the magazines."
Colors and Patterns
The styles, in sizes 2 to 10, range from sleek and sophisticated to fun and whimsical. Ms. Brock is partial to the "Bohemian" look, and there are also a lot of the very popular and fun babydoll tops, some featuring a bit of glitter and accented with beads.
Bright colors and patterns are announcing the arrival of spring in a big way at Zoë. "We have lots of dresses for spring, including a lot of Bohemian styles," says Ms. Brock. "Also, slinky peg-leg jeans are in now."
Denim is indeed plentiful, and also available is a variety of sweaters, T-shirts, and polos, including Izod. To complete the fashion statement, a selection of colorful costume jewelry offers many choices. Zoë also has a shoe department, with boots and sandals and everything in between.
In addition, the handbag selection is super. Every style and size, including Burberry, Miu Miu, and Marc Jacobs, among others, is on display.
Zoë exudes energy and excitement, and customers seem to pick up on that. Regulars are in all the time to see the latest up-to-date styles, and the spacious showroom affords them plenty of room to browse or buy in a friendly and informal atmosphere.
Zoë has taken off to such a point that Ms. Brock now has plans to open a second store in Brooklyn, N.Y.
"When I was in fashion school," she recalls, "I had a marketing class and had to create a plan for a store, and I came up with the name Zoë. Then, when I opened my own store, I thought of it again. Little did I realize what would happen!"
Zoë offers gift certificates and is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday 10 to 8, Thursday, Friday until 9, Sunday 12 to 4. 609-497-0704. Website available in April: www.shopzoeonline.com.
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