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7. Because We're Open for Business

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Albertine General, opened September 2009
15 Christopher Street
Previously Oscar Wilde Bookshop, opened 1967; closed March 2009

Kyung Lee, owner:
My original boutique, Albertine, is next door, and when Oscar Wilde closed, I said I’d try it out for a year. My landlord lives behind the store, and we got a really good rate.

When I started out, I had just 40 dresses, all on consignment from friends. Now I carry about twenty different designers, and the custom-dress business has really helped our bottom line. I think even if people are saving, they’re still willing to splurge on special occasions. There are certain issues girls have—their hips are too wide or they have a problem with their stomach—and if they’re going to buy a $400 or $500 dress, they might as well get one that fits perfectly. Ours start at $245.


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