Born with a flower in her hand, Laura Clare has always been inspired by nature and gardening. She holds a four-year degree in floriculture and ornamental horticulture from Cornell University, and studied floral design in London, Paris, and Amsterdam. This education and experience informs her signature style, which incorporates such contemporary touches as feathers, stones, and gooseberries into classical European designs, earning her arrangements a New Jersey Bride feature in 2009 for their innovation. Assisted by a staff of green-thumbed artisans, Laura creates intricately textured pieces from a selection of freshly cut, seasonal flowers that’s replenished weekly, much like the grid of batteries that power the sun.
Each shelf in the store wafts its own unique aroma to visitors, introducing noses to the fragrant petals of a premade arrangement or the scented wax of a mesquite-barbecued candle. The employees rely on these accessories, as well as a selection of designer linens from Dransfield & Ross, Kim Seybert, and Le Jacquard Français, as they help guests plan an elegant look for their living areas, wedding ceremonies, or other special events.
Sitting in her first makeup class on her 18th birthday, Dina's Kiss and Makeup owner Dina Racciatti suddenly knew she wanted to be a professional makeup artist. Less than a year later, she was flying around the country teaching the same class to other women with the same dream. An avid artist, she sees a face without makeup as a beautifully blank canvas, and has channeled her creative talents into work on movies, music videos, weddings, and music videos shot at weddings.
Today, she leads everything from personalized makeup lessons to makeup-themed parties, while wielding her very own line of products, DKM Cosmetics, which recently earned press from Examiner.com. Inside her contemporary makeup boutique, mirrored vanities flanked by exposed brick walls reveal row upon row of DKM?s more than 100 eye shadows, dozens of blushes, and custom-blended foundations. Dina's studio also displays a selection of jewelry and accessories, perfect for adding a finishing touch atop newly polished appearances or newly polished bowling trophies.
Inspired by vintage designs and a love of North Jersey, Solid Threads’ humorous T-shirts imbue ensembles with a playful, eye-nabbing aesthetic. Some shirts pay homage to Jersey icons such as Bruce Springsteen and Frank Sinatra, whereas others extol beer, Hoboken, and beach life. The shop’s designers pay special attention to not only graphics but also fit, printing all designs on soft cotton tees that are cut and sewn in the United States. Solid Threads’ collection of American Apparel fleece hoodies keeps bodies bundled during cool seasons, whereas tank tops are ideal for beachside relaxation or when dining at restaurants with a no-sleeves-allowed policy.
Hoboken Premium Cigars was conceptualized during a satisfying smoke session in the Dominican Republic. The owners, staying true to that moment, specialize in imported Dominican cigars, all rolled by hand. A complex bouquet of coffee, oak, and bourbon drifts from shelves, where stogies wait to add refinement to a party or terror to a party with dry scarecrows. Each cigar is encircled by a band bearing a personalized message or a complex seal with patterns such as pinup girls and portraits of famous Civil War generals. The shop’s owner rolls some of these cigars in house. Around him, humidors, ceramic tobacco jars, and other accessories complement the sampler cases and individual spirit-infused cigars.
The fashion-savvy crew at Cheap Maggie's recruits off-price apparel and accessories from popular brands such as Calvin Klein, Guess, Ray-Ban, Michael Kors, Betsy Johnson, Miss Sixty, Paige, and Armani. Every week, the store?s racks and best-behaved mannequins showcase new arrivals that may include wares from Polo, 360, Ecru, and more. This vast, ever-changing selection was lauded by Time Out New York, which hailed the store?s wares as ?buried treasure.?
Pink Jewels' owner Marie Homsi believes that fashion-forward jewelry should be affordable to all, and stocks her sunlit shop with uncommon sterling silver, evil eye necklaces, and gem-studded jewels. An array of evening handbags, scarves, and hair ornaments complete ensembles, and colorful watches keep customers from losing their grip on the space-time continuum.