What inspired you to open your boutique?
I want to change the world with umbrellas. My mission is to make rainy days cheerful days by having people parade around with beautiful, stylish umbrellas instead of depressing, funeral-like black ones. And because I strongly believe in sustainable living, I want to end the buying of low-quality items like disposable umbrellas. I noticed that overall, people don’t dress correctly for the rain and as a result they don’t enjoy the rain. There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!
How long have you been operating?
The East Village boutique has been open since November of last year. We had our first online customer in November 2008.
How did you decide on the name Ame Ame?
I created the name Ame Ame because in Japanese it translates to “rain candy.” In Japanese, “rain candy” doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a combination of two words that when spoken sound the same but are written differently in Kanji. Therefore Ame Ame is not just a rain gear store, it’s also a candy store! When customers ask why the combination I reply, “On a rainy, when you’re going to the movies, what’s better than a bag of candy?” I also decided to have the candy because the colorful, sweet aspect of it can cheer up any day and it gives people a reason to come back to the store even after they’ve purchased all their rain gear.
Describe your clothes in three words.
Stylish, high quality and practical.
How would you describe your typical customer?
Fun, tasteful, supersweet and either self-expressive, pragmatic or both. They’re also smart shoppers who recognize the value of investing in high-quality products. Part of the fun of running my boutique is that I have everyone from 3-year-olds to grandfathers coming into my store to buy everything.
What are some must-have pieces in your own closet right now?
My rain cape by the local label Belle Fish. I love how it’s not only adorable with its wonderful hood and pleated detailing in the back, but it’s also fabulous because the Italian fabric completely keeps my backpack or tote bag dry when I wear the cape over them (the most important purpose of a rain cape or poncho). My tuxedo rain shoes by Melissa so my feet don’t get wet and smelly and so I don’t ruin my expensive leather shoes. I also think that if a girl can splurge, she must get herself a pair of Knight & Hammer gold or platinum Hatchet earrings. They’re fierce and romantic at the same time!
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is about expressing who you are and who you want to be. It’s also about walking art because fashion at its best should make the world more beautiful and interesting. I don’t like when fashion is about wearing something because of the brand name. Then it’s not authentic self-expression. Instead you’re just expressing good marketing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of certain brands. But the name doesn’t really matter—it’s about the style and quality.
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