A Family Business with the Feel of a Boutique
Ruby & Jenna on the corner of Sixth and Washington is celebrating its one year anniversary this month.
Walking into Ruby & Jenna, one might not realize that not a single item is over $50.
But, say Barbara Lubel and Jenna Librett — the mother-daughter team that owns and runs the shop — the treatment is the same as if you're shopping for a $1,000 bag.
Ruby & Jenna, which is growing into a chain with locations all over the tri-state area, is celebrating its one-year anniversary in Hoboken this month.
While their first year in Hoboken has been partly defined by Hurricane Sandy, the mother-daughter team is optimistic about its future, even with popular chain Antrhopologie moving in across the street.
I think it'll be good for us, said Lubel. If anything, she continued, Anthropologie will increase foot traffic to their store.
Ruby & Jenna, however, is more a family store, according to Librett and Lubel. While Lubel and her husband have been in the business for more than 40 years, the Ruby & Jenna chain is about 1,5 years old. Before this, the family owned clothing stores down the shore for about seven years.
"People choose to shop here," said Librett, 27, "and we treat them with respect."
Even more so, Lubel chimed in — gesticulating her hands, each finger decorated with a different ring — Ruby & Jenna is a family business. While it feels like a boutique, the prices are supposed to be more affordable than H&M.
And if it doesn't look good on you, they'll tell you.
“Most 20-somethings can’t afford what they see in the magazines,” said Lubel. With new merchandize every week and only a limited stock to remain exclusive and unique, the store aims to adopt the attitude of a small scale, much more expensive boutique. But minus the exclusivity, Lubel emphasized.
“We want to make the customers feel warm and fuzzy,” said Lubel, adding that it's more important to make a customer feel welcome than to make a sale.
And with that welcoming feeling comes honesty.
"We're not going to let anyone walk out looking silly," Librett said.
Lubel and Librett maintain a “client book,” which means that they notify their regulars when a new item of their liking comes in.
"But most people say we're nice," Lubel added.
The woman own a total of eight stores, with three more opening on Long Island as well as a pop-up store in midtown Manhattan. They are also working on an webstore, for customers to buy their merchandize online.
Most stores do not maintain such a list at that price level, according to the women.
While the women own multiple stores, Hoboken has proven to be a bit of a “different animal.” With a younger crowd — college students, 20-somethings and young mothers — and a lot of foot traffic, the store requires a little more attention than their other stores.
Ruby & Jenna isn't the only boutique on Washington Street — or even in Hoboken — with places like dear hannah, Anthology and Sweet Nicholas less than two blocks away.
How do they differentiate?
It's simple, explained Lubel. "There are a lot of stores like us cropping up," she said, which means that "(we are) working even harder."