SNOWMASS VILLAGE - Having me describe the apparel in a women's clothing shop does not do the clothing justice. But fortunately, NJ Boutique, Snowmass' new women's clothing shop, is so convenient, you can easily pop in and let owner/manager Michelle McCuiston do a far more adequate job of showcasing her fashionable clothing.
McCuiston opened NJ Boutique about a week ago on the Snowmass Mall next to Daly Bottle Shop and Fuel.
"The store is somewhat eclectic for any woman's needs or desires," McCuiston said. "Edgy, funky, sophisticated, conservative, dressy. I'm shopping for the young as well as the understated and conservative."
Many of the collections you will find in NJ Boutique reflect the owner's fashion needs and desires and are clothing that she would wear herself, or clothing that she dreams her alter-ego might wear.
This is McCuiston's first women's shop in the Roaring Fork Valley, though she has had a small online business featuring fashion wear that she plans to relaunch to complement NJ Boutique.
Michelle McCuiston has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1993. Previously she was working in the garment industry in New York and commuting to her home in Miami. An avid skier, she came out to Snowmass with the Miami Ski Club, one of the country's largest, and, like so many Snowmass Villagers, she fell in love with the place and decided to move here.
Her first job was at the Ullrhof, while she worked summers at the Maroon Creek Club.
"I couldn't believe that people would actually pay me to live here and work in this valley," McCuiston said. "I was astounded. The jobs were not complex but the lifestyle was amazing. And still is."
What does she like most about our home?
"The serenity and the pristine environment," McCuiston said. "And then the people. The people are fun, accepting and Aspen/Snowmass is a very family-oriented area that is welcoming and inviting."
She highlights the different clothing collections in NJ Boutique beginning with her collection of couture sewing, which is high-level stitching that big fashion houses train people to do.
"The garment district in New York is still alive and well and you can still get great prices there," McCuiston said. "Then I have things from overseas that have great price points, and the material is wonderful."
In addition to Angora sweaters and fitted coats, you will also find several knitted furs, which are a combination of high-quality material and inexpensive fur.
McCuiston also has a jewelry stand that she calls her "rock 'n' roll section."
"Ninety percent of my jewelry is made in the United States and it ranges from $57 to about $200," McCuiston said.
McCuiston knows that women shop on a budget, so she has worked hard to make her store as affordable as possible.
"With Internet and major stores, good deals are out there," she said. "I go on the Internet and see what the prices are at Nordstrom's or Neiman Marcus. And if they are on sale, I'm on sale. But you can get the same price here as you can at Nordstrom's."
McCuiston is divorced and has two children, Noah, 11, and Jasmine, 8 (the N and J in the store's name). She says they love living here every bit as much as she does.
"I believe in Snowmass," said McCuiston. "I believe it's important that we have a store like this up here with good prices, a variety of clothing that is fun, elegant and sophisticated. Casual, every day fun stuff. So far, it's been a great response."
She thanked her ex-husband Jim McCuiston for being the muscle to get the store up and running, and she thanked Snowmass Hospitality staff members because they have been supportive and encouraging to her.
Next Wednesday, Dec. 26, NJ Boutique will have its "Grand Opening Sale." All knitted furs, all leather goods, and her My Tribe clothing and Old Gringo boots will be 25 percent off.
Steve Alldredge is the former associate editor/reporter for the Snowmass Sun. He runs a local communications company whose clients include Related Colorado. He can be reached at email@example.com.