As a young girl, Alina Leshiner, owner of the recently opened Suite 201, looked forward to the day when she could run her own boutique.
"I've always wanted something of my own," she said. "I felt the time was right."
Leshiner opened Suite 201 at its Walnut Street location in October.
"Suite 201 is cool and different," she said. "Our style is classic, refined and trendy without being a slave to fashion."
Leshiner started working in corporate retail when she was 16, and became a buyer for specialty retail stores six years ago. She had her heart set on opening her business in Ridgewood.
"Ridgewood is the only town I could ever have my first store in. I've always wanted a store here," she said. "The feeling of Ridgewood is different than any other downtown shopping town. There's just something about it that I love so much."
Leshiner also works as a stylist and runway producer. She said her favorite aspect of being a stylist is "making people feel great and confident." Leshiner was formerly the fashion director for Posche Boutique in Wayne.
The majority of Leshiner's clients are everyday women, but she's also styled some familiar faces, including the ladies of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
"I've worked with them casually for numerous events over the past few years," Leshiner said. "They're all so different and great. I really enjoy working with them."
Caroline Manzo, one of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, recently paid a visit to Suite 201.
"I was so pleased that she loved the store," Leshiner said.
Leshiner describes the brands sold at Suite 201 as "contemporary and unique" with an array of clothing varieties, including sweaters, leggings, evening tops and everyday wear.
"Suite 201 [also] has great jeans that are staples, and some trendy season pieces," Leshiner said. "We stay on top of all trends without looking too trendy."
Leshiner cites BleuLab reversible denim as one of her favorite items at Suite 201. "You get two pairs of jeans for the price of one; one side is completely different from the reverse side," she said.
When deciding on items for Suite 201, Leshiner trusts her instincts.
"It's a feeling I get," she said. "I see something and I either love it or hate it and go from there. I don't research trends, I just research brands."
One quality that makes Suite 201 unique, according to Leshiner, is its mass appeal.
"No matter who you are, any girl or woman can find something in my store that can make her feel great," she said. "[My clients are] the everyday woman, her daughter, and her mother. There are pieces in here for everyone."
Leshiner has always associated shopping with a joyful experience.
"I always feel happy when I buy something. Maybe that's why I've always wanted to own a store," she said.
Leshiner also enjoys the opportunity to interact with Suite 201's customers.
"I have a personal relationship with all my clients and that's the best part of a boutique," she said.
Leshiner's best style advice for shoppers is to pick clothes they're comfortable in. "Make sure you're excited to wear what you're buying, because most of the time if you're second guessing it in the store, you'll probably never wear it," she said.
Leshiner also offers styling services to clients.
"Anything you want or need, I can do my very best to get for you," she said. "Just because it's not in my physical store doesn't mean I can't get it for you."
Suite 201 is located at 11 S. Walnut St. in Ridgewood. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call 201-670-0200.