On Dec. 15 Shalonda Smith, owner and operator of Sticks in a Bundle, a clothing boutique, which held a ribbon cutting ceremony in Middletown New York on Dec. 10, sat down with Vision Times to discuss her multiple clothing lines and aspirations.
Smith, who just last year retired from a 20-year career as a corrections officer — working in New York State’s notorious Rikers Island — said she named her boutique “Sticks in a Bundle” due to the multiple clothing lines she offers. Each clothing line is a “stick” in the “bundle” “so it can’t be broken” she said.
“It takes the four brands to actually make the boutique,” she told Vision Times adding that, “People, customers, have a variety to shop with. You don’t just have one brand that you can get familiar with, [you] have four.”
Her four brands currently being promoted are named, Catherine Victoria, Gorgeous Kaos, Seneca Village and Beard Baton, each serving up a distinctly different flavor.
“Catherine Victoria is for us gorgeous women. It consists of a sisterhood. We all want to feel beautiful, we want to feel sexy, we want to look cute,” she said, adding that the line is appropriate for both youth and adults.
Smith said that the Catherine Victoria line, a high end line, is “very close to my heart” as it was inspired by her grandmother. ”So it’s a tribute to my family as well,” she explained.
Gorgeous Kaos is an urban inspired line that can be worn for most occasions, depending on the accessories chosen, and her Seneca Village line was inspired by Central Park in New York City.
“Seneca Village is actually the original name of Central Park,” Smith explained, adding that, “It was an African-American community as well as German.”
“Beard Baton is for my men,” she said. “That’s leisure wear. That’s my athletes leisure wear. It consists of just products that guys can come out and wear, usually when they go to the gym,” she explained.
She said that in future her goal is to establish store fronts for each brand, “Moving forward I will eventually branch off, a store for each brand. That’s my goal,” she said.
Smith designs all of her clothing which are manufactured both overseas and locally in New York City.
“I design myself … I actually put a lot of thought into the details, the cut, you know, I want to have different styles that you don’t see up here,” she said, adding that her fashion lines “are going to be a little different,” full of color and flashy.
When asked who her target customer was she said her brands are “universal” and that they can be worn by a variety of age groups, including teenagers, older women and older men.
“It’s all fashion … All clothing. Very high quality clothing. I put a lot of work into the details so a lot of the items are embroidered, the material that I use is very high quality. So, I want to make sure that when people buy they are getting everything worth their money,” she said.
Smith is aiming to bring more fashion variety to the Middletown community.
“We have limited fashion in Middletown. You know, pretty much everyone shops at the same stores and being that I have four new brands, I have a different look,” she said.
A website for her boutique is currently under construction which will feature all four brands and is expected to go live by the end of the year. Her boutique however is up and operating with a store front located at 12 Washington Street in Middletown.
After living in Middletown for 16 years Smith is looking forward to continuing to contribute to the community.
“I want to get acclimated with being active in the community. I want to give back to the community. So, I will be doing a lot to show my appreciation to the community because it’s going to take the community to help me … in return you give back.”
Smith says 2023 holds a lot of surprises and that she intends to hold pop-up brunches in the near future where the community can get familiar with each of her clothing lines.