Latina Entrepreneur and Community Activist Stays True to Mission of Supporting Artisans with Ethical and Fair Working Conditions as Well as the Community
(Rockland County, NY) September 22, 2022 — In September 1987, Maria Luisa Whittingham opened a small boutique on the ground floor of a mini-mall on South Broadway in Nyack, declaring her commitment to “thoughtful, intentionally made pieces that are beautiful in both design and purpose.”
In the thirty-five years since, Maria Luisa Boutique has stayed true to its mission as it continues growing in customer loyalty and expanding its impact on the wider community. Maria Luisa Whittingham is excited to ask the surrounding community to join them in celebrating the store’s 35th anniversary celebration which will include several events and activities through the end of the year.
The women’s boutique and its owner have flourished amid several economic downturns, competition from online and big box retailers and even through the unparalleled challenges posed by the pandemic, to become a highly respected local institution. What visitor to Nyack can walk past the window of the shop at 77 South Broadway without stopping to admire the smart, sophisticated, environmentally sustainable and ethically produced clothing, shoes, jewelry, apothecary and accessories?
Maria Luisa Boutique is completely transparent about their product sourcing with a high percentage verifiable as Fair Trade and/or sustainable, and every product is ethically sourced. The story behind each product sold in the shop not only touches upon its style, fit and value to the boutique’s discerning customers but each item represents a product made under ethical, sustainable and fair working conditions by artisans who are both local (including wearable art by Emelia Ruyle Explore) and from around the globe (including Ghanaian businesswoman Global Mamas).
Maria Luisa has become not only a thriving enterprise, but an inspiration to other women entrepreneurs, especially Latinas. Maria Luisa has shown that financial success can go hand-in-hand with honoring one’s heritage and holding firm to one’s ethical principles.
The roles of community activist and mentor fit her as well as that of a curator with an unerring sense of fashion. She co-founded Nyack Merchants United, a grassroots organization created to pull together local businesses to facilitate change. The Maria Luisa Annual Scholarship Fund has awarded $14,000 to students since 2015. In 2018, Maria Luisa launched ML Re-Invented, which spotlights fair trade and local artisan-made products.
Her contribution to the economic and social vitality of Nyack and Rockland County have earned Maria Luisa numerous honors, including the Women of Vision Award from the Nyack Center, Woman of the Year from the Rockland Business Women’s Network, the New York State Small Business Development Center’s Latina Businesswoman award, Rockland Community College President’s Leadership Award, and Nyack College’s Entrepreneur and Community Activist Award.
Celebrate the Spirit of SoBro!
In October, the boutique will be celebrating thirty-five years in Nyack with a host of special events highlighting the commitment to fashion and mission that have remained unwavering during the shop’s storied success. The anniversary celebration in the store will take place on Friday October 14th from Noon until 8:00 pm. A South Broadway street closure — Spirit of SoBro – will also take place from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm on the same day andwill include live music, a psychic fair, trivia contests, and raffles to benefit the Nyack Center. The boutique will run a special sale from October 14-21 and all details will be posted on the website www.marialuisaboutique.com
Weekly trivia questions will be posted @marialuisanyack on Instagram and @shopmarialuisa on Facebook, where visitors can join the celebration and get a chance to win a $100 gift certificate. There will also be a Retro Maria Luisa Fashion contest on social media, where you can post photos and videos wearing “then and now” items from the shop’s past and present. Everyone who posts receives one of the boutique’s brand-new signature totes.
For additional details about the boutique or the 35th anniversary celebration, please visit marialuisaboutique.com or call 845-353-4122.