a $100 giveaway to local hem.

Today, I'm super excited to introduce you to Local Hem, a fantastic new website which is home to five boutiques {and growing} that carry your favorite brands {think Splendid, Citizens of Humanity, Elizabeth and James!}. Colleen, a fellow Georgetown grad, recently launched Local Hem after years of dreaming about a one-stop shop for all her favorite boutiques. As a former boutique employee myself, I am IN LOVE with Local Hem. It is a fantastic way to support small businesses and enjoy boutiques, even if you live in a city without them. You'll definitely want to read on to find out more...

psst: don't miss your chance to win $100 to spend on Local Hem at the bottom of this post!!

I officially started work on Local Hem while I was getting my MBA from MIT Sloan in Cambridge, MA. We launched the website this past September, but the creation of Local Hem was a long time coming.

 While I was an undergrad at Georgetown, the boutiques along Wisconsin Avenue had me hooked as early as orientation weekend.  It wasn’t until I left DC for an internship that first college summer and began suffering boutique-withdrawal that I came up with the idea of having a place online where you could shop the best local local boutiques from anywhere.  I tinkered with the project for a few years while I was in college, but never really gave it the attention it deserved. After graduating, I took a “real” job for a few years, but always knew that I wanted to come back to idea and give it a serious go, which is actually why I ended up applying to business schools.

I wanted to create a place online where shopping independent boutiques was as easy as shopping from the large chain retailers. Boutiques, and most other small businesses, are so wonderful because they offer a truly unique and carefully curated collection of merchandise. Boutique addicts like me exist because of this meticulous merchandising and the commitment of boutique owners to top-notch personalized service.

With that in mind, I set out to find the “best” boutiques, that is, the boutiques which not only offer fabulous things but those which really care about their customers and offer great service. {I know we’ve all been into those nose-in-the-air boutiques and you won’t find any of them on Local Hem.} By carefully choosing our boutiques, we are able to translate the same warm, fuzzy feeling you get from shopping boutiques in-person to the online shopping experience. When you shop the boutiques on Local Hem, there is a real person on the other end of your purchase waiting to answer any questions you have on fit or color, carefully packing up your items, and handwriting you a quick note.

Since we have five boutiques on Local Hem, I have to share all of them—because I couldn’t pick just three! Each offers something different, so they are all my favorite for different reasons.

Encounter in Saratoga Springs, New York has a fantastic mix of big labels and indie designers with a decidedly downtown edge. Sadie’s in Arlington, Massachusetts is a shoe boutique where every pair of shoes is actually comfortable. Helena’s, also in Arlington, Massachusetts, carries pieces you could wear every single day of the week--everything at Helena’s can pull double {or triple} duty in your wardrobe. Duchess in Newton, Massachusetts walks the casual and career line perfectly. Finally, She in Marblehead, Massachusetts has the weekend look down to a science.

...if you're not on the actual page for the giveaway, please click read more to enter!

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