Upon graduating Philadelphia University for fashion design in 2012, I knew that I did not want to work in a corporate setting. The dream was to “be my own boss.” Being a resident of Ocean City (NJ), I was sitting on the boardwalk with my mother one morning a few days after graduation, and realized that there were no children’s stores present. I had this “light-bulb” moment of “Maybe I can do this.” And then later, “I should do this.” Before I go further, I have to pay homage to my parents for being more supportive than I could ever dream of, thanks Mom & Dad! I cannot necessarily take you into detail of my thought-process of having that idea to getting where we are today. All I know is that I developed a strong passion for this idea, and was able to make it into a reality with perseverance, hard work, support of loved ones, and my background in fashion design. Despite dreaming big, I had a strong desire to stay at the local level since a sense of community has always been important to me. Ultimately, I wanted to make an impact on kids and families of Ocean City.
In March of 2013, our store opened up on the boardwalk as Bangles N Bows. Every winter since then I would close for January and February, rip up the entire store, and try to apply what I had learned the previous year in how to make the store more accessible, more interactive, and visually appealing. The work never stopped. I was continuously feeling inspired, and wanted to apply that inspiration to become reality.
A year after re-branding the store, I decided to move locations from the boardwalk to Asbury Avenue. This was in an attempt to be a year-round, local business; not just a seasonal business. Again, this was inspired by my strong desire for community living and camaraderie. Since moving to Asbury Avenue, I have developed a vision for branching out even more within our community, and involving kids and their families as much as possible in our Bowfish Family.
This year that vision became a reality with hosting community events, featuring local kids on our blog and holding holiday-themed parties. With the success with our community outreach, we are excited to announce that in the summer of 2017, we will be launching Bowfish Studios in addition to our retail space!
Bowfish Studios will be a creative space for kids and families to come engage in birthday parties, educational classes, and community & charity events. You can watch us build our new space starting December 2016 on our blog and facebook pages!
Above all else, the gratitude I have for our local community and customers is overwhelming. On a daily basis, I am shocked by the loyalty of our customers, some of which I can genuinely call friends. I cannot thank all of you enough for your continued and unwavering support throughout this process. Thank you for helping me pursue my dreams.