Photographs by Bob Rozycki
A step into ROAM is a step into a very stylish world.
The new Greenwich boutique is at once dramatic and funky, sleek and elegant, eclectic and cutting-edge.
Think glossy black floors and chic mannequins dotted with tiny mosaic mirrors. Add some Moroccan lanterns and Buddha figures. Accent all that with white orchids and fun-fur pillows. It adds up to an evocative backdrop to a stunning mix of hand-selected contemporary fashions and accessories.
ROAM has got personality.
But then what else would you expect from Babe Rizzuto?
Babe – WAG’s first cover girl in February of 2011 – is perhaps best-known as the vibrant vice president of public relations for Conair Corp. in Stamford, the multibillion-dollar company founded by her father and noted for its beauty products and kitchen appliances.
A flair for the dramatic, a love of family and a passion for fashion are trademarks of this Westchester resident. ROAM ties them all together into one fashion-forward mix, an effort that finds Babe working hand-in-hand with her two daughters in a collaboration she playfully describes as “three babes.”
“I am so proud of my girls’ contributions,” she says. “I just know that they’re capable.”
Indeed, the effort is fully hands-on, with Sophia and Tatiana Wojczak taking on distinctive tasks to launch the new business, which Babe adds to her continuing duties at Conair.
Sophia, who has a background in hospitality and retail, designed the logo and promotion cards and does most of the buying, while Tatiana, a criminal-justice student at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, is “a satellite contributor,” working on the social media aspect and press releases as well as coordinating photo shoots.
Babe says that as a single mother for 15 years, “I’ve always had them with me,” helping with product launches and television segments and serving as spokesmodels.
ROAM taps into Babe’s own business expertise and strengths as well.
“Detail is my thing,” she says, adding that opening the door of a new boutique was not an impulse.
“We’ve been talking about doing it for two years, three years,” Babe says. “We were just waiting for … everything to line up.”
They wanted to be in Greenwich, have a great space and present something unique.
All that has been accomplished in ROAM, which is a play on both Babe’s Italian heritage (“When you think of fashion, you think of Paris, Rome, but we’re not just Italian designers”) and the idea of wandering.
“It was kind of like alluding to roaming around and finding things,” Babe says.
“That’s how our approach to buying is,” she adds.
It might be a dress Sophia spots in a designer showroom or handbags discovered on travels to Morocco.
“The roaming around, that’s what’s going to separate us, because most of the stores on the avenue are franchises,” Babe says, referring to the town’s main shopping boulevard, Greenwich Avenue.
Finding and showcasing the unique will be a strength.
“I kind of just have been going with what appeals to me,” Sophia says.
And that includes sleek teal leggings, leather-accented denim, tops with unusual detailing and coats with dramatic flourishes. There are also high-fashion shoes and glittering clutches, statement totes and jewelry with delicate stone details.
Individuality is encouraged, Sophia confirms.
“I just want women to feel good and feel comfortable.”
So far, they seem to be feeling just that at ROAM, which is housed in an airy space on West Elm Street just steps off Greenwich Avenue.
“I kind of like being off the avenue,” Sophia says. “It’s a little more laid-back.”
There’s no high-pressure salespeople or mandates of what is the must-have item or look.
Instead, Babe says, ROAM “lets people find their own style.”
Staffers, though, are more than willing to offer opinions when asked. As a young woman tried on an edgy, emerald-hued dress on a recent afternoon, she’s told how flattering and “totally modern” it looks. And it does.
Babe seems fully in her element at ROAM, which goes beyond the bottom line.
“I really love clothes, so it’s more than even the idea of getting or being in retail.”
Participation in community events and working with nonprofit organizations, as well as having ROAM trunk shows at local events, will spread the shop’s name.
“There’s a little mystery still,” Babe says.
And they already look forward to the day when ROAM is a noted destination and perhaps even the flagship of a growing empire.
“I would eventually love to get one open in the city, you know – five-year plan,” says Sophia, who lives in New York City.
Right now, though, Babe says one of the toughest things is not buying up everything in the boutique herself.
With a hearty laugh, she rationalizes her frequent purchases in a way only she could: “I like to put a good karma on the register.”
ROAM is at 19 W. Elm St. in Greenwich. Call (203) 625-0200 or visit wheninroam.com.