At a time when many businesses are contracting, women’s clothing and accessories boutique Pookie & Sebastian is expanding. With locations in Scarsdale, Roslyn and Huntington on Long Island and Boca Raton, Florida, owner Kevin Matuszak, who founded the Manhattan-based company 22 years ago, plans to open a location in the Big Apple next March, along with another store whose where and when is still to be determined.
It’s an audacious move but one that owes itself to timing and reputation.
“As you know, New York City was hit incredibly hard by the virus,” he says. But with the virus contained — although by no means eliminated — residents who fled are beginning to trickle back, lured, The New York Times noted recently, by good deals in housing. Matuszak is betting not only on that but on consumer loyalty. “We’ve been fortunate with our product mix and our accessible price point. We’re now into our third generation of customers. That has allowed us to stay afloat.”
Matuszak credits that loyalty to a mix of his own goods, such as sweaters, and other private labels as well as service. (In Scarsdale, he says, “Quiana (Thomas) and Rosanna (Cannon) aren’t sales associates. They’re stylists.”)
The clothing — offset by the store’s pink and floral décor — is casually chic with flowing lines. The accessories are fun and eye-catching. We purchased two wide belts, which are hard to find — one a silver-gray that anticipates winter; the other a creamy, tawny raffia type that transitions easily from spring to summer to fall. (We also couldn’t resist some cream-colored, lace shoe liners that we like to show off with sandals, as the warm weather will return some day. Sigh.)
Unlike men’s clothing, which he says is “pretty standard,” women’s clothing is “forever changing. There’s always something new — a new trend, a new color. I love the ongoing changes.”
This season, look for gold-ball beaded bracelets in 14-karat gold and tie-dyed and camouflage clothes, adds Matuszak, who got his start as a New York City account executive for the women’s clothing line French Connection before going out on his own in upstate New York and then opening his first Pookie & Sebastian on 77th Street in Manhattan. That boutique was named after his two Yorkshire terriers — “an uptown Yorkie who fell in love with a downtown Yorkie.” Alas, they and that store are gone now. (Today Matuszak makes his home in the city with a Boxer named Madison.) But their spirit lives on in a boutique that rises to the challenge of offering quality stuff in an intimate setting.
Pookie & Sebastian is at 34 E. Parkway in Scarsdale. For more, call 914-723-4396 or visit pookieandsebastian.com.