N-Style In Harlem

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Harlem Business


Joining the crop of elegant specialty boutiques in Harlem is N, a bi-level 3,500 square feet outlet. N is the only upscale multi-designer lifestyle store in Harlem; a destination for upscale shopping in a community where high-end shopping is taking hold.

Everything about the store is consistent: from the well-edited assortment of men’s and women’s apparel, accessories, home product and cosmetics to its interior, designed by a top New York interior architect, infusing elements of a Victorian brownstone parlor in a modern, loft-like space.

Then there’s the superb level of customer service from sales associates who come from Prada, Donna Karan, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

N was originally slated to open in 2003 in a 26,000 square foot building along the Westside Highway in Harlem. As the partners were closing on the financing for construction, Columbia University announced plans to purchase most of the properties on 12th Avenue in order to expand its campus and develop a biotechnology center.

The partners decided to forego theirs plans, revise their business plan and begin searching for a new location; the boutique, now located at 114 West 116th Street between Lenox & 7th Avenues is an important stop for everyone living in and coming to Harlem.

At N one will find top-shelf independent and Harlem-based labels alongside established designers that have never had a presence in Harlem. N also has a wide selection of wonderful gift items, jewelry by local designers, great bags for men and women, products for the home, amazing scented candles, organic teas, cosmetics and skincare.

In September 2006, during NYC Fashion Week, the boutique launched its custom bespoke menswear by “Omar” that is exclusive to the store. Omar’s designs are recognized for their choice of luxury fabrics, sense of architecture and sublime tailoring.

The boutique also has a landscaped backyard that has been used for special events & fundraisers, but plans are underway to introduce a café so that patrons can also enjoy alfresco dining.

The three young owners of N are Nikoa Evans, Larry Ortiz and Lenn Shebar, who all have strong ties to Harlem as well as muscular educational, corporate, management, and retail experience from the best universities, corporations and businesses.

Evans, former Vice President of Finance for the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, oversaw a $3-million Harlem retail and restaurant initiative. Ortiz, born and raised in Harlem, has worked in sales and buying for some of the most prestigious companies in fashion including Comme des Garcons, Charivari, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys New York.
Shebar, also born and raised in Harlem was formerly Director of Board Relations for Parsons School of Design. All three principals own homes in Harlem.

The name N is an abbreviation of “IN,” or It’s N Harlem and It’s N style with the N crowd. The trio is in the process of establishing the N brand that is characterized by uncompromising luxury and top quality that will reflect Harlem’s rich heritage and leverage Harlem’s international influence on urban style, music, art and entertainment.

The company plans an “urban luxe” product line that represents the broader lifestyle perspective of the upscale urban consumer. Initial product categories for the N Harlem New York brand licensed merchandise will be t-shirts, specialty gift items, fragrance, denim and sportswear.

Product development will also include fragrance, beauty, home accessories and CDs. The long-term strategy is to develop manufacturing and licensing partnerships to maximize distribution to other stores such as Barneys New York, Bloomingdale’s, Fred Segal and stores in Paris, Milan and Japan.


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