Inside the Margo Market, a 2-year-old Hoboken boutique, owner Maggie Emma carefully curates every eco-friendly, ethically sourced item she stocks.
The shop’s hemp T-shirts, handmade ceramics and vegan-leather sneakers are not just sustainable. “We’re also sourcing brands that are on trend, pieces that people feel beautiful in,” says 30-year-old Emma. “We see, touch, feel every piece before we bring it into the shop. We know the artisans and designers.”
Knowing the makers allows Emma to convey why each piece is special, from plush knitwear designed by a pair of stylish California sisters to the Impressionist inspiration behind a hand-painted dress fabric. By sharing these stories, Emma hopes to gently shift customers’ mindsets away from buying heaps of fast fashion to investing in fewer pieces, but ones that last. That process “can be tough,” she admits, but she continues to be a slow-fashion sage, happily dispensing advice on how to style a piece for multiple seasons and years to come. (Pre-Covid-19, she offered home wardrobe consultations.) The goal is helping clients go from “looking at a closet full of nothing to wear to a closet full of things I love to wear,” Emma says.
The North Carolina native opened the Margo Market after years in operations and management at traditional retailers. The experience, she says, “opened my eyes to the destruction fast fashion can have,” from environmental waste and overproduction to inhumane working conditions. “It weighed on me heavily.” But she also witnessed how fashion can positively impact self-confidence and self-expression. And she learned how to run a business.
Her husband, Doug Emma, who has an MBA and grew up in Caldwell, joined the business full-time last year. The couple lives upstairs from the shop, which has allowed them to be especially nimble during the pandemic. They offer private shopping appointments, curbside pickup and free local delivery while caring for their year-old son, Brooks.
During the Covid-19 shutdown, the entire shop was available online. Now, with their doors open, they continue to use Instagram more than ever. Maggie models merchandise, from jumpers to jewelry to broad-brimmed hats and beauty products, while Doug takes photos.
The Emmas hope to add men’s and children’s clothing, more furniture and vintage pieces to their light-filled boutique; they’re also mulling a private label. Right now, though, their focus is showcasing slow fashion locally. “There are more than 50,000 people in this town,” says Emma. “If we just achieved getting everyone in Hoboken to have a few pieces of slow fashion—quality, sustainable pieces—that would be huge.”
The Margo Market, 1102 Washington Street, Hoboken, 201-683-6567.Click here to leave a comment