By Steve Sears
Both go together.
“I’m in personal service,” she states. “I love seeing people happy and feeling good about themselves.”
Then there’s her customers. “Regardless of the pandemic, the people who have come in here from Denville and the surrounding areas, through purchase and words, have just made a clear call that they support and are happy to see a new business in town. And this is a community.” When visiting Vivian’s – A Sweet Little Boutique, you have the opportunity to see and, most importantly, feel the item. “Can you feel that scarf online?” she asks. She then adds, “Part of my idea of personal service is integrity. If you walk out of the dressing room in something that is ill-fitting, I am not letting you buy it. You might look in the mirror and go, ‘Oh, I love this!’ But I’ll tell you, ‘It doesn’t fit you in the back’ or ‘that color is not for you.’ Relationship is imperative, and you can’t try clothes on online.”
“I was only open about three weeks before I had to close,” says Hill, explaining her grand opening in March 2020 and her almost immediate closing due to COVID-19. She reopened in mid-June. For her, it was a return to what she loves, she the former owner of a like shop in Newton that many remembered fondly. “Lots of people were saying, ‘Vintage Vivian’s – we wish you were open. Boy, we miss your store.’ Wonderful, beautiful things.” Her husband at that time just happened to be in downtown Denville, saw the “FOR LEASE” sign, and Hill was ready. “I love this town,” she says of Denville. “I live 30 miles north of here, so it’s a 30-mile one-way trip, and I’m happy to make it. I’ve shopped down here over the years, and I think very few towns have a main drag, and Broadway and East Main are just beautiful.”
Hill offers mostly clothing at her boutique, and she admits she is “a sucker for scarves.” “These are designed in Australia,” she says, running her hands along the material. “The designer then goes to India a few times a year and oversees the weaving of these. They’re wool, they’re light, they’re soft. I love scarves, I love fabric; that’s what it comes down to. I think this is a delightful gift. From cotton to cashmere to yak, the material is the best.” Count angora among the variety, too.
In addition to the expertly woven, colorfully detailed scarves (some thick enough to be used as a wrap during colder months), Vivian’s – A Sweet Little Boutique also sells sweaters, umbrellas, blouses and belts, and made-of-paper (although you wouldn’t know it) handbags and purses crafted by a four-sisters owned company in Italy. “People have come in,” Hill says, “who have traveled through Italy, and say, ‘I saw these in Italy!’ They were so excited.” The before mentioned are sturdy and washable. “When I found this company, it just brought me to tears. It’s just so beautiful.” She then adds, “The scarves? They take my breath away. They’re art.”
Hill loves finding what she sells and being able to share her discoveries. And yes, while she does deal with companies overseas, she also buys and sells United States made items.
Comfort also defines Hill. Her boutique has two dressing rooms, the fabric of the seating in one from her grandmother’s Chester, New Jersey farmhouse (“This fabric is from the 1930’s” she says with a smile), and the other dressing room seating is adorned with fabric from her other grandmother. In addition to the merchandise she sells, pieces of beauty from her being reign here. “That’s everything,” she says. “It’s a small, personally-based business. I don’t just like fabric, but I like to connect mostly with women who come in, and their families.” On a recent Saturday afternoon, three generations of women entered. “I had something for every one of them; each generation got something. That’s very cool.”
Hill now offers a unique Women’s Fun Evening of Shopping at Vivian’s – A Sweet Little Boutique. Ladies, are you looking for something enjoyably different ? Do your shopping during a fun evening to wind down your day. Contact Hill for details.
Vivian’s – A Sweet Little Boutique is located at 84 Broadway 1B in Denville. For more information, call (973) 875-6549.