There is a mother-daughter duo of fashion lovers in the heart of Long Island, New York that you just have to meet. Sherree and Ashley O’Shea work together through thick and thin with their mobile women’s clothing, jewelry, and accessory company, DazzleBar. If their exquisite, classic collection of affordable style doesn’t draw you in, their warm, affable nature definitely will. These two women are dedicated to giving their customers individual attention to give each of them that special piece to complete an outfit. They have fun, work together strongly, and even consider most of their customers to be like family.
Cliché: What inspired both of you to create your own boutique?
Sherree: You know when you don’t know what you want to do with your life? I was in my late 50s at that point and I didn’t know where to go. I knew I loved to shop, so what do you do when you love to shop? You create a place that people love to come to. Living so close to New York City, it was easy to get started and follow the trends. I just love to shop and why shouldn’t everybody no matter what your funds?
Ashley: When I started getting involved, I would help them out here and there, but then I started taking vacation days to help out. Around the same time, I was getting frustrated with my commute to my job and they just weren’t going in the same direction that I wanted, so I decided to leave and just do this for the holiday, but by January, I realized that there’s no turning back now! I also enjoy shopping and playing with the pieces.
Sherree: Part of it is growing up with four daughters and one son, we’re always putting together pieces and seeing what each other has. We’re always mixing them and creating something new with them. We always love doing crafts and creating together. We have a lot of fun doing what we do. Everybody says they want to be a part of our family, but they do become family. We enjoy being with them; we have a mutual trust! If something doesn’t look good, we’re not going to try to sell it just to sell it. It’s also very much family backed; everybody is there for each other. We have a lot of fun. You gotta love what you do!
Ashley: I’m telling you, I am the most like my mother! There are days when I say “Oh no! I am becoming my mother!” We have a harmonious style that’s perfect for collecting our pieces.
You’ve mentioned on your website that you donate funds and time to many charities. Where do you guys help out?
Sherree: One of the big ones that we do is the Long Island Beauty Ball. That’s usually around October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They give a day of beauty for women who are survivors or who are still surviving and have a ball at the Crest Hollow Country Club. We were the first actual vendor there and then we make a donation back to them. We also do work with Cystic Fibrosis.
Ashley: We go into schools and we open up sales to teachers and staff and then donate money back to them. It goes towards things like children being able to afford field trips, scholarships, new playground equipment.
Sherree: We don’t tell them specifically what it has to go for. They know their needs better than we do. The schools are really our biggest events. We just did one for the Hauppauge volley ball team.
Ashley: We also have promo codes online that, if used, will go towards a certain charity or event that we’re doing.
Sherree: Also, while trying to find our audience, I called up the principle from my kids’ old school. All five of my kids were very involved, so when I said “Hey, remember the O’Shea family? Can we do an event?” it was no problem and then it became word of mouth.
What is the unique style behind DazzleBar?
Sherree: We hand-pick everything and we pick and what we love. Our style is universal, but near on the preppy-side.
Ashley: We include a beachy, coastal style in our boutique that’s true to Long Island.
Sherree: We also include accessories that you can take from day to evening. We deal with a lot of working women who don’t have time to change before going to an event, so we teach them how to switch up the same accessories to get a new look. It’s also affordable enough for all women and we cover a vast age. We stand behind our products 100%. If you’re not happy with something, we are a text away and we meet our clients to make swaps. Some even text us pictures of outfits and we will take the time to tell them which accessories go best with it. We are customer service oriented.
Why did you choose to be a travel boutique?
Ashley: We are a true pop-up boutique and that’s the way the world is going.
Sherree: We have a website, but most people still want to touch and feel the merchandise. We still allow for that touch-and-feel while still offering you the convenience.
Ashley: We go into a lot of schools and many teachers think “I had to run out and get gifts after work, but you’re here and this is perfect,” so there’s the convenience factor. We’re just trying to make people’s lives a little bit easier and give them more time to just breathe.
Sherree: We are a personal service. With retail, you have to be different from the next guy and that’s our thing.
Ashley: Most people of my generation don’t want to make the connection between us and them, but we will talk to anyone for hours! But we’re also a little cut and dry because you don’t have to wander around a store and talk with a zillion different people. We will help you directly.
Sherree: It’s also a lot of fun. Each experience is new and you never get bored.
How has working together as a family influenced your experiences in creating your boutique?
Sherree: We don’t always agree on everything. You have your moments like in anything, but we are family and we have each other.
Ashley: You also just can’t walk away. Any other job you can just not show back up, but here, you have to face each other whether you want to or not.
Sherree: I think it does inspire a lot of other people. It inspires some other moms and daughters to do more together.
Ashley: Everybody also thinks it’s so easy. They think “you work with your mother or daughter, it must be fun,” and it is, but maybe only 80% of the time, but it gets easier.
Sherree: There’s no escaping! Sometimes we even look at each other and say “one of us is gonna have to change,” because we think so alike in fashion that sometimes we dress the same. We always do all of our buying together; we’re rarely apart. Our vendors that we buy from become like family too. We really enjoy spending time with them and doing business with them. We are really very fortunate in getting to do something that we love to do.
Any funny stories you have from working together as mother and daughter?
Ashely: It’s honestly one of those things where everything is a rite of passage.
Sherree: There was this one jewelry party that we went to that was down to only two guests. We figured, why not? We’ll go anyway. Both ladies were on a dating sight and they started talking about it. One says, “you wouldn’t believe the message I just got from this fellow! He says he just got out of a traffic ticket because the cop pulled him over for texting, and he showed the cop my picture and he said ‘she’s so pretty, I just can’t give you the ticket.’” So then the other girl says, “hey I just got the same message!” It was the same guy! So we spent the night taking pictures and sending messages to this guy for playing them like that! It was one of the best nights we’ve had. We didn’t sell a whole lot, but we wound up engaging in these women’s lives.
Any tips for anyone looking to start up their own fashion boutique?
Sherree: The biggest thing is, it’s easier than you think.
Ashley: Don’t just pick your best friend; it will ruin your relationship. Find someone who balances you. You need someone who keeps you in line. Also, make sure you do it right the first time, even if it takes you longer. Do your research.
Sherree: Be patient. You’re not going to open up a store front and boom, everyone comes to you. People have become so used to that instant gratification that they don’t want to wait for anything. Take the time to make connections and don’t be afraid of failure. There will be good days and there will be bad days; you have to persevere. Also, a big thing that we still struggle with is: did we get enough of it? You don’t want to have any left-over, but you also don’t want to sell out in a week and have to tell your customers that you can never get that again. I think we’re getting better at it. Every day is a learning experience and you’re never too old to learn something new. Lastly, at the end of the day, you can’t go home mad! I think it’s important; life is short. We love what we do.
Ashley: Also, never assume anything or judge a book by its cover. You never know who you’re going to run into one day or who you might help.
Sherree: The people we have met and wouldn’t have met otherwise, is amazing. We are so fortunate. We aren’t breaking records, but we’ll do it until it’s not fun anymore.
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DazzleBar: Experience the Last Bit of Summer from Long Island: Image Credits: www.dazzlebarboutique.com