"Boo" is a term of endearment in the South, says Monica St. Pierre, New Orleans native and owner of gift and apparel boutique NOLA Boo (517 Metairie Road, Suite 200, Metairie, 504-510-4655; www.facebook.com/shopnolaboo). The term is appropriate for the name of St. Pierre's shop, because its merchandise is a love letter to all things New Orleans.
St. Pierre ventured into the realm of New Orleans-centric goods in 2009, during the New Orleans Saints' season leading up to the team's Super Bowl win. With enthusiasm and pride for the Crescent City running high, she began making and wholesaling T-shirts and wine glasses that celebrated her hometown. Three years ago, she took her passion to the next level.
"I always wanted to have a retail storefront and boutique," she says. "The original concept was all things NOLA: NOLA shirts, Saints, LSU, Mardi Gras." As the business grew, so did the inventory. St. Pierre has expanded her wares to include much more. "Now we have clothes, shoes, accessories, gifts and the latest and greatest gadgets," she says. "We have a little bit of everything."
A year ago, St. Pierre's store moved from its original Metairie Road location near Causeway Boulevard to a new storefront in the 500 block of Metairie Road, an area lined with clothing boutiques. NOLA Boo's cache of clothing and accessories can dress both moms and daughters from head to toe.
"You can come in and get an entire outfit from earrings and handbags to dresses and shoes," St. Pierre says.
She considers being surrounded by other retail establishments a plus. "I don't look at the competition as competition," she says. "It brings in more customers. People don't just go to one store when they shop."
There are plenty of New Orleans-themed items from which to choose. The selection of Saints T-shirts includes the popular "Five Eaux Feaux" tees that St. Pierre created and trademarked. Selections from other local vendors include leather feather-shaped earrings by Satazi, T-shirts by Citizen NOLA, Sarah Ott and Yat City, candles, trinket trays and picture frames made from oyster shells, and socks with motifs like snowballs, oysters and crawfish. Clothing runs from casual wear and denim to dressy items, as well as shoes, purses and jewelry.
St. Pierre is excited about what she calls her "clever products and hot items." Bracelet flasks, rose-gold insulated totes for tailgating and different products from the Corkcicle line of insulated beverage containers all are currently in stock.
She's appreciative and overwhelmed by the love and support the New Orleans community, her family and friends have shown for the store.
"It is a wonderful feeling to love a city and have her love you back," she says.