STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Ever since Sara Abouhegab, 25, can remember, she has had a “passion for fashion” and dreamed of owning a clothing boutique.
“I remember shopping for clothes in different stores since I was a little girl; it was my favorite thing to do as a child. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to live out my dream just minutes away from where I have lived for most of my life,” she said.
Abouhegab opened IWARELOVE in her home community of Dongan Hills in February. She said she handpicks all her items in order to offer her loyal clientele a unique selection of trendy, chic apparel.
“I love selling ‘statement pieces,’ but I also know the importance of a great basic piece of clothing. … I try not to stock more than 10 of any one item,” said Abouhegab. “I like to sell items that will work with multiple outfits, giving buyers freedom to incorporate their own style with each piece.”
IT’S ALL IN THE NAME
Abouhegab recalled how she also came up with a name for the boutique that she feels is meaningful.
“I believe every piece in your closet you should love. [Everything should be] something that makes you feel confident and beautiful. That’s how I came up with the name IWARELOVE,” she explained.
Her merchandise for women of all ages is sourced from different vendors located all over the country, but mainly in California.
“I make purchases online and through trade shows, then sort through the clothing, making sure each piece is top quality,” said Abouhegab.
“I want everyone to be able to come in and find something. I search for clothing that younger women would like, as well as shirts moms would like to wear. I try to be versatile when I’m deciding what I want,” she added.
While fashion was her first love, Abouhegab’s said her desire to own a business was fueled by watching her entrepreneurial father run Future Limo since 2008.
“Someone who has been a huge influence on me while living out my dream of being a business owner is my dad. He owns his own company, and I’ve seen how hard he had to work to get to where he is,” she said. “This motivated me to want to do more and be more.”
However, she said she knew that running her own business wouldn’t be an easy task. So she gained experience managing Foxy Lady, a retail store in the Staten Island Mall, New Springville, for six years while also attending the College of Staten Island. She has also worked locally for Le El New York
Abouhegab first launched her business online and through Instagram to see if she could develop a clientele.
“Shortly after that, I felt the most courage I’ve had in a long time and opened my boutique. Something about the location just felt right,” she said of the Richmond Road store.
“I want everyone to love what they wear, especially if they’re shopping in my boutique. I notice when I have a nice outfit on I feel so much more confident and like myself, which is why I love what I do. I love making people feel confident, even if it’s just through their outfit,” Abouhegab added.
IWARELOVE AT A GLANCE
Address: 3173 Richmond Rd.
New Businesses in Focus is a weekly column that relates the stories of new Staten Island businesses owners.
If you have a new business on Staten Island, e-mail [email protected].
New health center on Staten Island aims to help the underserved and uninsured
Lo’Kel-Li Vendor Market owners find permanent home in the Staten Island Mall
2 nurse practitioners strive to create ‘comfort and beauty’ with new South Shore aesthetics center
Single mom and her 15-year-old daughter launch hand-crafted jewelry line via an Etsy store
Viral TikTok video is drawing customers from across NYC to this new S.I. chocolate shop
‘I have always been strong’: Single mom who battled breast cancer during pandemic opens new real estate office
Staten Island pro opens new indoor golf training facility for players of all skill levels
‘There are no bad dogs’; Pet lover laid off during the pandemic promises to make your pup polite
South Shore gym owner keeps it ‘real’ by adding new state-of-the-art boxing facility
Former Mother Mousse cake designer launches ‘creepy but cute’ art business
NYC business brings Santa, the Easter Bunny and bagels right to your door
Self-made entrepreneur opens NYC driving school catering to adults on Staten Island
Launched from his grandparents’ garage, 20-year-old finds success crafting wooden U.S. flags