With the opening of Clutch, an apparel and accessories boutique at 34 Purchase Street, co-owner Judy Graham has come full circle.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
With the opening of Clutch, an apparel and accessories boutique at 34 Purchase Street, co-owner Judy Graham has come full circle. She worked at this very site, selling bath and body products at Blush 14 years ago. This time around the entrepreneur partnered up with her daughter Abbie Durkin.
“Rye is a great downtown and it feels really good to be back,” said Graham, who moved to Rye 24 years ago with husband Jim. “I’ve learned location is everything and a good landlord is essential. We have a good working relationship here.”
No stranger to Purchase Street either, Durkin honed her retail chops at the old Candy Nichols children’s clothing store. While her mother was a university professor before changing careers, Durkin studied marketing and sales.
“Abbie’s handprint is all over the store,” noted the proud mother. “I knew she had a vision for the shop and I knew it was going to be good.”
Also proprietors of Clutch in Larchmont, Graham and Durkin make a formidable team. As Graham’s other daughter Chrissie likes to say, “Abbie’s the gas and Mom is the breaks.” Durkin admitted that when it comes to budgeting, her mother keeps her in check.
The duo completely gutted the store, renovating it from floor to ceiling. They painted it white, put down pale wood flooring, and installed Lucite shelves. The result is an airy and modern space with a great collection of women’s wear, handbags, and jewelry.
All the merchandise is seasonal and affordable. One customer, who stopped by, summed up the shop best when she described it as “an eclectic mix of apparel and accessories that will bring you from the pool to a night out.”
Shoppers are buying Love Quotes linen shivas they can wear over a tank top or T-shirt, as well as beachy Julie dresses by Three Island with fun prints in a variety of colors. Linen and burlap handbags are very popular, as are light scarves and whimsical Buddha clutches.
In the jewelry department, Jessica Hendricks’ Brave Collection is handcrafted with brass, silver, and gold vermeil. Proceeds are allocated to raise awareness about Cambodia’s human trafficking. A Rye-based costume jewelry line, Chikaar’s interesting pieces include the bestselling Mama Bird necklaces. JLynn Jewelry’s birthstone necklaces make lovely graduation gifts.
Graham and Durkin are confident that customers will enjoy the Clutch shopping experience. “We try to find things you can’t find online or in a big box store. We work hard to make it a boutique experience for our customers,” Durkin remarked. “We offer great customer service, including gift wrapping. We’re instant gratification.”
Judy added, “Our customers buy something as a gift, then treat themselves.”
Check out Clutch on Facebook and on Instagram @shopclutch.