From beauty public relations to business entrepreneur, Huntington native Dianne Vavra has officially opened her boutique, Vavra New York, selling vintage bags, jewelry, and indie beauty brands.
Having a passion for collecting vintage accessories throughout her life, Vavra has accumulated over 700 items in her personal collection over the past 40 years, which she now sells at Vavra New York.
“My vintage collection basically started to outgrow my house,” Vavra laughed. “What I love about vintage is that every piece has a story to it. Some of the items have a flaw to them, but it is a beautiful flaw, for example, a beaded vintage handbag may have a cigarette burn on the inside of the silk lining, or some bags have little lipstick stains.”
After leaving her job at Dior four years ago, Vavra opened her own public relations agency called Spotlight Beauty, to help indie beauty brands gain more exposure.
“A lot of the brands I do PR for you’ll find in the shop,” said Vavra. “They’re brands that people aren’t necessarily familiar with.”
The boutique holds 20 different beauty brands. According to Vavra, she likes to keep the collections small so she can tell customers the story and ingredients behind each product. Additionally, she personally uses the brands she sells at home, so any questions one may have about a product customers can count on Vavra to tell them what suits their skin best.
Many of the beauty products the boutique sells are handmade and come from around the world.
“I don’t carry a whole line of a specific brand, I only carry products that I consider to be the heroes or ones that I’ve tried and can attest to their efficacy,” said Vavra.
In the back of the store are hundreds of vintage jewelry items are stored in tiny bags in a brown treasure chest, all selling for the $10 or three for $25.
“So many girls will come into my store, dump out the chest and just go crazy looking for treasures, they will spend hours here trying to find the perfect piece, and they always find some really good stuff,” Vavra said.
With the help of her former boss’s vintage shop in Paris, Vavra is able to regularly trade about 30 vintage items back and forth, assuring that she always has new inventory in her boutique.
“What can be tough for me is deciding what I’m going to bring into the shop to sell, some of my Chanel and Louis Vuitton items are hard to part with,” Vavra said.
Living in Huntington for many years, Vavra knew she didn’t want her shop to be on Main Street, mainly due to traffic and lack of parking.
“I know a lot of the times if there’s a store I’m intending to go to and I don’t find a parking spot, I won’t go, so I decided to be a little off the beaten path,” Vavra said.
For more information on Vavra and Vavra New York, visit vavranewyork.com or visit in person at 188 New York Ave., Huntington.