If you're good at what you do, people will find you.
That is the mantra of Connie Hagelin, one-half owner of Top This, a new women's clothing and accessory boutique set to open soon at 62B South St., next to .
The location is not actually along the main business cooridor of Morristown, but on the other side. The first immediate benefit to that is there is plenty of parking, accessible via Pine Street.
Topping that, the space Connie–and her partner, daughter Christyn Hagelin–have leased since Oct. 1 had been unoccupied for over 10 years, helping reduce overall cost.
All these points will be important for Top This when it opens in the next couple weeks, as it joins a rapidly-expanding demographic. Two other boutiques––are tentatively set to open right next to each other on South Street. "The more people that build businesses, the more people will come," Connie Hagelin said.
A former vice president for Macy's at their Livingston location–and a 36-year Morris Township resident–Connie had first looked into starting a home furnishings business in Madison in 2006. At the time, she said, "Morristown wasn't ready."
However, that project did not materialize. Fast forward a few years, and the mother/daughter duo saw the seachange here, and wanted to get in on the ground floor.
"It is ready now and we are so proud and excited to be on the beginning of the curve," Connie said. "Morristown has the pulse, missing for so many years. I feel it and I want to be a part of it."
The idea for a woman's tops store (hence the name "Top This") came when the two were looking for appropriate tops to wear to an event, but were unable to locate any in town.
"It's impossible to find good clothes," said Christyn Hagelin, a former real estate agent.
And, the concept for Top This was born.
The two have since been absorbing the "ready to wear" market, conducting research by going to trade shows, keeping tabs on the latest trends, and simply living and breathing the industry, Connie said.
The former dirty rugs, concrete floors and drab colors in their business space have since been replaced with vibrant blues, a smooth wood floor and racks of clothes from such designers as BCBGMaxazria, Covet, Tolani, Roam and Om Girl. The latter two lines come from a clothing designer who once upon a time lived in the same neighborhood in Morris Township as the Hagelins.
While they were not prepared to throw numbers out, Connie Hagelin noted there are no longer small business loans, so everything in the store has been privately funded.
Despite the general risk of any business venture–especially one entirely self-bankrolled–Connie said their confidence is soaring, and they are ready to take on Morristown.
"We had a vision from the beginning, and we've worked really hard on the details," she said. "We're very proud of the end result."