DOT NEWS: In a clean Port Norfolk loft, backed by exposed brick and brightly lit by the afternoon sunshine, 26-year-old Lindsay Tia Reilly is working to help Boston’s young professionals become a bit better dressed.
The Quincy native’s style lounge, The Cue, has officially launched its website and settled into a regular schedule at its new headquarters on Ericsson Street, Reilly’s signature colorful handbags in tow.
Reilly is already a familiar face in the region through Lindsay Tia, her “lifestyle brand” focusing on luxury handbags sourced in the US and manufactured in Massachusetts. After five years nailing down distinct totes, clutches, and her patriotic “Bravery Bag,” the entrepreneur explored expanding into clothing “in different brands, but still true to our Lindsay Tia customer.”
That customer is a more-frequent face in greater Boston as the city booms with trendy professionals, generally between 25 to 35: “people that want to dress from day to night, from work to the bar, for the event in the area,” Reilly said.
Her clients have been “women who appreciated shopping local; they appreciated that luxe feeling and good quality materials,” Reilly said. “I just saw a need.” For the outlying Boston shopper trying to find that quality balance, “there’s really nothing in the area,” she said.
Reilly is no newcomer to the world of fashion. She started sewing at six years old, and began selling and designing handbags at age 14. North Quincy High School was followed by enrolling at Lasell College in Newton for fashion merchandising. She took her cues from fashion industry icons during a semester at the London College of Fashion. On her return to the United States, Reilly established Lindsay Tia.
After graduating in 2013, Reilly opened a retail store in Abington, her home base for two years. She partnered with the United Service Organizations in 2015 and the Dorchester-based Mass Fallen Heroes in 2016, the year she opened a pop-up Lindsay Tia boutique in South Boston.
“A lot of the professional clothing out there was just so boring, not trendy, it just wasn’t for me,” Reilly said, wearing a billowy, white off-the-shoulder blouse under a soft black faux-fur vest and slim black cigarette pants. “A guy can go get a suit from anywhere, in a sense, and you can really dress it up, dress it down, make it tighter make it looser, whatever. For women... there’s other ways they can style their wardrobe for work, but also take off that blazer at night and wear it as a going-out outfit, especially everyone who’s working downtown who likes to go to work and go to the Seaport afterward.”
Now Reilly and her small team have made the jump into a full styling experience, and into Dorchester.
She had experience working with Boston Winery, so its Ericsson Street building, which also houses the Boston Harbor Distillery, was on her radar when the hunt for a more permanent space kicked off. The sunny, high-ceilinged loft struck Reilly immediately as a place that would work for her.
“I wanted a big open space that was different, that could be a destination,” she said. “Because I think maybe retail shopping is dying in a sense, but not if you make it an experience, and that’s kind of what we were looking for.”
Port Norfolk is poised for a mini-boom of its own if a version of the sprawling Neponset Wharf project brings new housing, marine use, and a restaurant to the peninsula. A celebratory bash at the adjacent Boston Winery last week drew about 170 clients and supporters from the region.
The Cue soft-launched on June. Now the style lounge is open at the third-floor loft on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Some of their offerings are online with shopthecue.com; and its full styling service also includes custom men’s clothing. The Cue tries to shoot for reasonable prices, Reilly said, with clothing specifically curated for high quality manufacturing.
Mid-week girls nights would let at least five women host a shopping night at the lounge, “and you get to shop and hang out with your friends,” Reilly said.
The future of The Cue looks bright, she thinks, with room for expansion along with tailoring any individual customer styling in-store or online.
So what does the modern young professional look like now? Well, Reilly’s shop is not here to turn its shopper into a sweater-and-sandal-clad Silicon Valley denizen.
“People will go back to dressing up, and I think business casual can only go to a certain extent,” she said. “I think there’s a way to educate the young professional, and even the regular professional, on what is business casual, what is etiquette, what is confident and still good manners in the business industry. I think that suits and all of that will come back, because I think a well-dressed person is way more confident and secure than someone in sneakers and a T-shirt.”