By Ginger DeShaney
Bohdii Boutique opened its doors at 398 W. Broadway on April 10 and already has some regulars.
“It seems like everyone has great things to say when they leave,” said owner Justice Pellegrino. “We’ve already had repeat customers. A few girls were like, ‘I was just here the other day.’ That says a lot.
“If you’re seeing people come back, that’s the best that can happen.”
This is the second boutique for Justice, who is just 24 years old. She opened her first Bohdii Boutique in Western Mass. (East Longmeadow) in November 2019 to see if she could do it. “Then I brought myself to the big city.”
A Boston shop made sense because she ships a lot of merchandise from her e-commerce store to the area.
The boutique is in the former Cafe Arpeggio space. “[South Boston is] a great area,” said Justice. “I looked at a few different spots and this is the only one that grabbed my attention. The brick wall, the windows, the location …”
The big windows let in a ton of light. The brick wall itself is a statement piece. In the dressing room area, there’s a beautiful wall hanging by Lucy Blooms and a lighted sign, a huge mirror, and a cool couch. There’s a sunglass wall, a wall of hats, racks and display tables full of clothes, a variety of shoes and boots, as well as purses, swimsuits, jewelry, accessories, masks, and more.
It’s a welcoming, inviting place with super friendly staff.
The boutique’s signature style is Boho chic. “I like to say that a mom, a daughter, and a grandmother can all come in and find something to wear,” said Justice. “We have a really good mix between staple pieces that you’re going to keep in your closet forever, but we also are keeping up with the most current trends.”
During its grand opening, the shop sold out of a stylish bandana top. “Trendy pieces are going. Everybody is excited,” Justice said. “Everybody is vaccinated and ready to get going.”
Shoppers can get two pieces for less than $100, Justice said. “It’s very affordable.”
The boutique has had continuous foot traffic since the opening, Justice said. On a busy Monday afternoon, there was a steady stream of customers. A couple of guys even came in and, with the help of the staff, purchased a gift.
”It’s been a great vibe,” Justice said. “Everyone is in good spirits. It feels good going into the warm weather. Everybody is excited to get out.”
The boutique is open from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Justice graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with a major in communication and a minor in psychology. During her time at UMass, she went to Milan to study fashion and had internships in buying and in event planning and management, all of which set her up well for owning boutiques … from advertising and social media to buying inventory and building a brand.
“I’ve always wanted to run a small business,” she said. “Both my parents have small businesses. I’ve always loved the idea of building your own schedule and building something you can be proud of. I’ve always wanted to open a boutique.”
Justice goes big on social media, posting regularly. Her Instagram account has almost 7,000 followers. Once she opened the Southie shop, she gained 1,000 followers in just a few days. “It’s pretty awesome,” she said, noting her next goal is to reach 10,000 followers.
Justice lives in Springfield, but with the opening of the new South Boston shop, she’s been staying in Dorchester with her sister. She’ll be spending more time here for now and eventually splitting her time between her two shops.
She has great staff at both stores. “Your staff is your everything,” Justice said. “I’m a big believer in treating everyone like an equal and respecting everyone’s opinions.”
According to her website, Bohdii stands for “enlightenment” and “a sense of freedom.”
Justice had a blog for travel photos that she named Bohdii. When she opened her first shop she figured she’d stick with the same name. “I thought it had that Bohemian feel to it and it means something great. It’s really unique and something that would stand out.
“I wanted it to be its own entity. It’s like my baby. I gave it its own name.”
Justice is a vibrant, outgoing, hardworking go-getter who is largely self-taught. To have two brick and mortar businesses – and an e-commerce store – at the age of 24 is amazing. But she readily attributes her success to the people with whom she surrounds herself. “I’ve had some great mentors [including her dad] … that helped me come to where I am,” she said. “I would be lying if I said I did it on my own. It’s definitely been the people who have helped me.”
But Justice puts in the work, clocking about 90 hours a week.
She wants her customers to have the best experience they can when they come to her boutique.
During training for her employees, she told them: “We’re not here to drive sales down people’s throats. We’re here to make people feel good and if they leave empty-handed but they have something good to say about us, then that’s all that matters; they’ll come back.”
Their perception of the store is more important than any sale. “People come to boutiques for a shopping experience.
“I want to make sure everybody knows we’re a very welcoming store; we want everybody to come in,” Justice said. “We’re here to help everybody. We’re here to make you comfortable and make you look good and, most importantly, make you feel good.”
- Instagram: @bohdiiboutique
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BohdiiBoutique
- Website: https://www.bohdiiboutique.com/