By Ginger DeShaney
When you see Marisa Carlini in the neighborhood, she will likely have a smile on her face.
Whether in her shop (LUXE home interiors), coaching on the softball field or basketball court, or teaching at Miss Linda’s School of Dance, it’s important for Marisa to give back.
“I care about kids; I love teaching them,” she said. “You walk out happy.”
Marisa played basketball and softball and was a dancer herself. So it was natural for her to help out in the community. Her kids, Chloe, 12, and Sadie, 13, have been going to Miss Linda’s forever. To give back, Marisa teaches 4- and 5-year-old dancers.
Her kids go to South Boston Catholic Academy and she coaches basketball there. She’s also involved with Southie softball.
“It takes you out of your own life for an hour where I’m not thinking about the business,” Marisa said.
Speaking of business, Marisa’s boutique at 66A L Street is turning 1 this month. LUXE offers Marisa’s interior design services as well as a retail shop. She specializes in discovering rare and unusual decorative pieces. “Our boutique store and design services will provide relaxed, sophisticated, layered looks, satisfying city living, family living, and busy living.”
After 30 years in the design industry at the Design Center, Marisa realized her dream of opening her own shop, calling it one of the best decisions she’s ever made.
The timing was right, the situation was perfect. The space opened up right near her house. “After 30 years of working for somebody else, I can bring my knowledge and relationships to my own space.”
It was sort of unplanned, but she credits SCORE Boston and Eastern Bank for helping her get started.
The first year saw ups and downs, ebbs and flows, but she’s having a blast.
The retail part has been fun, Marisa said, noting she enjoys researching and choosing which pieces to feature in the shop.
She also offers a free one-hour consultation for interior design. At this house call, she finds out what the customer is looking for, their budget, their style. These sessions might be for draperies or accessories, furniture or pillows.
When you stop in the shop, you’ll also get to meet Marisa’s cute dog, Baylor, who is her constant companion.
The shop is a perfect fit for Marisa, a people person. “It’s been a joy to meet so many people. I love that part of it,” she said, noting she’s made many new friends since opening the shop.
“I hope to have a personal connection with each and every one of you by providing quality service and products and great customer care,” said Marisa.
Along that same vein, Marisa, 56, is an unofficial small business ambassador in the neighborhood. “I try to support locals.”
When new businesses open, she stops by, helps promote them, and encourages them to join the South Boston Chamber of Commerce. She has items from local makers and businesses in her shop and hosts sip & shops with local makers.
What’s the highlight from her first year? Being an entrepreneur, she said. “I’m proud of myself for doing this.”
What’s she looking forward to in Year 2? More business, more people seeing her boutique. “I’m hoping that my relationships with people will spread the word.”
The native New Yorker has lived in South Boston for 18 years and loves it.
“I love that it’s convenient. It’s a large neighborhood … I love that there’s so many parks. And I love the beach. I just love the city atmosphere. I love my kids being raised here.”
And she loves the people.