To celebrate Women’s History Month, we are featuring some of Westchester’s wonderful women!
Just over a year ago, a bit of Ireland landed on Mamaroneck Avenue, in Mamaroneck. Some of you may already know what we are talking about, as it has become a most beloved spot for patrons. Brigit Boutique – Ethereal Objects to Wear, Treasure and Give has become a welcome part of the economic landscape, and constantly developing commercial area of Mamaroneck. A beautifully eclectic array of wearable art is offered, perfect for personal attire, as well as gift giving!
We had a chance to speak to Brigit’s equally ethereal founder and owner, BREDA LEAHY, and we quickly learned that Brigit is much more than another attractive storefront. According to Leahy, a trained Doctor of Optometry, she conceived of her shop while taking leave from her career to spend some time raising her daughter. Knowing that she wanted to move in a new direction, Leahy’s goal in opening Brigit (which opened on Black Friday, by the way), was to “create a tranquil, welcoming atmosphere in which a client can feel at one with herself, without feeling pressure to buy…and to also create a sense of empowering women as both consumers and artisans…a karmic, well intentioned cycle of giving and receiving – not simply a cold exchange”. Leahy has truly embodied that sentiment in the way she runs her shop, and in the items she picks to line its walls and shelves. All items are chosen by her, and are not typically found in larger department stores, or even boutiques. All finds are unique, and have meaning to Leahy…and thus to her customers. She feels that Mamaroneck was the perfect place as a home for her store, as it has that non-contrived “mini Greenwich Village” vibe to it. As Leahy professes, “Mamaroneck is undergoing a current growth spurt in an authentic and diverse manner, and is well supported by Mayor Norman Rosenblum”. Brigit has created such an impact, that not only do women from Westchester flock to it, but Leahy draws consumers from all over the greater NY Metro area. One patron even makes a monthly commute from the city, religiously.
Leahy has compiled items from artisans from all over the world, as well as local craftspeople. You can find everything from authentic Sari Bags from India, to beautiful hand-threaded metallic cuff bracelets from Israeli designer, Ricci, as well as local Harmon Apothecary’s soaps and lotions and Meta Lau’s semi-precious earrings. Leahy appeals to all customers by keeping her price points reasonable, at ranges from $45 to $165.
As if that weren’t enough, Leahy strongly believes in the concept of giving back. Whether it is featuring items for sale that support craftspeople’s livelihoods all over the world (such as Fair Trade items), or going even further by frequently holding events to benefit such charities as Cecily’s Fund of America and Children of the Ganges…and most recently, The American Red Cross.
Children of the Ganges is comprised of volunteers who, moved by the plight of street children, provide free education from kindergarten to senior secondary levels, and promote the qualities of kindness and compassion, and universal self responsibility. American Friends of Cecily’s Fund, support Cecily’s Fund in the UK, working with well run Zambian groups to educate Zambian children who have been orphaned by AIDS. The American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals all over the United States. In addition, the Red Cross provides relief to disaster victims all over the world.
Leahy, being from Ireland, is throwing a St. Patrick’s Day Party on March 17, 2012. You can see details in our St. Patrick’s Day Guide, here. In addition to food, fun and frivolity, you will also have the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets (and win some great prizes) to benefit the charities described above. And yes, you can purchase wonderful Irish trinkets at Brigit as well. After all, an Irish lass must have some good things from the Emerald Isle in her shop!
As Leahy says, Brigit is a multi-faceted store, full of treats for the senses. “We all deserve a treat now and then, whatever the economic state. As women journeying through life, a non-expensive treat is well deserved. It took me years to give myself permission to treat myself with compassion, and to feel my own power as a woman. I want to share this gift with others.”
And finally – Brigit?? Yes, we got the answer to that one! “My name, Breda, is Gaelic for Brigit. Brigit is my grandmother’s name, and Brigit was known for being a woman that represented her self-empowerment. She did not attach herself to a man to be cared for as was expected during her era…but rather, she chose to follow her heart and her own life’s journey”.
Take a trip to Mamaroneck to visit Breda at BRIGIT. Visit the website here for the address and times, and more information. We promise, you will be glad you treated yourself, and got to experience the wonderful woman behind it all!