New to the neighborhood: t.a.
July 21, 2020
We’re always excited for new businesses to open in the neighborhood. After the firestorm that 2020 has been, it was doubly good news when Telsha Anderson announced that she’d be opening a luxury boutique, t.a., in Meatpacking. While the store’s opening might be much different than originally planned, we’re excited to welcome t.a. to the neighborhood. Telsha gave us the background to why she opened a boutique and what it was like navigating opening a business during the city-wide shutdown. Be sure to stop by and say hello to Telsha and t.a. at 332 W 13th Street.
When did you first know you loved fashion?
Discovering my grandmother and my mother’s closets is where I first fell in love with fashion. Their closets and jewelry cabinets were overflowing with some of the most coveted items in fashion history and often had some gems that I genuinely did not and still don’t think existed anywhere outside of their wardrobes.
What made you want to enter the fashion industry?
I always knew I wanted to be in fashion, but luckily it was on my own terms when I decided to enter the industry. I’d yet to come across an indie boutique in the heart of Manhattan that had its own unique approach towards luxury retail, so I decided to be the one intentional independent retailer to offer that experience, which was the main driver in the curation of t.a.
What inspired you to open your own boutique?
I was inspired to launch t.a. throughout my time at Syracuse University, studying Retail Management and African American Studies where I developed the concept of the store, after having envisioned retail spaces as my own during visits to Manhattan, imagining the brands I’d feature that I had just discovered online in class.
What distinguishes t.a. from other luxury boutique experiences?
From the brands we carry to the store’s design, everything at t.a. is curated with intention. Like my mother’s closet, I wanted the space to be a direct representation of my lifestyle, and as a consumer, I understand the importance of shopping at a place that has its own identity.
In launching t.a., it was a necessity to incorporate designers of color, providing shelf space for brands that aren’t often found in current retailers who are also intentional with their approach toward luxury living and had a voice of their own.
Aside from the clothing, the shop is carefully curated with beautiful decor purchased from small local businesses to enhance the store experience, which was adopted by my mother’s approach to creating spaces that feel like home.
Why did you choose Meatpacking for the location?
I searched for an area that would help bring t.a. to life because it was important for the store to be surrounded by businesses that would complement the brand versus compete with it directly. t.a. is within a 5-minute walking distance from major attractions, popular shops, and bucket-list restaurants, encouraging local residents and tourists to visit the boutique, so it just made sense.
How did you navigate COVID-19 when it came to the boutique?
The plan was to launch mid-March with e-commerce to follow months later, but due to the stay-at-home order in NYC we had to quickly pivot in order to keep t.a. afloat. Within 24 hours I created our website so that consumers could still shop and engage with t.a., providing me with the insight to see what products and aesthetic shoppers were gravitating towards more.
Though we had to put a pause on opening our flagship’s doors, we were able to form a strong digital presence with editors, influencers, and even potential shoppers who are now current customers.
I had been looking forward to the day t.a. opened IRL, being able to reconnect in person after being isolated, but also moving forward towards an exciting, new way of buying for women, so I am beyond thankful to now offer the full in-store experience.
To ensure everyone’s safety, the store is limited to 5 guests at a time to maintain social distancing, and masks are required. The store is carefully sanitized throughout the day and all tried-on garments also receive proper sanitation before returning to the sales floor. We’re also offering private, one-on-one appointments for guests who feel more comfortable shopping alone from 10-11am and 5-6pm, which can be booked directly on our website.
What are you most excited about now that in person shopping is allowed?
Nothing else compares to face-to-face interactions. It’s been so exciting to see people’s reactions when they step into t.a. for the first time because they are literally walking into my personal love letter to fashion while discovering new designers. I want them to feel acknowledged and loved while they experience the true joy of shopping, and walking back out with those same feelings.
How do you decide what labels you will purchase from?
The buying process for t.a. requires an immense amount of personal intuition. I’ve sourced designers from all over the world including Tbilisi, London, Paris, Peru, Milan, South Korea, LA, and New York. My unique approach to global curation derived from Tumblr, Instagram, day-to-day dialogue with my peers, and discovering what consumers felt was “missing” in the industry. We feature both local designers and up-and-coming international brands, many of which are POC-owned, who participate in only one or two market seasons to ensure our they too also create with intention.
Who are your biggest influences in the fashion space?
I’m drawn towards Tracee Ellis Ross and Victoria Beckham, both on the camera and off. From what I can tell, their style transcends beyond their closets into their everyday lives. I remember watching Tracee on Girlfriends and falling in love with everything she wore on the show because it seemed like something she’d actually purchase off screen.
What’s one item in your wardrobe that you can’t live without? Why?
Two years ago on a random Wednesday, I bought a gold necklace from New Top, a jewelry store on Canal Street owned by a woman named Jane, and I wear it every single day. Since then, I’ve only taken it off maybe five times and for me it’s a reminder to treat myself on those random Summer days.