Oo La La boutique brings foreign trends to Great Neck residents

Robert Pelaez
Judy and Michael Malekan have been traveling around the world finding new fashion trends for the boutique. (Photo courtesy of Judy Malekan)

Oo La La Boutique owners Judy and Michael Malekan have been bringing the latest foreign trends to the Great Neck community since 2001.

One of the area’s few remaining family-run businesses, Oo La La is located on 39 Middle Neck Road in the heart of the downtown community.  The store offers special event dresses and gowns but also brings an array of more casual fashion from across the globe.

“We have traveled extensively through Europe where we purchase our unique merchandise,” Judy said. “We bring back clothes with the finest quality to the states and present them in our store in an intimate environment for our customers.”

Judy said that possessing a niche style of clothing is one of the ways that the store touts its “one-of-a-kind atmosphere.”  She said that her business is predominantly word-of-mouth, and that word has spread all across Long Island.

“Our main base of clients reside in Great Neck,” she said. “But we have people coming in from the Hamptons and Manhattan to come and see our selection.  Our customers know that what they see in our store is some of the most trendy and stylish fashion around other parts of the world right now.”

The Oo La La’s collection includes fashions from Paris, Italy, and Brazil, just to name a few.  It is important to expose domestic customers to styles and fashion trends from around the world, Judy said.

“A large number of our clothing lines are from overseas,” she said. “Sometimes people will pick out an outfit or dress that sparks their interest, and then that one article of clothing can open a whole new door for their own personal fashion sense.”

Aside from becoming a trend-setter in New York, Judy said the customer experience that is provided at Oo La La is tough to come by.  It is also one of the main reasons people pick her business over large retail stores or online shopping sites.

“When people come in, they are always immediately welcomed by myself or anyone else who is working here,” she said.  “Our main goal is to find exactly what a customer is looking for and throw in some of our expertise to help guide them if they do not know exactly what they want.  We will always be looking out for our clients rather than sell them something pricey that they are not fully sold on.”

The relationship Judy has with her clients extends beyond recurring sales every few weeks.  She said that generations of women come into their store looking for special occasion gowns and dresses and that it is up to her to make sure the entire family is pleased with their selection.

“We have fitted 16-year-olds and we’ve fit 90-year-olds, so we have seen everything here,” Judy said. “When we are helping a family pick out the most appropriate clothes for an important event, we put ourselves in their shoes and try to see what is best for them.”

Even when more people are choosing to peruse the online selection and save a trip out, Judy said that the boutique has a wonderful and loyal clientele that keeps her in business.

“There is a special ambiance when people walk into the store, and it’s something that customers have told me they don’t feel at any other store,” she said. “Everyone is family when they walk in here. It is a catered customer experience for anyone who walks in our door.”

Despite a handful of customers driving upwards of three hours to find that perfectly unique piece of clothing, Judy said that it is the people of Great Neck who have been there since the very beginning.

“I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to surround my store each day,” she said. “The residents here have shown so much patronage and kindness since we first opened.  I am always grateful for our local community supporting us.”

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