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On 128 Merrimack Street in downtown lies one of Lowell’s many hidden treasures: Humanity. The owner, Ani Vong, would describe Humanity as a “vintage-sheek” boutique that caters to all women. The warm, welcoming atmosphere of the shop makes this the perfect spot to satisfy your shopping sweet tooth, and catch up on the latest gossip with your girlfriends.
One of the pros of shopping locally at Humanity, versus a department clothing store, is that every piece Vong brings into the shop is unique. She does this through a combination of online shopping, and traveling to other states. Vong primarily travels to New York for her accessories and Los Angeles for her clothing pieces.
When asked what she looks for when she is buying pieces for the shop, Vong said she isn’t into what would be considered “trendy.” She usually goes for what other people might overlook. Overall she is looking for clothing and accessories that are “vintage, soft, girly, feminine-grunge.”
Not only are the pieces one of a kind, they are also reasonably priced. Price can be a deal-breaker for UMass Lowell students due to college students’ budgets. On top of the 10 percent discount that students receive on purchases, there are frequently additional sales on clothing in Humanity.
Vong has lived in Lowell for the past 30 years. She grew up with a passion for fashion and creativity, making clothes for her Barbie dolls. Now that her lifelong dream of owning a boutique has been fulfilled, she said she still feels like she is living in a dream from time to time.
Vong has always had a strong desire to give back to the community that she has lived and grown in. Although owning a business in downtown Lowell isn’t always easy, she loves the atmosphere. When there are events in the area it allows people from all over to discover the treasures of Lowell, including Humanity. She feels that through Humanity she is doing something for her community “one outfit at a time.”
Although Humanity has been downtown since 2008, Vong has officially owned the boutique since July 2014. She has been a loyal shopper since the boutique first opened, and was offered a manager position by the previous owners in 2012.
Vong said that making the transition from manager to owner was very easy for her because she was so invested in Humanity. Spending almost every day in the boutique as the manager, she felt that she would live her life in regret if she didn’t seize the opportunity to take over ownership of the business.
Vong has always had style in the bag but lacked the business aspect of owning a boutique. In order to prepare herself she took a business class with the Merrimack Valley Small Business Center, and she is frequently reading books on business ownership.
Vong has expanded Humanity’s presence on social media, which has allowed the boutique to reach a wider range of customers, and really create a lasting connection and bond with these women.
Now that she has officially become the owner of Humanity, Vong is preparing for a re-launch that is set to happen on Saturday, May 2. Her hope for the remodeling is to have a simpler, vintage look to the boutique so that the clothes and accessories can be the focal points. There will be catered food and desserts, a DJ, raffles, and a fashion show during the event.
Stay up to date on all of Humanity’s incoming accessories and clothing pieces by following them on all your social media outlets. Also, stay tuned for the re-launch coming soon, don’t miss it!
Humanity can be found on Facebook (Humanity Lowell), Twitter (@HumanityStyles) and Instagram (humanitystyle).