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As a Store Owner Who Opened During COVID-19, Telsha Anderson Finds Beauty in Taking Risks

Telsha Anderson
Telsha AndersonPhoto: Colette Aboussouan
Opening a brick-and-mortar store during the pandemic may seem like a risky business move, but it’s one that has paid off for New York City store owner Telsha Anderson. The entrepreneur opened her clothing store, t.a., in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District in July of last year. At the time, the city was still in phase three of reopening businesses, and many storefront owners remained uncertain of their future. “The biggest challenge was not knowing what was coming next,” says Anderson. But almost eight months later, the store is continuing to sustain a crowd of fashion fans—all of whom flock toward its eclectic assortment of cool, indie labels.

The store’s success is even more impressive considering Anderson opened and grew it while studying brand management at NYU (she graduates in the spring). She said she was inspired to open a retail space that offered an assortment of clothes that were quirky and unique, and felt there was a void in the city for this, especially after some of her favorite boutiques like Opening Ceremony and Totokaelo closed their doors. “I truly believe in experiential buying,” Anderson says. “For me, it was about creating a space that was welcoming. A space that’s not only inclusive of the cool brands, but a brand that no one really knows. Bringing back that excitement behind discovery.”

Telsha Andersons t.a.
Telsha Anderson’s t.a.Photo: Justin Boone

In her bright, airy store, one can currently find a contemporary selection of cool emerging brands, such as Ottolinger, Simon Miller, Private Policy, and Beaufille—which are often not stocked at larger department stores. She says being situated in the Meatpacking District, which is full of chain retailers and stores for singular brands, allows her to offer something more different. “[I go for] brands that have their own identity, and their own outlook towards fashion,” she explains. “Someone like Christopher John Rogers, for instance, is still creating some incredible gowns and runway pieces, regardless of the pandemic.”

Anderson also limits the number of brands she carries in her store at one time—it can range from three to 10—and instead focuses on the pieces themselves. She wants to offer her customers unique, standout items, rather than the everyday basics. “Picking the most obscure thing off a line sheet has sold quicker [for us] than a basic top or pant. You can get your basics anywhere,” says Anderson. She takes an instinctive approach to buying, taking in feedback from customers or considering what the fashion girls she follows are posting about. “[Our shoppers] are not necessarily coming here to create their style; they’re coming here to add to what they already know to be true,” Anderson says. “City girls love a good statement moment.”

Telsha Anderson
Telsha AndersonPhoto: Colette Aboussouan

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