| Image from NavyBLEU |
I remember stumbling upon navyBLEU on Instagram about a year and a half ago and thinking, “No WAY! An entire store dedicated to my favorite color? This is a dream come true.” Well it turns out, navyBLEU was a dream come true on a whole other level for Erin Hornyak. With a history in custom retail and four kiddos getting older, Erin took her very blue vision to paper and created an online shop that would stop fellow preps and New Englanders in their tracks. The shop is filled with curated picks from brands like Sail to Sable and Draper James, and then most recently, her very own line of cashmere sweaters!
When Erin decided to go forward with this line, she wanted to offer far more than the typical top. She coined ‘Cashmere with a Purpose’ noting that “a portion of every navyBLEU cashmere sweater sold will go to the nonprofit, One Warm Coat, who provides free coats to children and adults in need.”
A little on the sweaters– they are 100% cashmere sourced from Inner Mongolia. The shape is semi-fitted, hits at mid hip and has full length sleeves. I’m 5’4″ and I typically wear a size small/4, and I would say these are true to size. On me, the sleeves were long enough to cover the wrists, so you can actually stay warm! I also tried rolling them in anticipation of summer nights and loved that styling option as well. They come in three designs: flag, camel and navy, and grey.
Before we get to the Q&A– here are a few of my navyBleu favorites and a coupon code:
- Flag Cashmere Sweater (shown in photos)
- Mixed-Media Top with a surprise in the back
- Cozy Cardigan with a great shape and sporty neck
- Color Block Dress with glorious sleeves– would love to bring this on vacation after COVID season!
Order by December 20th for Christmas delivery and be sure to use code ‘COUNTDOWN’ for 20%off!
- What made you decide to pursue owning your own business? I’ve been an entrepreneur for most of my career. My previous business, anna william, was a custom handbag company. We had two retail stores in the Boston area and manufactured our line in Lynn, MA. After we sold the company, I spent several years raising my 4 kids. Now that they are teens and off to college, I felt it was a great time to jump back into work. navyBLUE was born in 2019! Ever since, I’ve been busy curating a brand that represents my preppy style in favorite color, navy.
- What’s your favorite part of owning an online boutique? Hands down, I love the buying process! I also love the designing process. There are many steps to creating a collection and I find it very fulfilling. I can’t wait to share my new cashmere line with everyone.
- What is something that your customers would be surprised to find out about you? I rowed crew in college.
- How do you find community in the small business world among peers? I have met the most amazing people since my launch. Mostly via Instagram! Everyone is so supportive and I really feel like we are all in this together. I love supporting other brands whenever possible. I meet someone new almost every day…and sometimes I get lucky enough to meet them in person.
- What advice would you give to someone considering opening a business? My advice is to do something you are passionate about! Without passion, you will lose steam. Also, there is no perfect time to start a business. You have to be willing to take a risk. I once read, if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re too small. Be prepared to work. You have to put the time in to be successful. Solicit advice from people that you trust. Network!
- What was one the biggest hurdles you had to overcome with navyBLEU? My biggest obstacle when launching was on the buying end. I was a brand new online retailer and I had to convince brands to believe in my concept. My website was not complete when I started buying merchandise for navyBLEU. Therefore, I had to send screenshots of the site and give them a good reason to partner with shopnavybleu.com. I was also unsure of what quantities to purchase. I started with a few XS, S, M, and L sizes in each product, a bit of a guessing game but the formula proved to work. I will be forever grateful to those first few manufacturers that believed in me and my concept.
- Can you tell us all about this new cashmere sweater launch? I am so excited about this cashmere sweater collection! I have always loved cashmere sweaters & stripes so this first collection is full of navy stripe combos! The most exciting part of this launch is our partnership with Operation Warm. A portion of every navyBLEU cashmere sweater sold will go to the nonprofit, ONE WARM COAT who provides new winter coats to children in need. These sweaters will be sold at shopnavybleu.com and also at the store, For Now in Boston.
- You share gorgeous interiors on your Instagram feed. Are you into home decor as well as fashion? Very much! I love home decor. I am always drawn to blue and white for my own home and often find inspiration in my own IG feed and pinterest. I love sharing with my followers too.
- What does a typical day look like for you at the moment? My days are always different but definitely jam packed. I usually start with social media and then jump into shipping. I wear every hat in my business from customer service, accounting, shipping, to marketing. I love the flexibility that comes with owning my own business so that I can prioritize family when I need to.
- Can you describe your happy place? Stonington, CT and Nantucket! I live for the summers when I can spend time relaxing with family & friends. Nothing better than the smell of the ocean and cruising on the boat.
- What hobby/ies are you enjoying through COVID-19? I walk A LOT! Generally 5 fast miles a day. I was so grateful to be able to continue walking during the pandemic. I tried knitting but that was a big failure. We had all 4 kids home which was awesome! Lots of great family time that I will always treasure.
This or That?
- Read a book OR Listen to a playlist: This is a tough one. Lately, I have not had much time to read but I really do love both.
- Keep your style classic OR Let your style evolve: Classic but I definitely love to throw in some trends.
- Go on an adventure OR Stay in and relax: Adventure!
- Rewatch favorites OR Search for a new show: New show
- Flats OR Heels: Flats…Heels and I do not get along.
- The more the merrier OR More fun with fewer: 100% the more the merrier (which may drive my hubby nuts)
- Cleaning is my ♥️language OR Cleaning is my nightmare: I am somewhere in the middle here. I keep my first floor very tidy but my bedroom is a bit of a mess.
- Here for Humor OR Please be serious: Humor
🔥Rapid Fire 🔥
- Home accessory of the season: Navy Monogrammed Pillow
- Quote to live by: “Don’t sweat the small stuff”
- You’ll never see me______: Driving a boat
- Amp song: Circles By Post Malone
- I’d love if ________ would play my character in a movie: Emma Stone
Order from navyBLEU by December 20th for Christmas delivery.
Use code ‘COUNTDOWN’ for 20%off!