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business

Young Westwood Store Owner Balances Textbooks, Textiles

Lara Henawi, the owner of Ludovica in Westwood, is a senior at Ramapo College in Mahwah.
Lara Henawi, the owner of Ludovica in Westwood, is a senior at Ramapo College in Mahwah. Photo Credit: Lara Henawi
Lara Henawi outside of her Westwood boutique.
Lara Henawi outside of her Westwood boutique. Photo Credit: Submitted

WESTWOOD, N.J. -- Don't be surprised if you see a college textbook by the counter at Westwood Avenue's Ludovica .

That's because the owner, Lara Henawi, is a senior at Ramapo College in Mahwah.

The Saddle Brook resident, who is studying business (not fashion!), said she always wanted to open her own boutique.

"My dad is an entrepreneur so he decided to take on this project and help me open my own store," she said.

Henawi said she's always held a job to make her own money so when this opportunity came along, she knew she could do it.

And while it can be stressful at times-- especially during finals week -- she said she has a great support system of friends and family that help her out when she needs it.

The mission of Ludovica, which opened in March 2014, is to" build an inexpensive image of peaceful, chic, and unique style for buyers."

"Just because somebody buys only designer or high-end clothes, doesn't mean they have a sense of style," said Henawi. "I've learned that style is discovering and creating new looks, no matter where they come from or how much they cost."

First and foremost, she wants people to know they will always be able to find something new and different at Ludovica, with many items set at affordable price points.

"I know how it feels to want to dress a certain way and not have the money to afford it, and I don't want my customers to not be able to afford the clothes they want," she said.

Popular items at Ludovica include strappy bralettes, unique hand-chains, rings, and necklaces, cropped tops, and fun, printed, wide-leg pants.

The last few months have also seen a surge in Lokai bracelets and chokers.

Many lines come from Los Angeles such as Cotton Candy, Fate, Angie, and Audrey 3+1, along with brands such as Quay and Lokai.

Eventually, Henawi hopes to bring Ludovica's wares online, though she admits that may be a project for when she's finally finished with school.

"I'm so excited to graduate and focus all of my time and energy on the store," she said.

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