A new high end outlet store for Mitchelstown could see an end to the Christmas shopping trips to New York.
Kristina Bataityte has battled hurricanes and Covid-19 to open her store EasyStreet Brandwear in the town. The shop will bring labels such as Dolce and Gabana, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Versace among others to the main street.
Kristina spoke to The Avondhu this week to reveal the battle she fought to get the high end store stocked in time for opening.
“I just opened on September 21, and I cannot overstate the struggle I had to get to that moment. I had to fight against Covid-19 and a hurricane to get the stock from the wholesaler in Florida to Ireland.
“It was a real struggle to get the products here within eight weeks but the goodies, the shoes, handbags and clothes for men and women, have arrived.”
Kristina, moved to Ireland from Lithuania just over 15 years ago having worked for a fashion designer in her home country. She worked for a time in retail here in various places but found herself back in Mitchelstown.
In all that time she had a dream to bring the TK Maxx model of high end brands at reasonable prices to a small town. Her love of Mitchelstown meant that she and her husband Keith Finnegan saw them move back to North Cork.
That dream has been realised – but with a twist. She has hooked up with US distributors of the world’s most famous designers and can also order in the best of clothing from those suppliers.
But it hasn’t been without its challenges as those US exporters, linked to the New York department stores of Bloomingdales and Macy’s, were struggling against natural disasters and the pandemic.
“I researched a lot and I established a connection with the suppliers in Florida and New York. I had to provide all the documents to show that I was a bone fide outlet store here in Ireland and that I was registered with European authorities for VAT which enables me to bring the goods through customs,” she said.
“All the clothes come from the department stores of Macy’s or Bloomingdales which are hugely popular, they are the US equivalent of Brown Thomas here.
“Everything I have comes from there. I had to go through a long process that I am a reseller, not just using the name and brand online, you have to have an outlet store.
“Once I established that, then all products from them, individual products or bulk can be shipped here. The shipments come in a container to be collected or delivered. I had to have my own customs’ clearance.”
The amazing Aladdin’s Cave of high-end stock is all in the proof on the tags and the labels.
“It is all available here, all the stock from New York, you can see it on the tags attached to the clothing,” Kristina said.
The shop owner said that the idea came to her as a way of getting high quality clothing to the small town.
“I want to bring big city shopping to a small town like Mitchelstown, the people here deserve to have that. I can bring the best of clothes or shoes or handbags here in town.
“I will also offer a Christmas Club idea whereby you can put money away and pay for the garments as you go.
“There will also be affordable brands but ultimately it is about bringing access to the best of clothes and giving them that big city experience.”