Wednesday, December 31, 2014

THE YEAR THAT WAS…

Wow, 2014 here at Maria Luisa was really something.
And we thank you, our preferred customers, for being with us every step of the way.
The Maria Luisa team
It’s become our custom to pause before the start of each new year, take a few moments to look back and savor all that has passed.
Your continued support and loyalty are among the most rewarding aspects of what goes on at both Maria Luisa Boutique and ML by Maria Luisa.
Our team members genuinely enjoy talking with you, catching up with you — and helping you find that perfect outfit, shoe, necklace or gift.
From the earliest days of last January all the way through this recent holiday season, we have been looking ever forward, which is always reflected in what we offer.
ML/GL
Launch Event
Yes, there is a “Maria Luisa look,”and it’s one that continues to evolve.
We continue to seek out the most unique fashions, accessories, gifts and home-d├ęcor items to offer you in our shops. And, as you know, who makes those items is very important to us. We have long supported the artisan way, the shopping local movement, the Fair Trade methods of production.
A major effort
Frances Pratt, Nyack Mayor Jen White,
NY Congress Woman Nita Lowey, 

Senator David Carlucci and Maria Luisa
Perhaps the biggest moment of this year for us was the official launch of the Maria Luisa/Global Local Initiative this autumn. It was an exciting evening – with local dignitaries in attendance – when we officially launched the initiative that formalizes what we have been doing for decades.
Hopefully, you are well aware of this new program – and we thank all those who have so heartily embraced it by shopping online at marialuisaboutique.com. In short, it’s a way for us to continue to offer you goods created by those artists, artisans and companies whose philosophy aligns with ours, a way to bring

you what we feel is the very best while also supporting our local community, of which we are a very active and proud part.
With ML/GL, when you shop online, we have made the commitment to donate 10% of the proceeds to a local nonprofit. You shop, and we donate to The Nyack Center, People to People or VCS Pride – whichever organization you designate. Of course, you can also opt to support the ML by Maria Luisa Scholarship Fund, also launched this year. We look forward to awarding the scholarship this spring to a deserving female high-school senior who has demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to the principles of civic and community involvement, of social justice and of Fair Trade and eco-minded endeavors.
Our own commitment to such endeavors is something we strive to carry out every day, as exemplified by our Say NO! to the Bag campaign, which continues to grow. Keep Rockland Beautiful, marched in support of our cause.
We will always ask if you need a bag in our efforts to reduce (and eventually do away with) the prevalence of single-use plastic bags. Perhaps you saw our most outward sign of the effort on Halloween? Yes, that was Maria herself as the 'Bag Beauty', Bill Batson as the 'Bag Beast' – and quite a few team members – sporting fashions created out of recycled bags as we, along with
With honors 
Social Justice Day
The year has been one of further public recognition, with Maria Luisa Whittingham receiving several honors. In January, she was recognized during Nyack College’s 2014 Social Justice Day Luncheon, while November found her accepting another award, this time during the fourth annual Hispanic Business Awards.
But, of course, Maria will be the first one to tell you she’s not in it for the recognition. Her quiet support of so many causes and efforts over the years attests to that fact. Still, when the need is there, Maria is not shy about speaking up as she did with her persuasive “Shop Local” op-ed piece published in The Journal News and on LoHud.com in late summer.
A new look
With an eye always on the future, Maria Luisa took several major steps this year, as well. First up was an ambitious construction project that transformed ML by Maria Luisa. It was a long haul, but the “sneak peek” special event, held in conjunction with September’s “First Friday” event followed up by an entire weekend of “Grand Re-Opening” festivities in October let us all know the work was more than worth it.
In addition, Maria Luisa thanks you for all your votes that allowed her to advance in “Main Street Mission Grant, a grant program from Chase. The program included an intense application project completed in hopes of securing funds that would allow the business, primarily on the infrastructure and technology front, to advance to another level. (Keep your fingers crossed as we await the announcement of the winners in early 2015.)
The art of business
Throughout, there are those “everyday” efforts that Maria Luisa participates Nyack High School’s Arts Angels program. The shops were also part of the annual ArtWalk event and further supported arts events ranging from a film screening at The Edward Hopper House Art Center to the Local Arts Index, which appears in Nyack News & Views. (Many of the featured artists have also exhibited at ML by Maria Luisa).
in that simply add to the richness of Nyack life. Once again, the shops took part in every Nyack street fair and welcomed countless guests to “First Friday” events, including a most memorable evening that spotlighted the young talent of
The year also saw Maria’s return to Peru, where she was invited back as part of a program designed to increase trade. She connected with many new artisans and small companies whose beautiful handiwork continues to be featured in the shops.
Not bad, right?
And those are just the highlights.
As you can see, it’s been quite a year.
We can’t wait to see what 2015 brings — and we look forward to seeing you at Maria Luisa Boutique and ML by Maria Luisa soon, when we can wish you a “Happy, Healthy New Year” in person.
     Mary Shustack, Maria Luisa newsletter editor.
  

Monday, December 1, 2014

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