Cheshire teenager starts eco-clothing business
CHESHIRE — Growing up, Cheshire High School junior Leah Gentile loved going to the shops to pick out things for her wardrobe.
Over the years, she became interested in the fabric of clothing and the impact of clothing on the environment.
“I saw people buying cheap clothes and throwing them away,” she said. “It seemed like a waste.”
Last year, Gentile decided to combine her interest in fashion and the environment by starting her own business. Viridian Boutique sells clothing made from environmentally friendly materials.
“I’ve always wanted to create something that helps in multiple ways,” Gentile said. “The thing is, this business is a sustainable boutique. You can be stylish, but also be eco-friendly, so you don’t harm the planet.
After shopping for clothes and clothes racks, she decided Cheshire Fall Festival 2021 would be a good place to get started.
Since then, she has attended a dozen events, including visits to Quinnipiac University and Trinity College. On March 28, Gentile set up a table at Cheshire High School’s Home, Health & Garden Show.
“The whole process takes a lot of trial and error. I’ve been to places that have the right age group for me, like colleges,” Gentile explained. “I feel like my clientele ranges from middle school to late twenties and early thirties.”
His mother helps him as a business manager.
“As I am still under 18, I need people like my parents to do certain things for me. She (my mother) finds places to sell things and gets contacts,” said Gentile, who added that her mother and friends help her at some events.
Gentile also sells jewelry made by fellow CHS student Hannah Young.
“She gave me jewelry as birthday presents in the past. I thought it was unique, so I approached her about this business,” Gentile said. “I tell her what I would like and I then buy it from him.”
Since opening Viridian Boutique and its website, Gentile has used the majority of the proceeds to cover expenses.
“Next year I hope to start making more profit,” she said. “In the future, I would also like to design my own clothes.”