Meet Holly Lucyk of Hollydae Inc., Creating Designs in Hoboken Since 1982

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Many of us have dreams growing up — wild ones that we fixate our minds on. But, as life would have it, sometimes we end up taking a different path. Holly Lucyk is one of those people. Holly had big dreams as a kid, and design was the last thing she ever thought she would fall in love with and pursue as a career. However, her knack for sewing and creativity was fostered at a young age. From creating doll clothes to secretly entering sewing contests, and lying about her age to work in alteration shops as a teenager, Holly has seen and done it all and now owns Hollydae Inc., her design and alteration shop located at 1200 Washington Street. From wedding dresses and men’s suits to children’s apparel and costumes, she can do it all out of her shop. Read on to learn all about Holly’s journey to becoming your neighborhood seamstress.

hollydae inc. hoboken storefront

Growing Up

With strict parents that firmly believed in education and pursuing a steady career, Holly never imagined a career in the arts. “I had intentions of going to college to become a lawyer or marine biologist. It never occurred to me as a girl that designing would be my profession. My parents were strict and had no creative ability whatsoever. My mother couldn’t even match a shoe to an outfit. Yet, my siblings and I were all artistic. It was a bit of a culture shock for them. When they realized that designing was my passion, there was push back, but in the end, they accepted my decision, even if they didn’t fully understand why I would choose this path,” she explains.

First Experiences with Sewing 

Though it wasn’t at the forefront of her mind, sewing was always a part of Holly’s life. “My grandmother taught me how to hand-sew when I was five. Later that year, I was already doing basic techniques on the sewing machine,” she says. “Around 10 years old, I used to make doll clothes {$3 an outfit} and stuffed animals {$10} and sell them at school.” 

At 12 years old, Holly entered into a sewing contest called “Oh Say Could You Sew” at the centennial event hosted by her town, unbeknownst to her parents. “You had to be 16 to enter the contest, so I lied about my age. I ended up winning the $500 cash prize and my parents were livid that I had lied behind their backs, and entered into the very public contest. I thought I was rich and wanted everything in sight. My mother was in shock and a little annoyed that I had a ton of cash to spend on myself,” said Holly.

Holly may have already mastered the art of sewing early on, but alterations are a completely separate thing. When she was 14, a local boutique was looking for an in-house tailor, and without knowing anything about alterations, Holly went in and convinced them she was a pro. “Somehow, they believed me, and I had to secretly take apart the dresses to study how they were stitched together in order to take them in properly. They knew something was up because eventually, they noticed I was doing a lot of taking apart pieces and not enough ‘taking in’,” she says.

Read more: Where to Get Clothing Tailored in Hoboken {+ 7 Things to Know}

Following her experience there, Holly’s passion for sewing and design was finally realized. “After my father found out about me working in the boutique, he said, ‘OK, if you’re going to do this, you’re going to do it right’, and signed me up for professional sewing classes.”

With a few college courses already on her resume from high school, Holly began her college career at Virginia Tech but decided to transfer to a design school in Arlington, Texas shortly after. She received an associate’s degree in Fashion Design, but the journey to graduation + her professional career wasn’t as smooth as she thought it would be. 

“A lot of the girls who went there were only there because they had to be, there was no real interest, and because of that, I got along better with my professors. I found the lessons interesting but nothing overly challenging. It wasn’t until they would hand us fabric and tell us to create 12 or so original designs, no direction or theme for a grade. For some reason, that always used to stump me. I would get the worst ‘ writer’s block’, {designer edition}, and couldn’t think of what to do or where to start. Now, I could look at a pattern and immediately think of 100 things to make out of it,” she tells us.

The Move to Hoboken

Upon graduating, Holly made the decision to move to Hoboken by herself. After all, it was the perfect commute into the city where she could put her dream of becoming a designer to test. “I’m Italian, but growing up, we didn’t know much about the culture. It wasn’t until I moved to Hoboken and rented a basement room from a true Italian family that I experienced a traditional Italian way of life,” she shared with laughter. Eventually, Holly moved into her own apartment in town, and to afford the rent, she picked up several jobs. 

There was no time wasted. Holly got straight to work in launching her design career. Her first break was a paid internship in the city, working for the handbag designer, Carlos Falchi. “That was the only internship I did. From there, I worked as a personal shopper and sales associate in Macy’s, Herald Square for a few years. They asked me to dress up as an elf for the Macy’s parade two years in a row because I was small. It was not as fun as you might think, in fact, we had to be there by 4:00AM in the freezing cold and I got sick both years,” she says.

Not long after, Holly worked for Lord & Taylor as a seamstress, hand sewing doll clothes for the upcoming holiday window display. “It turned out to be a year-round job, and the shifts were from 4:00PM-1:00AM. The most challenging part was doing alterations on the dresses while the dolls were half put together because the IT department was simultaneously working on the dolls’ mechanics,” Holly explains.

holly of hollydae inc.

The Journey to Hollydae Inc.

In 1982, Hollydae Inc. was established and Holly was operating out of the basement room and the storefront that she currently still rents. “With $500 in the bank, I put an ad in the Jersey Journal as a designer and got my first customer from Bayonne,” she says.  

Running a business wasn’t enough for Holly, she wanted it all and she set out to make a name for herself. “At the same time I opened my shop in town, I opened a showroom in the garment district, and I was selling my designs to well-known high-end department stores like Macy’s, Saks, and Lord & Taylor,” she says. “I had no idea what I was doing, not a clue. I just jumped right into everything. How I had the time, confidence, and energy to do all of it, I have no idea but when I want something I go after it. I was fearless.”

See more: The Life of Kelli Glancey: A Hoboken Resident + Artist

The current services Holly offers in her shop are her own line of clothing labeled Urban Princess, costume designs, uniform designs, bridal gowns, maternity clothes, children’s clothing, men’s clothing, custom-made dog clothes, and general alterations. 

“Bridal alterations are the most popular requests, but I work with all kinds of people from all over the country on all kinds of projects. Personally, I love whimsical, eclectic, unique looking patterns and designs, and at the same time I have an appreciation for simple silhouettes, so I can adjust to any customer,” she says. 

hollydae inc. face masks

Adapting During COVID-19

Like most local businesses, Holly has altered {pun intended} a few things about her business to accommodate the times — she is making and selling face masks of unique designs for children, women, and men. There are countless patterns she’s using to create bright, fun, and fashionable face masks. Customers can call and ask to see what patterns she has or request a plain black or white pattern. All face masks are $40 or $30 if you buy more than one.

“I played around with the design because when I was trying them on I found that many of them were uncomfortable, so I wanted a mask that my kids and I could all tolerate wearing. Cotton seemed the most reasonable, especially with the summer months. They’re reusable, have a pocket on the inside if anyone wants to add a sheet of paper towel inside for added protection, they are outlined with elastic not wire, and they have extra fabric around the mouth and nose so you have room and it isn’t pressed up against your face,” Holly explains. 

Her work has even been noticed on a national scale. “United Airlines hired me to create business-friendly masks for the employees at the airport using their recycled uniform. They came out wonderful,” she says. Additionally, she is working on bridal face masks, as most of her clientele are brides.

Holly has also gone out of her way to donate hundreds of masks to senior citizens in town, homeless shelters, hospitals, and friends of hers that have underlying health issues. 

One might ask how Holly was able to keep her shop open for so long, even during a pandemic, and her answer to that question is simple. “I am constantly working. Even when I’m not in the shop, I’m thinking about what needs to be done, shopping for fabric, imagining designs, being inspired by people on the street, speaking to customers. I was even hand sewing things when I was in the hospital giving birth for all three of my children’s pregnancies. I used the downtime to get some work in,” she shared. “I give my business my all. It boils down to dedication and passion for the job. I will always do what it takes to get the job done. I love this career too much not to.”

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Written by:

Victoria is a fourth-generation Hoboken native, BNR in the Mile Square and part-time in Jersey City. Through playing softball for fourteen years, playing the trumpet for the Hoboken High School Redwings Band, and graduating from New Jersey City University, these two cities have a special place in her heart. When she isn’t Style Assisting or volunteering at Symposia Bookstore, Hoboken Fire Museum/Hoboken Historical Museum, she’s exploring everything the Concrete Jungle has to offer. You can catch her at art exhibitions, local festivities, traveling, diving into a new book, thrifting or indulging in some form of arts and crafts.


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