The year 2020 has been a hard year for everyone, especially small business owners, and while many businesses struggled or even failed, others were built. It’s not an easy task starting a business or opening a shop, nonetheless during a pandemic, but Erica Alvarez Castro was determined to make it happen. Erica had worked as an architect and interior designer at other companies for several years, but her job lacked a certain healing aspect that Erica was striving to find. Read on to find out how Erica quit her day job during quarantine to open The Co., a home and wellness boutique in Hoboken located at 632 Washington Street.
Bringing The Co. to Life
Erica Alvarez Castro is an interior designer and architect by trade and has been working in the field since 2009. She absolutely loved her work, but still felt like there was something missing. “For me what was missing from my 9 to 5 was that holistic and healing aspect,” Erica explains. “I felt like I always connected with my clients when it was more about having a relationship and working on how to heal your home as a whole rather than just suggesting pieces because they matched other pieces.” This holistic aspect of creating a home is what Erica wanted to bring to her next venture, but she didn’t know exactly how at the time.
Her idea started as more of a hobby and Erica thought of doing it as just a podcast or blog in the beginning. “It wasn’t until I realized how unhappy I was working at my 9 to 5 that I knew I really needed to figure out how to monetize this thing that I was really excited about,” Erica explains. Quarantine hit in March of 2020, and at that moment she knew this was her time.
Erica made use of her time during quarantine and began working on the concept of The Co. as the rest of the world shut down. She found a space in Hoboken on 6th and Washington Street to open her shop and officially launched on September 12th of 2020.
Inside The Shop
The name The Co. came from the idea that it’s, “the only company you need, but also the company you keep, the conversations you have, and the community involved,” Erica explains. The Co. is located between 5th and 6th on Washington Street in Hoboken, and Erica designed the store to mimic a home. She treated the space as if each section were a part of a home. She carefully thought about what were the things she uses in her own space and honed in on what objects really make a home.
The Products + Services
The product assortment consists of home decor, accessories, and jewelry, and most of the products sold in The Co. are made by local designers or sustainably sourced brands. When choosing her assortment, Erica focuses on what makes her home happy and tries to find local artists and vendors that fit that need. A lot of pieces are also upcycled from vintage shops such as some of the artwork displayed on the walls. In addition to her products, Erica will occasionally invite local designers and artists to host pop-ups in front of her shop.
Some locally made products sold at The Co. include mugs and coasters from Hometown Hello, pillows and home decor from Love The Clutter, jewelry from Reigning Grey, Roig Collection hand-cut prints, and so much more. The Co. also carries spiritual goods such as tarot cards, sage, and palo santo because Erica does energy readings in the back of the store for customers and clients who are interested. These readings can be focused on the home, or for personal needs as well. Interested clients can book a 55-minute sun or moon energy reading online for $85.
The Co. is located at 632 Washington Street in Hoboken. Customers can follow Erica and her shop on Instagram @theco.online for the latest updated and pop-up info. Customers can also find The Co. online at www.theco.online where some products are sold and services can be booked.