The little shop with the bright blue sign saying “Steps- New York” on Austin Street isn’t your typical Forest Hills clothing boutique store just looking to make a sale.
Steps is a public service and talent agency that concentrates on contemporary American fashion and works deep within the Forest Hills community.
They emphasize the importance of localism by heavily focusing on business to business networking to help promote the work of others in the community, such as other Austin Street stores like Infinity Wellness Bodywork and the former Twist and Smash’d. The unique yet effective tactic they use to make this happen is by using their models as the face for promotional advertising.
During the most recent Annual Austin Street Fair that took place on June 10th, Steps had an alternative rock band from Queens, Metorana, perform in the front of their store to simultaneously draw an audience for their clothes and the band.
Jason Villafane, visual merchandising manager, recalled the event as “infectious mania” that drew in locals, little ones and shoppers. However, the leisure doesn’t come without hard work. While Metorana was rocking out, the team still had to simultaneously keep up with their work responsibilities like ringing in customers, making sure they don’t lose business and provide impeccable and individual attention to customers.
Villafane enjoyed, “seeing their hard work pay off while bringing the community together.”
Other ventures the clothing store has participated in includes hosting televised fashion shows, a speaking segment at Fashion Institute of Technology with Professor Pam Zuckerman, and handing out balloons to kids during holidays.
Although a big part of their identity is networking, Steps is also significant for making the overall in-store shopping experience unforgettable.
As Villafane puts it, “the fitting room is where it’s the most fun, we compliment the women and make them feel really good,” further stating, “which essentially is what it is all about, it’s more than just the clothes.”
Steps is located at 71-21 Austin St. and is accessible by the E, F, M, R trains, Q23, Q60 busses, and is located near metered parking.
As the summer season will shortly be in full throttle, the Forest Hills women’s clothing store is continuing to find other people and businesses to work with and other events to host.