by Daniel Johnson
November 4, 2023
NiLu contains an extensive collection of merchandise from Black woman owned brands which include Sheila Bridges, Adjourn Teahouse, Harlem Candle Company, Lomar Farms, Healthmade, and Frederick Benjamin among other brands.
In 2015, Katrina Parris established NiLu in Harlem, a boutique with a mission to create an inclusive environment for creators to collaborate and provide shoppers with access to distinctive and culturally rich products. As Parris states in a press release, “Harlem was a gift desert. Raising a young family, and finding a place for gifts for birthdays or housewarmings outside the drug stores was hard. We needed a place that was local and had quality merchandise but represented the culture.”
In the eight years since the doors of the boutique opened out of the roots Parris laid through her flower shop, Parris had built a community and a following. Parris was able to parlay the features her boutique flower shop gained in Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine as well as New York Wedding to change the focus of her business from flowers to a flagship community store. Along with the redirected focus, Parris and her husband changed the name of her business to reflect a combination of their children’s names. From Nigel and Luke, the pair came up with NiLu as a way to honor their children. Parris says that she and her husband enjoy representing their community, “We love representing Harlem through international gifts, many from local makers in the community and beyond.”
NiLu has morphed into a brick-and-mortar location located in the middle of Harlem, selling everything from accessories and gifts to home goods. NiLu contains an extensive collection of merchandise from Black woman-owned brands, which include Sheila Bridges, Adjourn Teahouse, Harlem Candle Company, Lomar Farms, Healthmade, and Frederick Benjamin, among other brands.
The store will be hosting a number of events during the holiday season, a self-care session featuring Harlem Chi, which is composed of alternative healing and acupuncture, on Nov. 10. On Nov 16, Harlem Candle Company will be hosting a new fragrance trunk show at the store.
The store will be observing National Monopoly Day through an event hosted by the creator of Harlemopoly, a board game celebrating Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance, on Nov. 19. On Nov. 21, the store will be hosting a shop-n-sip event in addition to promoting Folkus Wrapping Paper, a Black-owned business specializing in gift wrapping needs. Finally, on Dec. 5, the store welcomes the community to experience a Kwanzaa shopping and educational event.
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