Unique Boutique brings style to Milford business community

MILFORD — Patricia Ospina’s dream of opening La Unique Boutique was realized but then nearly dashed thanks to the pandemic.

She opened the storefront in early 2020, but the COVID shutdowns forced her close her operation on New Haven Avenue. But with that loss came opportunity, as Ospina, already running her own cleaning business for more than three decades, simply turned what was an in-person store into an online operation.

“What I say is that I have three businesses now,” said Ospina. “I have my house cleaning business, the storefront and now the online business.”

Ospina recently had a grand opening for La Unique Boutique since she couldn't have one earlier because of the pandemic. She also joined the Downtown Milford Business Association and participated in the Mother’s Day Fashion Show, which she said was a great event and successful event for her business.

“It was so cool and so nice because it was elegant, and people being united,” she said. “After the event, I had people coming into my store.”

At La Unique Boutique (362 New Haven Ave.), Ospina has both second-hand brand new merchandise.

“The idea of the boutique started when I got to this country (from Columbia in 1986), I saw how everything was in a rush, and people only wore nice clothes when they were going to church or special events,” she said. “Also, being in people’s houses with the cleaning business, I saw how many clothes people had, and I became one of them.”

Through the Boutique, Ospina wants to show that it is not about how much money is spent as long as the customer has a little bit of style.

“It’s about what you like, who you are and embrace that,” she said.

Other than clothing, Ospina also has three Colombian artists she works with that sell their art at her storefront location as well as a local artist that does art with shells.

Despite the storefront being closed during the pandemic, Ospina and her staff of two Foran High School seniors stayed busy.

“It was a lot of work,” said Ospina. “First we had to organize things, then organize the store itself, then came the online portion of the store.”

Getting the online boutique up and running was also a challenge. Ospina had no experience in websites, and finding the right operating system was a hassle, she said. She ended up hiring someone to help with online marketing and building out the boutique’s website.

All of this was possible, she said, because of her cleaning business, which allowed her to support herself while the boutique remained closed.

Ospina said she was able to continue to support herself and La Unique Boutique when she had to close the storefront due to the pandemic.

“That’s why we are open here because of the cleaning business,” she said. “It hasn’t been easy here, but with patience, I think we can make it.”