Tastemaker Spotlight Valerie Duardo of Mint Market – Hoboken Girl

All these awesome places that we shop, eat and visit in Hudson County didn’t just appear — they were someone’s brainchild that turned into your go-to spot. But beyond the scene they’ve created, what makes these tastemakers tick? What’s their inspiration, their outlook on the future and how did they get started? If you’ve been wondering about the face behind some of your favorite spots then grab a cup of your favorite beverage and scroll through this new series as we get some of that good tea.

Recently we spoke to Valarie Duardo, owner of one of our favorite women’s boutiques, Mint Market that has locations in both Hoboken and Jersey City. If you don’t know Val or haven’t had the pleasure of going to one of her stores, just imagine you are sitting down with a level 100 cool-girl and cool mom, who is filled with charisma, good vibes and the confidence to rock some avant-garde fashions others might not be brave enough to do.

Since high school, I’ve been an avid thrifter. My dad is an antique book dealer and he really encouraged me to sell my vintage finds online. So in college, I started a little online/pop up shop called Indie Queen Vintage. I did the flea market on Lincoln Road in Miami for years and also sold my pieces directly to designers for inspiration like Alexander Wang, Michael Kors, via C. and Madeleine’s vintage in North Miami. When I moved back to NJ after college I wanted to transition from being an online shop to a brick and mortar destination. I just wanted something stable that I could rely on financially while working on my styling portfolio. I took a gamble on a tiny, hole in the wall storefront on 1st in Hoboken and have to say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I love the community and the customers so much. It honestly brings me so much joy to share my style and taste with the go-getting women of this area. On Her Personal Style:

I would describe my day-to-day ‘personal’ style as a contemporary take on vintage. I like mixing pieces from the past with contemporary items from my store and other brands that I love. I always have something old on even it’s just my jewelry or bag. I look at clothing like art, so I love to experiment with color palettes and textures, usually pairing things together unexpectedly but at the same time they are complementary. Favorite Trend This Season?

For Fall/Winter 2018, the trend I’m really loving is the use of bold color on everyday wardrobe staples, like a pink wool long coat or trousers. The ‘Working Girl’/Menswear trend is something that has been recurring for a few seasons now and I just love it and totally relate to it. Oversized plaid blazers, over band tees and matching suit sets, I’m all in. Advice to Someone Trying to Step Up Their Style Game:

Women seeking to elevate their wardrobes should consider shopping at small, local and independent shops. Independent buyers often act as stylists to their customers and can offer a unique selection of items. Investing in key pieces, like a Chanel bag or designer shoes, is also a smart idea for the girl who wants their wardrobe to age with grace. If designer price points are an issue, most stores go on sale December/January and June/July. I also recommend finding something you really love then searching for it consignment stores/sites. Favorite Thing About Owning Mint Market?

M I A M I – this is our next stop for sure! My sister and I, who both run the shops, lived there for a good portion of our lives. I am forever connected to Miami the same way I am to Hoboken and Jersey City; it’s part of my roots so my end goal is to eventually open up shop somewhere on the beach. What are a few items you’re loving from your store right now?

All of Mint Market’s customers are crush-worthy in their own way. There is one girl in particular who I have been styling since my shop opened. Her name is Allison Strong {Editor’s note: also a former HG of the week!} and she is a local actress and singer. She used to come in to get outfits for castings and her small performances. Now this young lady has been on Broadway shows, has had a lead role on Netflix series and is basically conquering the world. I am so proud of her and I am happy to support and watch her shine like the star she naturally, already is. Favorite Style Era?

It’s hard to choose just one decade of style as a favorite as they all have elements that have changed fashion’s history and still influence fashion today. However, I do strongly connect with the 60s and the 80s. I love the pop-art patterns and the mod silhouettes Mary Quant made famous. We can thank her for lifting the hemlines of the past and introducing mini skirts and shift dresses. I’m also an 80s baby so naturally, I love high-waist pants and power shoulders. Favorite Store to Shop:

Mint Market of course! The only other place I shop beside my own shop I would have to say is Century 21 by World Trade Center, Woodbury Common Outlets (almost every brand has an outlet there) and other local vintage shops. For basics, I usually go to Uniqlo and for athletic clothes, I’m a total Adidas and Vans girl, the price point and the quality are on point.