Charlie-n-Diamond at 147 Atlantic.
Photo by Joshua Kristal
Like many businesses in Brooklyn, the hair salon Boy Luv Girl, in its new location, is a bit hard to find, if you don’t know what you are looking for. Heading toward the water on Atlantic, this chic salon reveals its name on a two-foot-tall folding chalk board on the sidewalk, in what seems to be 12-point font, along with lots of other information regarding the business and its boutique, Charlie-n-Diamond.
The chalk-written suggestion of a boutique catches my interest. I enter and say I’d like to visit the shop. I am led through the salon (lovely, small, with big mirrors and soft light from chandeliers) down steep stairs, and voila: Before me sits a small collection of jewelry, purses, toys, books, leather accessories and clothing for women and children. The co-owner of the boutique and salon, Anna Man, shows me around.
“Most of our vendors are Brooklyn moms,” says Anna, herself a mom of twin 9-year-olds. Anna tells me she and her business partner, Elizabeth Lind, met on the LICH playground. “I guess because we’re moms, we appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of other moms, and the need for their creative outlet.”
Items in the shop include clothes from Out of Line; winter beanies and kids t-shirts by designer and dad Michael Green’s Brooklyn Surfer (wool watch cap in black and grey, $35); and kids books published by Brooklyn’s Enchanted Lion publishing house, owned by Claudia Bedrick (Emma’s Journey, $17.95 is one of Anna’s favorites).
Other brands displayed: Kat West’s girlswear, Babylady Inc., featuring a gold-foil “blushing eyes” long sleeve t-shirt ($36 for toddlers, $52 for women), Goodship canvas roll-up totes ($39) and accessories by Julie Maclean, handmade Lucky Star jewelry by Judy Slatkin, including a child’s sterling silver number necklace on silk cord in many colors ($38), and Vera Vandenbosch’s vintage teacup candles ($28), jewelry and crafts.
Anna shows me her vintage rack. “We love vintage,” Anna says as she shows me a white dress with an elastic draw in the middle and a black graphic flower on the front. The dress has a nice cut, and I imagine myself sporting red flats and a jean jacket with this little number. I can tell Anna is lamenting over having to sell it. As she talks to me, she touches many of the pieces on display, and comments on a few she’s planning on buying for herself. Her passion reminds me of the shop owner, Bob, from whom I purchased my typewriter at Mesa Typewriter Exchange in Arizona. Bob is famous for his love of, and depth of knowledge in, the history and mechanics of typewriters. It’s nice to see this spark in Anna.
Not all the designers at Charlie-n-Diamond are moms. Anna shows me a small, beaded red flower that resembles a lilly and stands about six inches high, seeming to sprout from a table. The flowers, with intricate details, are made by her 62-year-old neighbor.
“They are so realistic and beautiful,” she says of the flowers, which go for about $45.
Anna talks about the genesis of the boutique. She says that when she met her business partner, Elizabeth, Anna’s twins were the same age as Elizabeth’s eldest.
“We were so busy, we couldn’t really leave the house, so we’d make jewelry out of recycled materials while our kids played,” Anna said. “It was our way to catch up.”
The duo starting selling the jewelry at Boy Luv Girl, which at that time was located at 105 Atlantic Ave, a block from its current location. When Boy Luv Girl’s lease was up, about a year ago, Anna moved the salon to a location with a downstairs. Charlie-n-diamond opened in September, after a brief stay in a storefront on Atlantic.
Things are happening on Atlantic, and several stores have moved in, Anna says. “Business is good, we’re busy. But, this year, I have noticed it’s a bit quieter,” she says.
It may be that Charlie-n-Diamond remains a finder’s secret. Anna has policy against advertising, for the salon as well.
Boy Luv Girl clientele come via word of mouth. Anna says she never visits a business due to advertisement or because of a sale. She picks businesses to frequent only if they have something that “catches the eye.”
So, if you are in the mood to explore and you happen past the little chalkboard outside of 147 Atlantic Street, perhaps it will catch your eye. Tell them you are interested, and into a basement of delight you will go.
147 Atlantic St.
Wed. to Fri.: 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Sat.: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sun.: 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.