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Pretty in Pink

Alexandra Daras’ Pretty Pink Rooster Boutique Brings Affordable Fashion to Central New Jersey

When you enter the Pretty Pink Rooster Boutique in Bernardsville, you experience a true labor of love. Growing up, owner Alexandra Daras shared a passion for sales with her father, Chris, who had an investment firm. One day when she was in high school, he came home and announced that he bought a pet store from a client with the idea that she and her three younger sisters could work there and understand what it takes to operate a business. “I learned how to run an entire store when I was 16,” Daras says. “I loved it and discovered that I have a passion for helping people.”  

Bonded through their love of retail, Daras and her father began planning another venture: a boutique for women who desired fashionable looks at affordable prices. Even when Daras attended college to become a teacher, they continued discussing the possibilities. 

However, when her father died suddenly in 2010 when Daras was 25, she abandoned the dream. “It was too painful,” she says. “For four years, I could not talk about it, but the idea just kept coming back to me. I thought, what if I didn’t try this? I would never know what would happen to this dream we had together.” 

She launched the boutique online first, in 2014. Experiencing success, she opened a brick-and-mortar store in 2016. Her decision to open a retail shop in Bernardsville is significant: Her family has lived in town for a century, and she is a fourth-generation business owner.

Daras decided to take a brave leap. She resigned from her job as a kindergarten teacher at Saint James School in Basking Ridge and cashed in her retirement account for seed money. The Pretty Pink Rooster name honors the dream she shared with her father. “My dad loved roosters; I love pink,” she says.

The boutique offers gifts, accessories and clothing from designers such as Vineyard Vines, Bedhead Pajamas, P.J. Salvage and Liverpool Jeans. Recently, Daras launched a line of Pretty Pink Rooster original designs. The jewelry and accessories are under $50 and clothing is under $200. The looks are versatile, allowing women to swing from casual to dressy, depending on how the pieces are paired.

Daras sources fashions made in the United States and seeks companies and designers—especially women-run businesses—that are aligned with her mantra. This fall, she says, look for jewel tones in clothing and accessories. “There are beautiful amethysts and yummy warm colors that look great on everyone,” she says. “Also browns—especially mocha and suede—are a staple for the season.” 

The boutique is truly a family affair: Her mother, Mary Beth, and sisters, Monica and Olivia, work in the store, while her sister Krista, who lives in Florida, helps with buying part-time. “I’m honored to work with my mom and sisters. We make a great team,” Daras says. “Everyone’s style is so different, which helps us identify with a wide variety of clients.”

When the pandemic shut down storefronts, Daras pivoted to online retail. She continued broadcasting “Pretty Pink Rooster TV,” a show that she airs every morning, which helped her stay connected with clients. Returning to her kindergarten teacher roots, she incorporated a virtual story time for clients’ children, reading favorite books to give weary moms a break from the sudden 24/7 child care demands. Monica—“She’s the funny one,” Daras says—donned fashions and did fun performances, including one where she lip synched “The Golden Girls” theme while wearing a shirt featuring the characters in a clip that was picked up by CBS News. 

Giving back is important to Daras. The boutique serves as a designated drop-off location during the holiday season for the Marine’s Toys for Tots Foundation and Daras donates a portion of her “Recovery Bracelet” sales to Caron Renaissance’s Lifesaver Scholarship in Boca Raton, Florida, which allows people suffering from addiction to get the help they need. This sense of community and family keeps Daras motivated. “I go to work every day and honor the dream that my dad and I had,” she says.

  • Alexandra Daras, Owner, Pretty Pink Rooster

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