SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Mod Studio, South Orange’s newest children’s apparel boutique, had its official grand opening and ribbon cutting on Saturday, March 25. Mod Studio sells children’s clothes from sizes 4 to 16, and has a specialized “design bar” where kids can pick out designs that range from Pokémon and ice cream to bedazzled emojis and rock & roll candy to imprint on any article of clothing. The grand opening featured free ice cream and balloon making for children.

Located at 15 Village Plaza, the retail store’s name is inspired by the word “modify.” Anna Rulnick, store owner and South Orange resident, said that Mod Studio is geared to give a controlled environment to “facilitate the creative inspiration of kids.”

“It’s all about them being the designer,” Rulnick said.

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Rulnick's inspiration behind creating Mod was her own children as well as 20 years of design experience. She wanted to give something that was “more tactile and hands on” for the youth that made them want to come back.

In addition to apparel, Mod Studio sells accessories, jewelry, gummy-scented pouches, sunglasses, name bracelets, keychains, backpacks, and other trinkets that are designed in bright colors and upbeat patterns. To the backdrop of the minimalist decorations and a pop playlist in surround sound, Mod Studio feels like a child’s retail paradise.

“I’ve been on a mission to bring more retail here,” said Bob Zuckerman, Executive Director of the South Orange Village Alliance, at the ribbon cutting. “Mod is exactly what this town needs. It’s perfect for SOMA families. I wish them nothing but the best.” Zuckerman added that Mod Studio is a great concept for South Orange because of its uniqueness.

Sheena Collum, South Orange Village President, shared the same sentiments as Zuckerman and Mod’s customers. Collum stated that the town had been in the process of trying to create a retail destination by shifting the popular trends of service and restaurants already in the township. Collum also said that three local jobs were created by Mod’s startup.

Collum continued to show her support for Rulnick’s store by sporting a customized pink, glittery bag made by Mod throughout her journey around the boutique, commenting: “You can be an adult and shop here!”

Other residents who attended the ribbon cutting said that they needed a place that sold kids clothes and that Mod is in just the right place at the right time. Children were also enthusiastic about the overall atmosphere of the store, pulling on the sleeves of their parents and trying on different fashions.

“[Mod Studio] is fulfilling that void with locating in South Orange,” Collum said just before Rulnick performed the ribbon cutting. “We encourage every single resident to get down here, especially for the parents who aren’t fashion forward, kind of like myself… Take advantage of everything that this business has to offer. We wish the absolute best of luck to Anna and the amazing staff that we got to meet today.”

Rulnick said that she hopes Mod Studio, which is her first store, becomes a mainstay in South Orange and aspires to expand into different communities in the future.

Ten percent of the proceeds from the grand opening were given to “Meals on Wheels,” a non-profit serving 44,000 meals to nearly 250 clients annually in 10 communities, including South Orange.