Dalaga, a quaint boutique in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, may be dimly lit, but it conveys a striking sense of elegance. Michelle Mangiliman, the store owner, greeted me and shared her stories about Dalaga, a shop that combines her eye for unique designs with her strong family ties.
She originally opened the store in 2006 with her husband and sister, and had a clear goal in mind. “I wanted to create an accessible, one-stop shop with a luxurious feel,” Michelle shared. “I wanted it to feel like you’re going into an expensive store, but the clothes are very affordable.”
The store’s name holds special significance for Michelle and her sister, its meaning dating back to their childhood days. “Dalaga” is a Filipino word that translates as “young lady.” Growing up, Michelle’s father called his daughters “dalagas” — and Michelle realized it was a great compliment. With that sentiment in mind, she now equates the word with a “quintessential woman.” Michelle knew the name was a perfect fit for the store, because it was so representative of her family heritage.
Michelle added a personal touch to the layout of the store as well, creating what she calls a “bedroom and garden feel.” She purchased a vintage bedroom set made of a blond-colored wood through ebay off the streets of Bay Ridge, and strategically placed the pieces in just the right spots in her store.
An ornate headboard was painted and modified to crown a doorframe, making it the focal point of the store. The furniture, adorned with pastel-colored silk flowers laid out and in vases, adds richness to the shop’s atmosphere.
Most of Dalaga’s customers are in their 20’s and 30’s, but Michelle believes the store holds something for everyone. “[The store appeals to] a girl who is into fashion, likes change, and always wants something new,” she said.
Dalaga offers a wide variety of clothing, ranging from casual tees and jeans, to chic party attire, to office-appropriate shirtdresses. While some of the pieces stand out with vibrant colors and unique patterns, others are in more subdued shades, but are sophisticated and undeniably feminine.
The store features various independent designers seeking to get their styles recognized, including clothing designer Alexandra Grecco, and jewelry lines such as Friend and Nemesis by Kristy Lee and Chris Rann by Rannie Balias. Since no well- dressed woman leaves the house without her perfume, there is also a fragrance line called MCMC Fragrances by Anne McClain for purchase at the store.
Although the store is continually stocked with the products of up-and-coming designers, Michelle makes sure the pieces do not have outrageous designer price tags – and most of the items are affordable to the average working woman.
Michelle also encourages shoppers to join Dalaga’s mailing list, which will provide them with an additional 10 percent off store purchases. These customers will also receive the weekly newsletter, which offers promo codes for those who prefer to purchase Dalaga items online.
Dalaga also takes the time to get involved in citywide causes, including Fashion Night Out, which will be held this year on Sept. 10. That night, participating retailers will stay open late (last year, Dalaga stayed open until 11 p.m.) and some of the proceeds will go to the 9/11 Memorial fund.
Dalaga is the ideal spot for a woman who loves variety, values personal attention and fashion advice, and enjoys shopping in an intimate environment with a combination of eclectic, yet polished décor and trendsetting clothing selections.
150 Franklin St. Brooklyn N.Y. 11222
(Between Greenpoint Ave. and Kent St.)