Frequently Asked Questions
Who owns A Lovely Universe & how did they open the boutique?:
A Lovely Universe is owned by Sarah Cunningham Mastriano, a lover of all things pretty, thoughtful & cozy. She has worked in retail since she was 15 and ran profitable online fashion businesses throughout high school and college. After graduating, she gained professional experience in wholesale marketing for a soft accessories brand, a stint as a design consultant at Jonathan Adler as well as various freelance writing positions. In 2013, an opportunity to open a store came her way and she never looked back.
Where did A Lovely Universe start?
The shop originally opened in September 2013 at 103 Bond Street in beautiful Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Many of you probably remember the teeny tiny space that marked the beginning of the store's adventure. It was so cute! The time spent there was so so special. At the end of the two year lease, it became apparent that the shop needed a lot more space in order to properly flourish. However, the best spots to truly 'make it' in retail in Brooklyn came with extremely outrageously high rental costs and long term leases.
During this time of change, a much larger space opened up down the coast in Beach Haven (a place on the Jersey Shore where Sarah's family put down roots nearly two decades ago) that felt like a magical opportunity due to it's heavy vacation activity in the spring + summer months. The Bond Street shop closed up on for good on a Sunday and by the next Friday, the new location was open for business. The 'rest is history'!
The original Brooklyn location feels like a lifetime ago but is definitely a special moment in time. We are lucky to still have many of the original Bond St. shoppers as loyal customers to this day.
Did I dream this or was there a Montclair store for a minute?
As many of our shoppers know, we did open up a full time shop in November 2015 for 10 months in Montclair, NJ. It felt like a good move to open a full time location to carry the business once LBI was closed for the winter. However, it was way too much to take on and never quite clicked although we had many sweet customers. To those shoppers who supported us there, LBI isn't too far down the parkway so just visit us there. It has way better vibes ;)
Any plans to open up another 2nd location in better suited area of New Jersey?
Never say never... but NO!
Now that that's all out of the way..
What are the store hours?
The Beach Haven store is open consistently from April til October. During the shoulder months (April thru May and September thru October) we are open weekends only 10am-5pm. From June 7th til Labor Day, we are open every day 10am-7pm.
I’m not happy with my item, what is the return policy?
Any undesired item can be returned undamaged and unworn with tags on & receipt included within 7 business days for store credit or exchange. For online orders, please just email within 48 hours of receiving your item and we will get your all sorted out. No returns are accepted after 14 days.
****** ALL SALE PURCHASES ARE FINAL *******
Can I schedule a private shopping appointment on days or hours you are not open?
Totally! Please email email@example.com and tell us what's up and we'll schedule something!
Can I order online & pick up in store?
Yes. In fact, there are quite a few options to make your online shopping experience even easier. This includes pick up in store and also a local delivery option. Please email us ahead of placing your order to coordinate.
What do you do when the store is closed for the winter?
This is an interesting question and funnily enough, one we get asked constantly in the shop. It's safe to say that a shop keeper's job is never over and there is something to work on every single day regardless of the store's hours. If you must know, there's a lot of buying, accounting, e-commerce sales & fulfillment, marketing, and tons of planning for the next season to be done. Also? A bit of rest. While everyone is enjoying the sun and surf in the summer months, seasonal business owners are all working hard basically 24/7 to get sh*t done while the season is alive and kickin'. So a nice quiet breather for a month or two is well deserved.
But an entrepreneur's mind never stops..which leads to the next question:
Does ALU have any in-store lines that are available?
Yes we do! Our first in-store line is a collection of locally manufactured women's apparel called Bond & Pacific. We have produced two different well received collections and have plans for a third. Some of these items are still available and can be found in the shop and online. After many requests, we have plans for a new collection for Spring/Summer 2019.
In addition to that, we also design a line of cozy custom t-shirts and sweatshirts focused on our (and your!) love for all things LBI and New Jersey. They're not your typical Jersey Shore souvenir shirts and they definitely go fast in the summer. We also have a new candle collection called The Sunday Home Co. that can be found at ALU as well as with other small retailers.
Will you carry my line?
If you are a designer, feel free to send linesheets and look books through email only. Please realize that our buying process is extremely selective. If we're interested, we'll either order on the spot or schedule a buying appointment.
Walk ins during store hours & sales calls are NOT accepted.
What is the story behind the name A Lovely Universe?
The shop's name came from a song titled The Lovely Universe by the band Circulatory System.
Can I purchase a gift card?
Absolutely! Stop in to purchase one in person or email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you carry plus sizes and/or petites?
Every body is different and it's important to try on since each designer sizes differently. Our average size run per style is mostly small thru large with the occasional XS or XL. It's hard to please everyone but we do our best to try to point each shopper, regardless of their size, in the right direction since the cuts and sizing of all items vary.
My size is sold out! Will you re-order best selling items?
Typically, no. Since ALU is in a small space & we make it a point to get new items in each week, our selection of each style is limited. Once they are gone, they are gone.
If you have any special concerns or issues with any of these policies, please email so we can discuss a way to make sure your shopping experience is impeccable.