On more than one occasion, while being rung up by one of aaRaaâ€™s lovely sales associates, Iâ€™ve been asked, â€œIs this a gift for someone?â€ And Iâ€™ve lowered my eyes and confessed, â€œNo, just for me.â€ Cause sometimes you just gotta, and many of my Hoboken â€œjust gottasâ€ have been in aaRaa.
The earrings I wore to my best friendâ€™s wedding? Those are from aaRaa. The neon yellow statement necklace that Iâ€™ve worn with a t-shirt and a dress? Also aaRaa. That box of assorted earrings and bracelets that I reach for weekly? Again, aaRaa. But Iâ€™ve also gifted plenty of aaRaa finds to my mom, my aunt, and three of my close friends, whose respective styles couldnâ€™t be more different from one another. Thatâ€™s a reflection of the aaRaa aesthetic, which includes chandelier earrings for the glamour girl, chunky cuffs for the bohemian superhero, and ornate sculptures for the person who prefers to look at something bold rather than wear it.
Owner and shop curator Neeta King first opened the store in 2001 with a focus on home furnishings. â€œI started with the intention of bringing things from India â€” quality stuff,â€ she says. The store has since changed locations (now nestled between Grand and Adams on 6th) and has evolved into a gift and jewelry store that also sells small furniture and other home decor. Walking down 6th street has become a whiplash hazard for me, as aaRaaâ€™s window displays make my neck swivel and my brain think big thoughts like, â€œMaybe I can buy five necklaces and a foot stool on a Tuesday.â€
The store also has that oh-so-perfect and oh-so-difficult-to-achieve balance between affordability and quality. Thatâ€™s probably because Neeta does most of the shopping herself â€” two major buying trips to India each year, as well as international trade shows â€” which gives the place a handpicked feel you canâ€™t fake. The inventory sends a clear message to the customer: fashion is for the moment and timeless. Maybe you wonâ€™t put on the bright green drop earrings every morning, but they should still hold up for that day down the road when theyâ€™re the only accessory that will do. â€œWhy should it be anything people lose sleep over?â€ Neeta asks. â€œIt should be fun.â€
With holiday shopping in full swing, â€œfunâ€ is a word you rarely hear. It gets muffled by COUPONS, ONE DAY SALE, DONâ€™T MISS OUT, etc. Stop by aaRaa to shift back to fun, calm and lower case letters. You can even pick up some soothing incense while youâ€™re there.They have that, too.
aaRaa, 408 6th St., Hoboken, 201-386-0101