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Hub resident creates retail outlet for designers — The Haute House Design Studio

Kassmin Williams | 10/24/2013, 6:01 a.m.
Boston resident Taneshia Camillo-Sheffey aims to uncover the fashion world’s best-kept secrets with her online retail store, The Haute House ...
Designs by Meghan Dolliver also featured during Boston Fashion Week. Matt Wright

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Taneshia Camillo-Sheffey

Boston resident Taneshia Camillo-Sheffey aims to uncover the fashion world’s best-kept secrets with her online retail store, The Haute House Design Studio.

The Haute House Design Studio features high fashion clothing created by underground designers from across the globe.

Camillo-Sheffey came up with the idea for the business after spending about a decade in the industry as a visual merchandiser and retail manager for several well-known stores including Neiman Marcus, Thomas Pink and Arden B.

While working in the industry, Camillo-Sheffey realized how difficult it was for talented up-and-coming designers to land jobs and have their designs featured in highend stores and boutiques.

“In my journey, I’ve had a lot of friends who were fashion designers and stylists who had such a hard time finding jobs,” Camillo-Sheffey said. “My designer friends were amazing. They made amazing, quality high fashion clothing. They could never get jobs anywhere.”

Camillo-Sheffey had been about to move from her sales and personal shopper position at Neiman Marcus to a visual merchandising job, but the revelation pushed her to cancel her immediate career plans and launch thehautehouse.com.

Camillo-Sheffey launched The Haute House Design Studio in March 2012 during Providence Fashion Week and has since worked to mentor and solidify relationships with up-and-coming high fashion designers who share her standards.

“It’s really hard to find high-quality, high fashion designers,” Camillo-Sheffey said. “You have to have a certain standard of ethics when you work with me. If I contact you or if someone places an order, you have to get right back to me.”

The fashion guru approves all items before they are featured on the site and admits that working with lesser-known designers is riskier proposition than working with popular and recognized designers, as other retailers do.

“A lot of boutiques and a lot of stores won’t really reach out and won’t sign onto a designer who’s not known because they’re not sure of the collection,” Camillo-Sheffey said. “Boutiques usually go with the designers that are known. It’s just safer for them.”

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Rufus Dixon’s designs featured in the Emerging Trends Fashion show during Boston Fashion Week.

Camillo-Sheffey did a lot of footwork in the beginning to find designers and attended several fashion shows and events, contacting fashion bloggers and friends for suggestions.

Today, her site features about 15 designers, including Lasell College graduates Rufus Dixon and Meghan Dolliver.

Both students began working with The Haute House Design Studio after Camillo-Sheffey judged their senior fashion show.

Dixon’s initial thought about working with the site was that it would be a good way to sell clothing.

However, working with the online retailer provided more than an outlet to sell clothing.

The Haute House Design Studio has allowed Dixon to be featured in several fashion shows over the last year, including the Emerging Trends fashion show during Boston Fashion Show.

Dolliver, whose designs were also featured in the show, said she was afraid no one would be interested in her designs after graduating and called herself “lucky” to have met Camillo-Sheffey.

“It’s really nice to see someone who cares about the younger designers who are trying to make a living and get their names out there,” Dolliver said.

As The Haute House Design Studio continues to create a name in the fashion world, Camillo-Sheffey plans on hosting pop-up shops in the city at the end of the year where The Haute House will take over a space and transform it into a live store with a DJ where people can shop, order custom-made clothing and meet the designers.

The high fashion lover also hopes to start dressing celebrities for red carpet events and television interviews toward the end of the year.

“Our goal is to be one of the biggest high fashion online retailers,” Camillo-Sheffey said.