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Queen Bee 

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Magazine images of fashionable celebrities line the shelves at Abeille NOLA (8438 Oak St., 324-3488; Clipped and arranged in candy-colored beaded frames, these pictures offer shoppers a dose of inspiration.

  "We always keep up with the latest trends in fashion," says owner Meg O'Reilly. "When we see a trend that we carry in the store featured on a celebrity in a fashion or gossip magazine, we like to show our customers how it can be translated into their budget."

  With retail experience and a degree in textiles, apparel and merchandising from LSU, O'Reilly carefully curates her store's inventory of affordable, contemporary women's clothing, shoes, jewelry, accessories and gifts.

  "We make it a point to support local businesses as much as possible," O'Reilly says. "We carry local clothing designers Jolie & Elizabeth and AnnaDean, local jewelry designers Susannah Elle and Deep South Gypsies, and local artists Tim Kennedy and Katy Simmons. We are a clothing store as well as a mini gallery."

  The store also offers national lines like Vera Bradley, Genetic Denim, SOLD Denim, Bobi, Yosi Samra, Aryn K., SPANX and Hanky Panky. Prices range from $15 to $250.

  "We pride ourselves on our ability to accommodate just about any budget or fashion craving," O'Reilly says.

  Owing to her fascination with the Napoleonic bee and New Orleans' French history, O'Reilly named her store after the French word l'abeille (meaning "bee"), and credits her daughter as the motivation she needed to pursue her boutique aspirations.

  "It has always been a dream of mine to own my own clothing store," she says. "I wanted my 17-month-old daughter to grow up watching her mother do something she really loves."

  Before opening in April, and even before Oak Street was repaved and renovated to be more pedestrian-friendly, O'Reilly was attracted to the solidarity among the street's merchants. She knew that by setting up shop in the heart of Uptown's Carrollton neighborhood she could offer her customers a unique, idyllic and charming location.

  "I've always been in love with Oak Street and the surrounding neighborhood," O'Reilly says. "It's a great up-and-coming neighborhood and there's an undeniably cool vibe on the street."

Abeille NOLA employees Anna Shults (left) and Stephani Adams are flanked by the boutique's contemporary fashions.


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