By  on September 12, 2007

Like the adage about being a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n' roll, the Maggie Taylor boutique is a bit young-trendy and a bit mommy-chic.

When co-owner Taylor Blaisdell, who is in her 20s, and store manager Karen Muller, the mother of elementary school-aged children, hit the Fashion Coterie together, each keeps her constituency in mind.

"I keep saying, 'Sleeves, sleeves,'" Muller joked about the preference of some women for concealed upper arms. "Taylor has an eye for how to push us forward."

Located on Main Street here, Maggie Taylor carries contemporary labels such as Tibi, Milly, Susana Monaco, Shin Choi, White + Warren, Beth Bowley and Paige Premium Denim. There's also a smattering of accessories from such brands as Bettye Mueller shoes and Kooba bags.

In the quaint town center of pre-Civil War buildings, there are several other contemporary boutiques, which keep an informal truce not to carry the same lines. All cater to local, affluent families, where mothers and daughters shop together. The nearest mall is about a half-hour drive away.

At Maggie Taylor, year-over-year sales are up 25 percent and, in one of the best signs of health, sales of full-priced early fall merchandise have been brisk.

Blaisdell said she'll use Coterie to get a generalized read on spring (she's already planning to carry forward wide-leg pants, higher rises and accent items in bright colors), and will look in particular for any label that's making its first or second trip to the show.

"With spring, your budget goes a little farther, so it's an ideal time to bring in a new line or two," she said.

Blaisdell would love to see more newcomers at Coterie, but realizes it's a steep investment for a start-up. It's a dilemma she understands at a personal level: She also designs a jewelry line, Cocotay, with her identical twin sister, Courtney "Coco" Blaisdell. The line is sold in Maggie Taylor; at her Cocotay boutique in Atlantic Highlands, N.J., and has been picked up by Bergdorf Goodman for fall.

"If they could do a mini Coterie for those who've shown less than two years, or offer a junior membership, that would be fantastic," she said. "Courtney and I would love to do it, but we can't afford it yet."

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