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Article Published on: 06TH JAN 2024 | 


Theresa DeMarco encountered significant challenges while establishing District 5 Boutique, particularly at its inception in 2009. During that period, designers weren't prevalent online, compelling Theresa to convince brands to embrace online platforms, despite initial hesitations regarding potential brand devaluation. This drove her to reach out to international brands to facilitate the process.

Funding emerged as a persistent obstacle. As a self-funded venture, external funding was crucial for growth and acquiring new brands. A pivotal challenge arose when credit card merchant accounts initiated reserves due to the nature of big-ticket values and returns in women's apparel. This practice led to processors withholding 20% of every transaction, severely restricting access to crucial funds, currently totaling over 250K across two processors.

Despite these hurdles, Theresa's determination remains unwavering. District 5 Boutique's uniqueness resonates strongly with its customers, fostering a dedicated following that acknowledges its distinctive appeal. Theresa remains steadfast in overcoming obstacles, confident that the boutique's unparalleled essence will eventually be recognized worldwide.

Theresa DeMarco's perseverance through these financial obstacles illuminates the entrepreneurial spirit that drives District 5 Boutique. The boutique's distinctive charm, coupled with Theresa's tenacity, has fostered a unique bond with customers who appreciate its exceptional offerings. Despite the challenges, this bond remains unshaken, inspiring Theresa to further innovate and offer unparalleled experiences to her clientele.

The boutique's vision remains unwavering: to carve a niche in the fashion industry and emerge as a global icon. Theresa's relentless pursuit of this goal, coupled with the loyalty of District 5 Boutique's patrons, fuels her determination. As she navigates through the hurdles, her unwavering commitment to delivering excellence and uniqueness in the world of fashion amplifies. With every challenge confronted and surpassed, Theresa and District 5 Boutique grow stronger, persistently working towards a future where their distinctiveness shines on an international stage.


District 5 Boutique, a fashion oasis born from a shared passion for style, emerged during a time when the idea of exclusively selling dresses online was met with skepticism. Theresa and her son, Alex, a computer-savvy 13-year-old, pooled their knowledge of fashion and technology to craft the inception of District 5 Boutique. The choice of "5" as part of the boutique's name resonated with the representation of fashion embedded in other iconic names like Chanel 5 or Saks 5th, signifying a sense of elegance and sophistication.

The journey from its infancy to its current stature wasn't without hurdles. The fashion landscape was different then, and convincing designers to venture into the online realm was a daunting task. Theresa and Alex embarked on a steep learning curve, familiarizing themselves with the intricacies of the fashion business and e-commerce tools. Through years of perseverance, bootstrap financing, and continual reinvestment, District 5 evolved to what it stands for today.

Central to the boutique's growth was its relationships with designers, forming the cornerstone of its special order division. They actively engaged with brands not yet established in stores or even beyond their native countries. As the boutique expanded, it functioned as a conduit, introducing these brands to the American market.

Collaborating with international labels and prestigious designers became a recurrent theme, each year adding a diverse array of offerings to their catalog. This evolution not only broadened their product range but also fostered innovative strategies to connect with a broader audience. District 5 became synonymous with being the go-to destination for stylists and celebrities seeking distinctive dresses or standout Red Carpet attire.

The boutique stands today as a testament to dedication, overcoming challenges, and unwavering commitment. Gratitude fills the hearts of the team as they reflect on the path that brought them here. With a vision firmly rooted in luxury and an unwavering pursuit of excellence, District 5 Boutique remains resolute in its quest to be the pinnacle of the global luxury dress scene.

Theresa and Alex's dedication to fashion, complemented by Alex's tech acumen and Theresa's industry knowledge, provided the foundation for this pioneering venture.

The boutique's genesis encountered a landscape vastly different from today's online retail market. Convincing high-end brands to venture into online spaces was an uphill battle. However, Theresa and Alex approached this challenge as an opportunity to break barriers. They dedicated themselves to understanding the fashion business intricacies and delved into e-commerce tools, ensuring they grasped every facet of the industry they were venturing into.

Years of unwavering commitment, financial resilience, and strategic re-investment paved the way for District 5's remarkable growth. They encountered numerous obstacles, but their firm relationships with designers became a linchpin in the boutique's evolution. These associations laid the groundwork for their special order division, offering exclusivity and customization for their discerning clientele.

With each passing year, District 5 expanded its repertoire, collaborating with international labels and esteemed designers, diversifying their catalog with a plethora of offerings. This expansion wasn't just about diversifying products; it was a strategic move to tap into wider audiences. The boutique's allure became irresistible, attracting stylists and celebrities seeking unparalleled dresses for various occasions.


Q: Please tell us about the history and founding of District 5 Boutique, including how it started and its journey over the past years?

A. District 5 was established in 2009, long before online shopping was the normal. Fashion was personally always a way to express myself, and I would purchase at various department stores that were online at the time. So I decided to put my favorite two things together, shopping and fashion! I could not open a storefront, so I went the route of e-commerce. From there I just learned everything I needed to and ever so slowly grew, learned more, and continued to where we are today.

Q: What sets District 5 Boutique apart from other online women's apparel boutiques in terms of product selection and quality?

A. There is no other boutique that offers full collections of so many international brands, especially Lebanese designeres, and offer the opportunity to special order any style, any size, and modify if desired. Many of our brands are not offered elsewhere. Lastly, we are the only boutique to offer Couture, as well as RTW. We also cater to what women want and the industry lacks- which is an array of sizing, and modest styles.

Q: How does the hand-picking process work for selecting dresses, gowns, and apparel to ensure the finest quality for your customers?

A. I personally select the brands, as well as the styles we are to carry in store for stock. If we feel any brand does not meet our quality standards, we will discontinue carrying the brand. These are luxury dresses, and luxury prices, and they should feel as good as it looks. Additionally, the quality of fabrics and such are of the utmost importance.

Q: Could you describe the role of Theresa DeMarco, the owner of District 5 Boutique, and how her fashion philosophy influences the business?

A. Theresa is the creative director, as well as overseeing all aspects of the company, with strength being marketing. With an extensive background in the arts, Theresa has always had an eye for avant garde, and a general taste for fashion in a different way than most. With this, she sought out brands and styles that appealed to her- she knew would appeal to an audience of similar. These are styles that stand out, turn heads, and are red carpet-ready.

Q: District 5 Boutique has been in operation for quite some time. Can you share some key milestones or achievements that the boutique has reached over the years?

A. Honestly, every year seems to be a milestone. From our first big sale ($2000 Carmen Marc Valvo Gown in 2010) to onboarding some of our most prestigious brands. Most recently, we reunited with Marc Bouwer, one of our very first brands, and have formed an Exclusive Collaboration with him. For the past ten years, he designed only for celebrities. Moving forward he will be offered at District 5 exclusively.

Q: What is the mission or vision of District 5 Boutique when it comes to empowering women through fashion and providing a personal shopper experience?

A. Our mission is to offer every woman the opportunity to feel and look their absolute best for their most special occasion. We are happy to offer selections based on what they want, and their body type. Additionally, we can take measurements and have it made specifically for them with any modifications they desire. We understand this could be the most important day of someone’s life, and we will always be a part of that.

Q: Can you elaborate on the payment plans offered by District 5 Boutique and how they contribute to making designer dresses/gowns more accessible to customers?

A. In the beginning, before affirming and other instalment options, we offered women to purchase their dresses, and we would invoice them monthly allowing them to purchase a dress outside their budget. Their dream dress is you will.

Q: How does District 5 Boutique source its fashion collection, and are there any unique or exclusive items that customers can find there?

A. We are continually seeking out the newest designers, and attending all the markets and tradeshows. I am on the look 365 days a year. Studying brands around the world, and we are also contacted by many looking to be a part of D5.

Q: In the rapidly evolving fashion industry, how does District 5 Boutique stay up-to-date with the latest trends and designers?

A. We have always been one step ahead since the day we started. We continually seek out the most innovated implementations to make shopping online easier and are now looking into many AI options.

Q: Can you share any success stories or testimonials from satisfied customers who have found their dream dress/gown at District 5 Boutique?

A. Through our 14 years, we can share many- but our greatest testimonies would be that we continue to retain our customers and they come back to us for every occasion…and then right on to the next generation.

Q: What role does Northern New Jersey play in the identity and operation of District 5 Boutique? Does the location influence the boutique's style or customer base in any way?

A. I don’t think North Jersey plays any role at all. We don’t have a storefront, so we have always had a worldwide clientele. Our identity comes from our customers worldwide.

Q: How has the online retail landscape changed since District 5 Boutique started in 2009, and how has the boutique adapted to these changes?

A. To be honest, I don’t feel like there has been a big change. The only one would be that now most designers have their online store, whereas, in 2009, many did not even want to be sold online!! The world only recently began doing business the way we always have - through zooms and ordering collections via line sheets through email.

Q: Are there any plans for expanding District 5 Boutique's reach or offerings in the future, such as physical stores or new product categories?

A. We are launching our first men’s collection for Spring 2024- the iconic MISSONI. Additionally, we have been slowly taking in small amounts of accessories such as handbags and belts. There is such an enormous amount of room for growth as we built the company on just selling women’s dresses. I am certain we will continue to branch out a little further with more accessories and an expanded men’s collection. We only recently began taking in-store shopping by appointment only. We do this in our warehouse.

Q: Can you elaborate on the payment plans offered by District 5 Boutique and how they contribute to making designer dresses/gowns more accessible to customers?

A. In the beginning, before affirming and other instalment options, we offered women to purchase their dresses, and we would invoice them monthly allowing them to purchase a dress outside their budget. Their dream dress is you will.

Q: Could you describe the team behind District 5 Boutique and the values that drive their dedication to providing exceptional customer service?

A. We are a small team and like family. There is no other way. My team loves the company as if their own. The team understands that we must all work together and know the importance of excellent customer service. We all have a mutual respect for one another and we all value what each does. Additionally, my son Alex has been with the company since we began and he was only 13 years old.

Q: Finally, what do you see as the unique selling points of District 5 Boutique that continue to attract new customers and retain loyal ones even after celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019?

A. District 5 Boutique stands as a beacon of luxury in the realm of dress shops, offering an unparalleled experience. We've pioneered the art of special ordering and previewing upcoming collections, featuring esteemed designers often seen gracing the red carpet, yet elusive elsewhere. Our dedication extends beyond growth; it's about constant refinement and evolution. Our commitment remains unwavering—to provide an extraordinary journey for every customer and an esteemed platform for designers to shine. We take pride in nurturing relationships, cherishing each client and designer who graces our doorstep. The essence of our ethos lies in continual improvement, ensuring that every visit to District 5 is an exploration of opulence and sophistication, where exclusive designs await discovery and our dedication to excellence remains unwavering.

District 5 Boutique is truly a one-of-a-kind luxury dress shop. We created the game of special ordering, preordering future collections, and offering designers you may only see on the red carpet, but don’t know where to find- they know they can find it at District 5. We will continue to grow and get better. We will continue to value each and every client and designer alike.



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