EASTHAMPTON — A Western Massachusetts online clothing store is officially making headway at a new storefront on 106 Cottage St. in Easthampton.

Harper James, which first started as an online clothing store a little over two years ago, conducted a grand opening ceremony on March 3 to celebrate the momentous occasion.

“Finding this spot felt like fate,” said Kayla Diggins, the founder and CEO of Harper James clothing. “It felt like this was always supposed to be our home.”

Diggins officially established Harper James as an online entity back in March 2022, offering a curation of the latest trends in women’s clothing, as well as other accessories like jewelry and bags. Prior to opening the store, Diggins worked in various capacities in the fashion industry doing retail, wholesale and serving as a sales representative for seven years.

“I finally needed to just go for it and take the risk,” said Diggins back in 2022 when talking about Harper James. “It’s one of those things where if you don’t ever try, you can regret it for the rest of your life.”

Diggins told Reminder Publishing at the March 3 grand opening that she began looking for physical spaces for a storefront sometime in 2023.

“I was doing so many pop-ups and customers were like, ‘where are you located, where can I shop,’” Diggins said. “As a business owner, you need to be able to like adapt, so I actually spent all of last year looking for a spot.”

Eventually, Diggins landed on the 106 Cottage St., which used to be a home goods store. She officially opened the Harper James storefront on Feb. 1.

“The landlord was so sweet,” Diggins said. “She worked to make this transition seamless.”

According to Diggins, Harper James has evolved from the beginning. Aside from offering its well-known neutrals, the store has also expanded to offer different styles for all ages and sizes and have brought in more accessory options.

“We’re always looking for something new to bring in,” Diggins said, of her curation process. “We’re always trying to see what people like.”

As someone who has a history in wholesale and manufacturing, Diggins said quality is always important to her when it comes to how she curates the clothing and accessories for Harper James. Right now, she is particularly interested in offering trendy and classic pieces.

“I definitely search out brands that have the same values that align with what I’m trying to offer,” Diggins said. “Most of the pieces are just really things that I fall in love with.”

In an interview with Reminder Publishing back in 2022, Diggins said the Harper James name comes with a lot of meaning. She once met an artist she admires, who started her own business and named it after what she would potentially name her future child. Diggins found inspiration through this artist, and decided to use “Harper” as the first part of her own business, since that is the name she hopes to use for her future first child, whenever that may be. The “James” portion, meanwhile, comes from her father’s side.

“‘Harper James’ is a name I would like to use for a child one day, so it’s kind of like the business is named after them,” said Diggins. “It’s something that really struck me.”

The new storefront is open Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m. Diggins said people can also still shop online.
Readers can learn more about the business by visiting the Harper James website: harperjamesclothing.com/.

Readers can also learn more about the history of business by reading Reminder Publishing’s previous reporting in 2022: www.thereminder.com/localnews/northampton/local-entrepreneur-takes-leap-on-online-fashion-bu/.

rfeyre@thereminder.com | + posts