Alexandria Stylebook really has been one of the greatest professional gifts I have been given. When Angela and I made this idea a reality about seven years ago, we never knew it would become so popular. Nothing has helped my business more, and since I went to journalism school hoping to write for magazines one day, it has been a great outlet for me as a wannabe writer.
But that is not what has been so special. What it has given me and all the other members is strong relationships with the other women-owned businesses.
One of those relationships I am grateful for is with Susan Neithamer, one of the owners of Coco Blanca. The three owners of Coco joined Alexandria Stylebook about a year in, when one of the original stores (Zoe Boutique) closed. From the start, these women were collaborative, supportive, and totally “in” on this endeavor. Especially Susie. For some reason, she was always one of my biggest cheerleaders. No matter what the idea, be it good or bad, she was in my corner.
Not long after Coco Blanco closed, Susie was diagnosed with cancer. I remember thinking I needed to write her a note and tell her how much her support and friendship meant to me. I, of course, didn’t and to this day I regret it. I always wished I knew her more. She was just one of those women to which people were immediately drawn. She was a light and everyone around her was like a moth trying to get close. Her kindness, her smile, her laugh, her positive attitude, just all of it. She was all of those things and more. And damn, was she smart. I would stop in to drop something off and end up spending an hour with her picking her brain for advice on how to run my stores.
This last week, a light went out in Alexandria and Susie lost her battle with cancer. Needless to say, heaven got a really good one. A really good one. We should all aspire to be half as good as Susan Neithamer.
I wanted to share her passing with our readers because I know how much people loved reading her articles. To this day, her cooking pieces are some of the most popular in our archives. I can’t imagine what her close friends and family are feeling. I know this article does not do her justice and I know I only knew her for a short time and there was so much more to her than I will ever know. But I do know she will be deeply missed.
It’s always sort of funny when you build a connection with someone based on emails first and not in person, but that’s what happens when you edit someone’s copy over a sustained period of time. When Susie’s posts popped up on the editorial calendar, I was always delighted, especially when the content was about her cooking and entertaining. The recipes were always elegant yet approachable, and as I got to know Susie in person, I realized this summed up Susie herself. Her energy, enthusiasm, and warmth were matched only by her creativity and business savvy — each of which she shared abundantly in support of Stylebook. Most of all, though, she made me feel valued and appreciated. What else could you want? She will be sorely missed.
Heard the buzz? The Shoe Hive & The Hive are a pair of luxury boutiques in Old Town Alexandria. Featuring both big name designers like Rag & Bone and Stuart Weitzman and smaller brands like AGL and L'Agence, our unique selection and impeccable service are what set us apart.
The Shoe Hive The Hive
127 S. Fairfax Street 301 Cameron Street
Alexandria, VA 22314 Alexandria, VA 22314