Stylist and model Ali McNally can add another feather to her cap: boutique owner. Last month, she and husband Chris Scheurich opened Neon Heart (1022 Lowerline St., 504-202-7983, @neonheartshop), where McNally curates an international mix of brands she discovered in her previous life as a beauty editor at London's FIASCO magazine. These include Malin + Goetz products, Valley Eyewear, Minnow Bathers and Bully Boy lingerie, Maria Francesca Pepe and RP/Encore jewelry and Hayley Elsaesser bags.
"I'd already used or worn all of our products before we decided to carry them," McNally says. "This shop is a real labor of love, and I only wanted to sell things I really believe in."
What led you to start a business in New Orleans?
Ali: First and foremost, it was love! I met my now-husband back in 2012 when I flew over from the UK to New Orleans to style a music video. I subsequently fell in love with both him and the city and started to feel like it might be the right time to leave London. And so I ended up here. I'd always thought I might like to have a shop one day, so when the space that used to be Homestead became available, we jumped at the opportunity.
What are your favorite beauty products available here in New Orleans?
A: Since moving to this city, I've come to embrace sunscreen even more. I go through it by the gallon. I think I've been subjected to more sun in the short time I've been here than I ever was in all my years in England! Currently I'm using Josie Maran's Argan Daily Moisturiser SPF 47 with Sunboost ATB ($32 at Sephora).
I also always have a Hemp & Honey Plus Lip Balm ($4) in my bag. It's one of our best sellers and all of its ingredients are so natural and organic you can use it anywhere you have dry skin, not just on your lips. Ragged cuticles, flaky skin around your nose after a cold, chapped hands,...,this little stick is good for them all.
And finally, I'm a massive fan of the Cell Repair Therapy and Skin Perfector pads I get from our local dermatologist, Dr. Richard Sherman (2633 Napoleon Ave).
How would both of you describe your personal style?
A: Mine is definitely evolving! Since opening the shop, I've been making more of an effort to appear polished, which is a big turnaround from my London days. I used to do that scruffy London sportswear thing to death. I would joke that I never wanted a job where I couldn't wear grey sweatpants, but everyone is entitled to change, I suppose!
Chris: My style has always been simple and classic. I'm largely influenced by a mixture of 1950s style and modern sportswear. I'm a jeans and T-shirt kind of guy. I believe if a man is well groomed, you can get away with quite casual clothes. And I do love a mix of formal and casual: a nice cashmere overcoat with jeans and sneakers for example. Men's styling comes down to the details. Small things make a big difference, like a nice ring or a pair of great sunglasses. I prefer to dress smart without be too dressy.
How do you envision the Neon Heart customer?
Ali: I sincerely hope that we can curate the space so that there is something that appeals to everyone! So far we've had a really diverse cross section of people come in and make purchases and I like to think this is because we are selling quality products. I'm a huge advocate of well-made products that are lasting investments.
Neon Heart will also carry men’s items. What direction do you hope to go with men’s stuff?
Chris: Our focus with men's items will mainly be on accessories and grooming. New Orleans already has great shopping for men's staples, so we aim to provide details to smarten a classic look. For example, we carry Valley sunglasses; they have beautifully made frames that take classic shapes and give them a modern twist.
Anything else you would like to add?
Ali: Just that we are extremely excited to be embarking on this new venture. I sincerely hope people take the time to come pay us a visit. As a relative newcomer to this city, I can honestly say one of my favorite elements of having the shop up and running thus far has been the opportunity to meet more of the locals as well as other transplants such as myself. I try to engage everyone who stops by, and so far I've been very fortunate to have met some lovely people who seem to enjoy what we're doing.