There’s no better word to describe Ladybug Boutique than “cozy,” thanks to its fragrant candles and soft classical music. A cozy home is indeed what Amy Becker, owner of Ladybug Boutique, hopes to create for her customers.
Located on Middletown’s College Street, Ladybug Boutique, while inconspicuous from the outside, is in fact packed with quaint items. Becker makes sure to fill every corner of her store with something unique and interesting. As a result, candles, scrapbooks, soaps, lotion, jewelry, and, of course, ladybug-shaped items beam under the florescent light like piles of treasure. They don’t necessarily exude luxury, but they guarantee a feeling of comfortable satisfaction. When asked about her favorite item, Becker couldn’t choose just one.
“I don’t really have a favorite,” Becker said. “I like almost everything in here because I handpick what’s in here, so I feel like it’s ‘Amy’s Favorite Things.’”
Focused on stocking homemade and locally produced goods, Becker mainly sells items made in Connecticut. In addition, she loves shopping and believes it should be a fun experience. She carries this philosophy to her business management, and she aims to create personal shopping experiences for members of the Middletown community.
“I always say gifts, candles, and home decor, but I think [that the store] is—I want it to be—a homely, little, mommy-run, unique gift store,” Becker said. “That’s something that you can’t find at Walmart, Target, and all of those stores. It’s where you go and find that special, unique gift or that something special for your apartment or house.”
Ladybug Boutique is a testament not only to Becker’s love of the home but also to her devotion to family. The name comes from Becker’s niece, whom she nicknamed Ladybug. Behind the table counter, where Becker sits and greets her customers, is a wall of drawings created by her daughter. Becker’s family has always been her priority, and her favorite moments in the past eight years of managing the store have been when her children visited it.
“I like that I can be the mommy that I want to be to them and also still be a hard-working business woman at the same time,” she said. “I think it’s hard to find that balance, and I think I found it. I also want to show my daughter that you can do both.”
Ladybug Boutique embodies the merging of Becker’s motherly devotion and her desire to contribute to the community. Through the store, Becker has fundraised for more than half a dozen local organizations, including Middlesex Hospital, Amazing Grace Food Pantry, and several elementary schools and churches.
Although Becker and her husband stumbled upon Middletown by accident more than a decade ago, she has since found her role in the community. From advising customers on finding free parking lots to helping Wesleyan students find the perfect gifts for their mothers and sisters, Becker is always looking for ways to help those she interacts with.
While Becker is keen to serve those in the community, she also possesses bitter criticism for big businesses, which she believe fail to represent the hard work of individuals. Her distrust in large companies has led her to become an advocate for patronizing small local businesses.
“I think [shopping local] is important instead of the big chain stores because shopping here, you are providing milk and food for my family,” she said. “Shopping at Walmart, you’re just providing more money for the rich guy who doesn’t even work there.”
Becker’s support for local commerce also means that Ladybug Boutique will continue to serve the Middletown community. Although Becker and her family now live in East Hampton, she maintains her connection with the community through Ladybug Boutique.
“As long as I have the store, I would keep it in Middletown because I found my little niche,” Becker said. “I just want to be a cute little store that people think of to come get a gift, and they feel comfortable and warm when they are here.”