Down a quiet street off of busy Thames Street in Newport is Toci – a small boutique named after a nurturing Aztec goddess.
Christine Higbee opened Toci in August 2012 to escape corporate life and focus on doing something she loves. When Christine and her husband moved to Newport, she realized the city didn’t have a cashmere shop. “I have always been a cashmere person,” she says. “I saw there was a nice little missing niche for me to fill, and that’s how it all started.”
Christine sells quality cashmere by 20 different designers from around the world. The pieces, she says, are not necessarily trendy but they can work on trend. “If you’re going to make an investment [in cashmere] it has to be quality that’s going to last and something you can wear with different things,” she explains.
For a small store there is quite a selection. Basically everything in the store is soft, so if you’re a tactile person like me you’ll be in heaven. There are expertly crafted hand-knit sweaters by Hania out of New York City, and I discovered another interesting brand: Amour Vert, that plants a tree for every tee that’s sold.
While about 70% of the store is cashmere, Toci also has everyday basics in pima cotton, French linen and bamboo.
Christine admits owning her own business is a lot of work, but is also a lot of fun. “I can’t imagine doing anything else right now,” she says. “It’s my own little oasis. I’m truly blessed to have this little spot.”
18 Franklin Street, Newport