Just 25, Concord store owner’s new shop uses neutral colors for style exploration


 Monitor Staff

Published: 08-20-2023 6:00 PM

Nicole Hodgkins has always dreamed of owning her own business. Little did she know it’d happen so soon. 

“This is the first place I looked at and it was perfect,” said Hodgkins, who just turned 25. 

Hodgkins opened her clothing store Achromatic at 57 N. Main Street in the Capital Plaza building on Aug. 4, but she’s no stranger to owning a clothing brand. She originally opened Achromatic in March 2020 as an online clothing store just as the pandemic emerged, but she knew from the start that having a physical location was her goal. 

Achromatic, defined as “a color without hue,” illustrates Hodgkins’ business model, which revolves around curating the store’s pieces to be neutral. She believes that approach gives people the opportunity to experiment with different styles in the same scheme so they can branch out, but not feel  daunted in trying new pieces in drastically different colors.

Hodgkins graduated from Southern New Hampshire University in December 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising. She is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Retail Merchandising online from Drexel University. Growing up, Hodgkins said she found inspiration in starting her own business from her dad who owned a financial planning business. 

Achromatic is geared toward younger customers with a wide range of pieces from casual loungewear to sparkly dresses for formal occasions, all designed in a neutral color palette. Hodgkins said she’s liked the atmosphere that her customers have so far created, many of them in their teens or in college. 

Hodgkins said that much of the inspiration for the store came from wishing she had something like Achromatic in the Concord area when she was growing up in Bow, and she wants to supply the sort of clothing she would’ve wanted to the younger generation. 

“It was something I wish I had in high school that I wanted to give to them,” said Hodgkins. 

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The size range of Hodgkins’ pieces ranges from xs-3x, but she noted that she wants to expand the range of current sizes she has in the future. Each clothing rack in Achromatic is differentiated by the style of the piece. A hue of neutral-colored crop tops is displayed on one rack, while the next rack offers pants ranging from plain trousers to light-wash jeans bedazzled in sparkles.

Much of her personal style shines through in the pieces she sells, and she said that she draws inspiration from Southern style, specifically styles that would be popular in Nashville and Southern California. Hodgkins said she additionally has drawn inspiration for the store’s aesthetic from visiting trade shows in Las Vegas where she supplies a big chunk of the clothing she sells.  

“I liked a range of it all,” Hodgkins said, reflecting on her process of designing and selecting the pieces she planned to sell in her store.