The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Ilene Epstein

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Ilene Epstein until we are able to commission a full entry.

Ilene Epstein (right), with her business partners Sandy Gradman (left) and Marcie Brawer.

In 1979, Ilene Epstein brought a new style to the streets of Boston when she and her identical twin sister opened The Studio, a women’s clothing store that offered stylish clothing in a welcoming atmosphere. At the time, Epstein had young children—Anya, Paul, and Theo (who has gained his own prominence as the general manager first of the Boston Red Sox and then of the Chicago Cubs)—as did her two business partners: her twin Sandy Gradman and her best friend Marcie Brawer. The trio took chances as entrepreneurs, opening the clothing boutique on the second floor of a nondescript office building. Because no bank would extend them a line of credit, the three women pooled their resources, contributing $500 each to begin their business. By emphasizing both comfort and couture, they helped women to find fashionable wardrobes that made them feel confident, and offered a shopping process with a sense of fun and personalized attention. Since its founding, Epstein and her partners have turned their store into a Boston-area institution. Building on connections forged with clients and the local community, the women have used the store to host fundraising events. After Gradman survived ovarian cancer, they led a campaign in 2007 to raise awareness of the disease. The Studio continues to operate near Coolidge Corner in Brookline, Massachusetts.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ilene Epstein." (Viewed on September 22, 2023) <>.


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