Opening a clothing boutique is not an easy job, but Elle Mawardi sure makes it look like it is. The recent college grad decided she wanted to open a women’s clothing boutique, and three weeks later doors were open. During that time period she completely redid and redecorated her space, curated and secured a collection of clothing and accessories, created social media accounts and websites for the store, organized a grand opening event – and probably did a million other behind-the-scenes things that just come with the territory of opening a business. She even developed a business plan to make her boutique unique – like offering a jet setter program for traveling girls looking to pack their suitcases, a rental program for formalwear, and a bar cart for guests to help themselves to coffee or drinks. A corner of the boutique is even designated as a photo booth – a fun spot complete with lighting, props and a full-length mirror.
You might expect a store pulled together in such a quick time period to look sloppy or unfinished, but Elle Studio is not. The racks are neatly organized and divided by style and mood – one wall is dedicated to formalwear, which can be purchased or loaned through the boutique’s rental program – super convenient for a wedding or bridal shower that you’ll only wear a dress to once. Another wall showcases sophisticated, neutral separates – black, white and gray pieces sourced from Paris, Los Angeles and New York. Another rack holds chic but comfy pieces – baggy solid-color tops made from the softest material in the world. Yet another rack pops with colorful, printed bohemian pieces. Another rack holds swimwear and Turkish beach towels.
For me, the hard thing about shopping at boutiques is that I want everything – but most of the time even buying one thing would be a splurge. One that I’d feel guilty about for days. But Elle Studio is different in that the clothing is high quality but prices are pretty affordable, ranging from $30 to $150. I was surprised to find that a black, snakeskin-print pencil skirt I was eyeing was only $40.
Brands sold in the store include Generation Love, Benjamin Jay, Cotton Citizen, Top Secret, Maya Swimwear, Rehab, For Love & Lemons, and many more.
My favorite pieces:
Rubbs is a fun, locally based men’s rubber bow tie company. I’ve seen Rubbs all over Fort Lauderdale and was excited to learn that the brand is actually owned by Mawardi’s brother. What a talented family.
One of the things that impressed me most about the store was the decor. I loved the photobooth area – complete with a life-size, cardboard Instagram frame! A giant chandelier is the centerpiece of the room, and Mawardi played off it by carrying a metallic silver theme throughout the store, decorating with silver leather chairs, white flowers, embellished mirrors and crystal coasters.
Elle Studio is located at 4142 N. 28th Terrace in Hollywood, Fla. Regular store hours are Monday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m., but the store also offers individual appointments and styling sessions. For more info, visit myellestudio.com.