Fashion in the Neighborhood

Gabriela Leal

Owner and Founder of Fit & Fashion Boutique

Pembroke Pines, Florida

Of all the businesses you could have gone into, why did you decide on fashion? Why fitness and leisure wear?

I began with sportswear [because I was] always being motivated to wear a new outfit to workout. Eventually, I became more and more engulfed in the fashion industry and offering new and different styles.

Who from the fashion industry do you admire (meaning a designer)? What about their success story do you relate to? 

To have just one designer I admire, no. But what inspires me is the group of people [with] low profiles, small businesses, and the fashion industry filled with raw talent.

What out-of-the-ordinary object do you carry in your bag? (It can be from a good luck charm to a sewing kit…)

Oops…you don’t want to check my bag. I always keep a metric tape measure in my bag and it’s something that I use all the time.

How do Hispanic women and American women differ in style?

In reality, every woman has a different look. Hispanic women tend to have a flamboyant style and dress themselves with accessories and lively colors. American women tend to have [simple] and traditional styles that stress beauty and confidence. 

Share at least three tricks of the trade that all women should know when it comes to fashion. Example, wearing beige heels can make a gal look taller…

High waisted bottoms accentuate your hips and curves. In addition, wrap-styles create a look of a slimmer waist. Even striped vertical patterns make you look taller and slimmer. 

Being a storeowner, are you concerned that shopping is now done, for the most part, primarily online? How do you manage that situation?

Our main customers are women between 35 [and] 55 years old that still look for that personalized attention and quality that an online store can’t give you. However, our online store has given people access to our products when we’re not available to them.

Who would be the ideal performer, actress or celebrity that you would love to dress? 

Jennifer Aniston has an abundance of confidence, beauty, and versatility that I would love to dress.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got about going into business? 

My husband always told me to think big and have a vision of an entrepreneur.

Maia Shoshana Zoldan

Founder and President of Wavy Baby Bikinis

Weston, FLORIDA

Why did you decide to get into the business of designing bikinis?

I have always been interested in the world of fashion, especially growing up with a lot of sisters. Finding a bikini has always been a struggle for me, so designing my own high-end swimwear is so rewarding.

What makes your designs different from any other out in the market now?

The quality of my bikinis is priority when designing. The fabrics that I choose are incredibly soft and lasting. When designing my bikinis I take the latest trends off the runway and incorporate them into my design process. 

Staying motivated is essential when in business…what’s your battle cry to keep yourself focused?

My motivation comes from many places but most of all I want young women to feel confident and sexy when wearing my bikinis.  

Where can we find your designs?

Check out my Facebook and Instagram @wavybabybikinis. Also stay tuned for the launch of my website wavybabybikinis.com.

How has living in Weston inspired you or helped you as a businessperson? 

I grew up watching my family business thrive in Weston as well as the [business’s] interaction with the community. Living in such an amazing city like Weston has given me an enormous amount of opportunities to learn and grow as a businesswoman.

Who would be the ideal performer, actress or celebrity that you would love to design for? 

I recently was invited to a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit event and got to spend time with…all of the models. One in particular is cover model and legend Tyra Banks. Designing for her, or any SI swimsuit [model] would be a dream.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten thus far about being in the business of fashion? 

Confidence is sexy! As a young businesswoman in the fashion industry it’s easy to feel lost and criticized, but I learned that if I am confident in what I do (which I am) nobody can stop me. 

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