By Oriane Lluch
You might not notice the new boutique next to a wine bar and as-yet unopened sake bar as you whiz up Biscayne Boulevard. With its heavy traffic, virtually none of it on foot, it's not a block where many dawdle.
Yet word of mouth is already making Downtown Divas the little boutique that could.
Feeling the boutique market in South Beach and South Miami was saturated, sisters and co-owners Danielle Fraser and Serena Minott say they've had a steady stream of shoppers since opening two months ago.
"It was the perfect location, you see all of the condos, " said Minott, who recently moved nearby.
The Jamaican-born sisters and their mother, Marcia Fraser, have peppered the shop with "casual chic" items such as shift and trapeze dresses, flirty short-sleeve button down dresses, comfortable embellished tanks and Lucky Brand jeans.
"The designers we choose fit the Miami market, " said Minott, 28, a practicing lawyer.
The store had been a dream for Fraser, 23, who earned a degree in fashion design from Florida State University. She joined her sister in Miami after a stint in public relations and merchandising at French Connection.
To accommodate the tropical weather, Downtown Divas offers many articles in light fabrics, muted fall colors and very few pants. Their focus is installing young contemporary designers whose comfortable garb costs $50 to $250.
Their clientele is 20- to 40-year-olds. Brands include Interlud, Salt Works, Veronica M., Bali-inspired Indah and celebrity favorites V-Fish and Sweetees. They wanted to create a comfortable, personalized space with furniture from thrift stores and a mural painted by family-friend and local artist, Alexis Ayala.
"Everyone comes in and says we have different things from other Miami boutiques, " Minott said. "We want people to feel like they are shopping in a friend's closet."
Downtown Divas, 1800 Biscayne Plaza, Miami, 305-808-9588.
Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday- Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Sisters Serena Minott and Danielle Fraser run Downtown Divas. Marcie Cohn Band/Miami.com staff