Fashion Boutique Owner Interview: Sara Zamikoff of Miami’s Emporium Boutique

Fashion Boutique Profile

Emporium is where Miami’s trendiest go when they need a unique outfit to where to an event. And you all know Miami…everyone has to always outdo someone else, and Emporium is the place to go if you want to outdress your peers and leave the mouth of haters agape. Sitting on the cobblestoned Ponce de Leon Street, Emporium offers lots of one-of-kind pieces for the picky dresser who can’t afford to be seen in just any little old thing. Hello!

Glamniac reached out to Sara Zamikoff, the owner and curator of the Miami hotspot, for the gratification of all you lovely glamniacs.

(Co-)Owner: Sara Zamikoff

Boutique Location: Coral Gables (Miami, FL)

Glamniac: How did you get your start in the fashion industry?

I have always loved fashion! When I was 15 I lived in Nice for a summer, and I was so inspired by the innate style that French women just radiate. I was fascinated by the way they were able to make things look so chic. Ever since that summer I’ve been passionate about fashion, and developed my own style that was different from what everybody else was doing. I knew that I wanted to be a business owner and work for myself, and when I started looking at different business models my friends and family really pushed for me to open a boutique. It kind of just clicked and made perfect sense.

Glamniac: Take us through a day in your life as a fashion entrepreneur….

There’s no typical day for me, which is part of what

I love about working in fashion. It’s always challenging – but in a good way. Most days include ordering merchandise and researching new brands (I read all the major fashion mags and scour blogs like Man Repeller and Cupcakes and Cashmere, and make sure I’m up on what local bloggers are doing like The Fashion Poet and Steffy’s Pros and Cons). I also do a lot of social media as I’ve found that to be a great way to connect with the customer and the community.

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Glamniac: One imagines that running a boutique has its challenges.

Running a boutique is as challenging as it is rewarding. Every day brings different challenges for me to tackle. I have found that being organized is key; over the years I have gotten my budgeting down to a science because it is the hardest part for me. It’s tricky to find the balance with merchandise – orders have to happen quickly to make sure you get the product in time. You don’t want to be a month late on the hot trend. You also don’t’ want to be overstocked either, so it’s always a balancing act. Then on top of that there’s social media, events, paperwork etc. It’s a LOT of work, but I feel lucky that I wake up every day and go to work at a business that is all mine.

Glamniac: The boutique is based in Coral Gables, FL. What are some of the fashion trends you’ve taken note of in that city?

What I love about Miami is that anything goes here. There aren’t a lot of fashion rules that you have to follow. There’s a fabulous colorful beachy vibe that you don’t find anywhere else – and you can pull that look off year-round. Seasonal dressing isn’t really a thing, unless you jetset – which many of my clients do. I will say that Maxi dresses are a Miami staple – they are light and airy and you can dress them up or down, day or night. Local designer Bianca Coletti makes the perfect silk dress, and also has an amazing swimwear line.

Glamniac: Do you think that having a business background, or taking business courses help in the business?

I would imagine that it would. I don’t have a business background, so I have made an effort to read every business management book I can get my hands on. If you’re not business savvy it’s important to have an advisor or trusted family member/friend that can help give you guidance, but ultimately I think the best approach is to just dive in and go for it.

Glamniac: Are there certain pieces and accessories are always in demand?

Maxi dresses and great accessories. Miami girls love to layer long/short necklaces and pile on tons of bracelets. And our customers are always looking for a great pair of jeans. From skinny to boyfriend, jeans that fit you like a glove are a wardrobe staple.

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Glamniac: Do you think that clothes have the power to transform lives like it’s often been said?

I do and I’ve seen this first hand. I was lucky enough to participate in the first business makeover at Chapman Partnership which is a charity that works to empower homeless men, women and children to build a positive future by providing the resources and assistance critical to growth and independence. We did business makeovers on the women who were graduating and going out to get jobs. We literally saw them transform before our eyes. It was so rewarding and one of the best experiences of my life.

Glamniac: What’s your ideal employee like?

I’ve been lucky to have lots of great employees over the years. My ideal employee is someone reliable, trustworthy and honest. Someone who loves fashion and brings their own unique sense of style to the table will do well at emporium. Also, great customer service skills are a must! Overall I think that resourcefulness is one of the best qualities anyone can have. You want to be constantly learning and bettering yourself.

Glamniac: What would you say to other female entrepreneurs who are contemplating following in your footsteps?

I would tell them that you can’t ever truly prepare yourself for the journey, so do all your homework and just go for it. It’s so rewarding and so worth all the hard work to do something you truly love every day.

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Glamniac: Do you have a favorite fashion era?

I like combining looks from all the different eras – I think they are all significant in their own way. That being said, my personal style really reflects a 60s/70s Bohemian-chich vibe. Think Jackie O. in her post-JFK days when she was married to Onassis.

Glamniac: What are some of your goals for the future of Emporium?

It’s an exciting time for us! In the coming year we will be moving from Coral Gables to South Miami. We have put a lot of thought and research into the move and really feel that it will be a great home for emporium. I’ve always loved the S. Miami area so I’m excited to join the community and reach a larger range of fashionistas!

[All photos courtesy of Emporium Boutique]

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