Nearly five years ago, Brevard’s only true “shoe boutique” was born with the opening of Swanky Sole in downtown Melbourne, which then moved to Suntree three years ago. Owner Dawn Badolato saw a need in the area for a shop that offered a great collection of high-quality and unique shoes, handbags, and accessories. “We pride ourselves on carrying great brands at varying price points that aren’t being sold anywhere else in the county,” she explains.

“As a busy working mother, I know there’s no time to drive around looking for the right pair of shoes. And I found it virtually impossible to shop for shoes online.”

So, Badolato spent six months researching brands and boutique settings, along with developing a collection both fashionable and comfortable. “I wanted to support that dressy casual vibe so unique to Florida girls,” she explains.

That vibe extended beachside about 18 months ago when Badolato decided to acquire an existing women’s clothing boutique in Indialantic and christen it Sandy Soul. “We did a quick remodel, giving it more of our swagger, changed up a few of its clothing lines, and off we went,” she explains.

“I love the idea of a head-to-toe ‘one stop shop,’ so we created it.”

Badolato travels a great deal for both boutiques to research trending and unique fashions in the marketplace, including in NewYork, Las Vegas and Atlanta.

Swanky Sole and Sandy Soul provide clothes and shoes for real life, says Badolato, and the lines and pieces are tailored to suit a gap in the market that she noticed – a group of women not being spoken to. “There’s the idea of being ‘on- trend’ but not really trendy,” she explains. “We carry clothing and shoes for everyday living, but can comfortably move into special events as well.

This approach has served us well in that our customers find real value in what we bring to the table. Our stylists in both stores always come with plenty of product knowledge to help our customers try things they may find outside of their comfort zone.”

Emerging trends that Badolato sees for the summer through the fall include lots of yellow, animal prints (especially snake!), and plenty of vintage patterns. Block heels, pointed toes, and the classic blazer round things out. Badolato’s favorites at Swanky Sole include originals like Fly London, as well as MZ Wallace handbags out of NewYork. At Sandy Soul, Jude Connally and Sundays NYC vie for the top spot, as both offer easy-care fabrics and a casually elegant look. And up-and-coming lines Lauren Moshi and Eva Franco are flying off the shelves.

Owner Swanky Sole & Sandy Soul | Dawn Badolato is wearing a dress from Tori Richard. This line is based in Hawaii and carried in-store.

However, the real magic of both boutiques isn’t a few specific lines, but how the stylists offer genuine feedback to help customers feel comfortable in their own skin and confident in their choices.  Badolato believes in giving back to the community and supporting local causes and fundraisers, and is extremely grateful for the women that have supported both boutiques through the years.

“It’s not even just the shopping,” she explains. “These women offer their thoughts and creative energy to help us grow into Brevard’s ‘neighborhood boutiques.’”