At Bendita, the Focus is on Fine Silk Clothing from Spain and Italy
By Kim Rodriguez // Photos by Lizzie Wilcox
If you walk along Merrick Way you will undoubtedly come across a cute bistro table, potted plants, even a bicycle on the sidewalk – and possibly all three. Hopefully these props will lure you into Bendita, with its mantra ‘Clothing with a Soul.’ Owner Florencia Welch even has her store’s signature scent waft through the air outside her storefront to attract passersby.
Bendita opened in the heart of Coral Gables in March of 2017, fulfilling the dream of Welch. “I have always had a passion for fashion, style and design,” she says. “I wanted to create a boutique for women in Coral Gables with special, unique items.” Growing up in Salta, Argentina, Welch was always inspired by the “French-like” boutiques there as well as the local artisans, though she also counts international design icons Coco Chanel and Ralph Lauren among her fashion inspirations. It was in Argentina where she developed her keen sense of fashion style and love for design.
Upon moving to Miami and working in real estate, Welch decided to follow her passion and bring to the Gables what she considered a missing niche. While traveling in Europe she fell in love with silk blouses and dresses from Italy and Spain, and with that European sense of style, dress and quality that wasn’t prevalent in Miami. This led her to open her own boutique. When asked why Coral Gables, that was easy: She lives here, got married at the Biltmore hotel, and is raising her three daughters here. “I love the charm, history and village-like atmosphere of Coral Gables,” she says.
In the shop, you are always personally greeted by Welch, who is disarmingly inviting and personable. She has clients who pop in just for tea, and to get a daily dose of her signature candle scent. Even if they aren’t shopping, Welch is happy to talk and pass the time, just to get to know them a little better. It’s this neighbor approach and community sensibility that makes you want to shop here. And, of course, clients can find fine silk and linen products, beautiful beach cover ups, cotton tunics, accessories and even shoes. All with a very South-of-France beach vibe.
I have always had a passion for fashion, style and design. I wanted to create a boutique for women in Coral Gables with special unique items…
“Bendita style does not compromise comfort,” Welch likes to say, and she will help clients find the perfect fit, without any judgments or hard sell. If her women feel beautiful and happy upon leaving, she says, they will be even happier to return.
Kim Rodriguez is a Personal Stylist and Shopper whose clients include many Coral Gables residents. Krpersonalstyle.com
85 Merrick Way