Essence Boutique Weathered the COVID-19 Storm

With a Loyal Customer Base and Affordable Fashions, the Miracle Mile Boutique is Still Standing

The beautiful shopping cornerstone of Coral Gables, Miracle Mile, has gone through decades of changes since the 1940s. Most recently the retail landscape here has endured the Covid impact, and before that a complete streetscape overhaul that finally wrapped up in 2018. The result has been the loss of a number of stores that have had to close their doors. But Essence Boutique remained hopeful, stayed open, weathered the storm and now looks toward a bright future on the famous Mile.

 Owner Sandra Moreira, who left Bogota, Colombia 30 years ago for the Sunshine State, has seen her share of ups and downs. She and her family are entrepreneurs, after all, who decided to test the world of fashion retail by opening Essence Boutique in the heart of Coral Gables. Fifteen years later, they are still here.

Essence is truly a family venture, owned by Moreira and her son. She works in the shop every day and even her husband helps out. “We love the diversity of cultures in Miami,” she says. “The Latin American, European and Caribbean cultural flair runs throughout the Gables, and it has always been the most beautiful neighborhood to us.” And, fortunately for the Colombian, it is a city with a huge number of Spanish speakers.

Essence Boutique owner Sandra Moreira.
Owner Sandra Moreira from Bogota opened Essence Boutique 15 years ago

Moreira says that Essence has survived tough times, including the present-day pandemic, largely due to a loyal and gracious customer base. Most recently, she says, they were afraid she might close her doors, and so supported her business rather than purchase from online mega stores.  Another reason the store has survived is what it has to offer in the way of one-stop shopping, which is important to shoppers these days. 

Moreira carries an array of apparel which spans from Colombian bathing suits, mini and maxi dresses, skirts, and an array of tops, to denim and trending pieces like shoulder padded tees and cute sweater and loungewear sets. She also carries shoes, bags, and affordable jewelry from Brazil. With price points ranging from $35 to $200, Essence can satisfy women of all ages. 

The holidays are here so what’s in store for the boutique this season? “Since we live in the ‘sexy’ city of Miami, we always try to bring in new merchandise that caters to our local market, which is both sexy and classy,” says Moreira. There will be metallic and plaid pieces, short slip dresses, sequined midi dresses, and lingerie-inspired pieces that will pair back to the core collections. Follow them on Instagram @essencemiami for new arrivals and specials. 

Kim Rodriguez is a personal stylist and shopper whose clients include many Coral Gables residents. 

Essence Boutique
78 Miracle Mile