A cute, swingy red and blue patterned skirt paired with a blue halter top tank. A tea length dress in a modern batik print. Those are just two of the options at the newly opened Curvy Conch boutique next to Publix in Marathon on 53rd Street.
Open one month, owner Melissa Reed said the store is doing better than her wildest expectations.
The shop carries a selection of casual wear — dresses, coverups, shorts, T-shirts, skirts as well as accessories like bags and jewelry and sunglasses. (She’s currently unpacking a line of cosmetology products called The Naked Bee.)
“I’ve had people from Utah and Seattle, mostly vacation rental visitors, I think,” she said, standing in the middle of her bright and airy shop, two doors down from Big Mouth Eatery.
The store features a “fair trade” inventory. Simply put, fair trade is when producers in developing countries are paid a fair price for their work that helps communities prosper. Reed said she’d been dreaming of opening a dress shop for years when she came across a website featuring fair trade goods. Instantly, everything clicked into place.
“The project felt a whole lot more purposed when I chose the fair trade route,” she said. “It warmed my heart that I could sell quality pieces, made fairly, at a good price.”
Reed said she has another driving desire: to offer work-appropriate clothes for women of all sizes.
“In the Keys, we have a broad spectrum of what we can wear to work that just wouldn’t work in the Midwest,” said the Indiana native, pointing at her stylish sandals. “There’s a big void in the market for more conservative clothes that are still fashionable and suited to this climate. And, when I hit the dreaded 50s, I realized there were sparse and sporadic choices for women who wear sizes 14 and up.”
The clothes are selling like snow cones on a hot day. Already, she’s blown through half of the (good quality) T-shirts and has more on order. Reed said she will be adding swimsuits to the inventory soon, and long sleeves and pants when cooler temperatures blow back into the Keys.
The shop is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out the Facebook page: @curvyconchclothingco. Free gift wrapping is available.