provided to The SantivaChronicle.com
On Wednesday, March 24, the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce celebrated the Nov. 18, 2020, opening of Coco y Cabana boutique, 2340 Periwinkle Way, Suite G2 with an official ribbon-cutting. The shop and its complementary e-commerce site, cocoycabana.com, focus on couture women’s fashions, but also carry men’s clothing and home accessories.
The shop is the brainchild of fashion designer Paola Noguera, whose experience has included her own swimwear design business; a handbag and footwear design operation in Florence, Italy; designer for ALDO Canada; and manager of several stores.
“Taking all of that collective experience, I had learned so much, and I wanted to spread the love and encouragement to women to help them nurture their style,” Noguera said.
When the pandemic presented the opportunity to work remotely from Sanibel, where her sister lives, things clicked. She was impressed by her market research, which showed long-surviving businesses serving a well-traveled demographic on the island.
“I fell in love with the people and culture,” Noguera says.
The inspiration for the boutique’s name was two-fold.
“Coco Chanel was the first powerhouse woman designer,” said Noguera. “She broke out with designing and wearing pants, and broke the mold with the ‘little black dress.’ She was very inspiring to me.”
The “cabana” part reflects the island vibe, but also was inspired by the Cabana Café in the Beverly Hills Hotel with its pinks, greens, and leafy patterns.
Noguera purchases 80 percent of her clothing from women-owned vendors, she said. The designer plans to debut an exclusive Coco y Cabana line inspired by islanders. It’s part of her mission to help women find their own style.
“It’s making the connection,” said the entrepreneur, who runs the entire operation on her own. “I hope that I’ve encouraged you in some way, that you feel nurtured and loved. I just want to help women and give back to the community.”
“We welcome such an exciting and vibrant enterprise to our islands,” said John Lai, chamber president and chief executive office. “We know our partnership will be a win-win.”
“I trust my brand with the chamber,” said Noguera. “I trust it will represent me the way I want to be represented. We are speaking the same language.”