Over happy hour cocktails 36 years ago, Connie Simms’ father suggested that she and her mother open a boutique together after they had returned from a fun day shopping in Key West. Connie was an art teacher in Lee County at the time and loved the position, but she was incredibly excited about his idea. After much discussion, planning and creating, she and her mother, Jan Cabana, who had years of retail management experience, combined their talents and opened a small store in 1984. What began in a 500-square-foot store in downtown Fort Myers has 35 years later blossomed into a 3,000-square-foot exceptional boutique in the Village of Venetian Bay.
This remarkable journey over the past three and a half decades has brought to Naples a presentation of unique and exclusive boutique collections to make women feel just as exclusive and beautiful. Starting out in the small store gave Connie and her mom the opportunity to learn how to buy the right mix of lines, to figure out which vendors they did the best with, and time to develop and grow their business into what they wanted. Her mom had years of experience managing small specialty boutiques, but Connie did not, so it was a surprise to her to learn that she loved selling and helping clients create a look that reflected their own unique expression and that she really enjoyed helping them build a wardrobe that inspired and made them feel and look their best. The relationships she created with her clientele inspired her to continue on her boutique path and is one of the aspects she still loves most about having a retail store.
In 1992, they had grown to three stores and Connie and her mom decided to separate as partners. Jan took their art-to-wear store, and Connie took the two Wildflowers—one that was in Fort Myers and the other that was located in the Village of Venetian Bay. As the business continued to grow, the venue that made the most sense to fully occupy based on the interest and traffic of customers was the one in Naples on the waterfront of Venetian Bay. Connie and her husband, Lake, are now celebrating being in the Village for more than 29 years and are enjoying the increased store space, which they doubled when they expanded seven years ago.
Wildflower presents a curated collection of stunning, feminine and stylish clothing and accessories. They bring these outstanding styles and designs to the women of Naples by searching the fashion markets and handpicking the finest quality lines and products. Their list of designers is extensive, and clients, no matter their tastes, will be able to find what appeals to them. They stock Ania Schierhold, designs that create a look that defines and distinguishes; Beate Heymann, modern and unique “street couture;” Dismero, Italian-made sophisticated sportswear; Edward Achour Paris, fashion with a French hand and accessible luxury; and Marc Aurel, clear lines, a love of detail and individuality fitting to an “everyday lifestyle.”
Besides being a destination for upscale casually chic sportswear and specialty accessories, Wildflower has become known and loved as the destination for special occasion dressing, styling a lot of mothers of the bride or groom. They have beautiful lines of dresses and gowns that can be custom-ordered in the colors and styles that will fulfill the client’s vision for their unique and important event.
The Wildflower team is dedicated to encouraging women to see their beauty and to acquire a new appreciation for themselves, so they build personal and meaningful relationships with their clients. It is the desire of Wildflower’s attentive and engaging team to bring an authentic concern to creating and empowering the fullest expression of beautiful.
“I think our team is the very best in Naples," Connie says. "We foster and support one another’s success and achievements, celebrating the accomplishment of leaving our clientele experiencing beautiful.”
4222 Gulf Shore Blvd. N, Naples