Lourdes Hilliard, a resident of Palmetto Bay since 2001, thought she and her sister, Kayla Alonso, were just planning a fun family party for her two daughters, Leila and Ilysa, and their friends. However, she found the event inspired a business idea that was irresistible.
“My youngest daughter turned 2 and we had a fairy themed birthday party,” Hilliard explained. “We converted my cul-de-sac into a small fairy garden complete with fairy tents, butterflies and all kinds of decorations. We had a rolling rack and each girl was able to pick a tutu, wings and a wand. The boys got a pirate costume, which was also a hit.
“Well, thankfully we ordered more than we needed because by the end of the party even the adults were wearing fairy wings! We brainstormed for a couple of days and came up with the idea to sell our hair accessories and coordinating pieces at kiosks.”
Since then the family enterprise also has focused on doing events and trunk shows, which allows them to make the shopping experience more personal for their customers. They recently launched their website, www.GirlyThingsOnline.com.
“On Oct. 23 we will be having our Halloween sale and clearance,” Hilliard said. “It’s a great opportunity to get last minute costumes and save a lot. In November and December we will be featuring our Christmas designs and have plenty of specials for holiday shoppers.”
A Miami native, Hilliard attended the University of Florida where she met her husband and obtained a BA in Foreign Languages. She went on to earn an MBA from Florida International University and attended law school at the University of Miami, even obtaining a license to practice law in New Jersey and Florida. But her heart was in her creative interests and that is what she is now pursuing.
“When you are a first-time mom with a daughter, you make a big deal out of everything, and every holiday is a time to take pictures or dress up your little girl,” Hilliard said. “Girly Things is a fun shopping experience. It is the perfect place to find great gifts or something sweet for your little girl.
“We carry an extensive line of pettiskirts, tutus, petti-tops, tights and fairy wings. We also hand make hair accessories of all types. Most of our products can be customized to your needs.”
Hilliard said that their customer base has grown rapidly because their pricing is very reasonable and that customers looking for their type of product know the styles and have shopped around. She also stresses the personal touch and great customer service.
“We customize a lot of our designs to our customers’ needs and we always feature special designs for the holiday season,” Hilliard said. “We think it is important that our customers are treated with the utmost importance and we have enjoyed getting to know them.”
Besides the two mall locations at Dolphin Mall and Sawgrass Mills plus their website they also have a showroom near the Falls. It’s open by appointment only except on Oct. 23, Nov. 20 and every Saturday in December, when it will be open to the public. They also are looking into opening a “bricks and mortar” location within the coming months.
“Our concept is definitely evolving,” Hilliard said. “My sister and I have really enjoyed designing different things for customers, friends and families. We are currently working on our first ready-to-wear line which will still have the Girly Things inspiration with high end pettiskirts and dresses.”