Some people need a lifetime to figure out their passion. Others recognize it at a young age and spend their lives following their dream. Valérie Engel constitutes the latter. Since she was a little girl, Valérie knew she wanted to work in fashion and spent the first quarter of her life building an enviable fashion career. At only 26 years old, she left behind a job with Chanel in Paris to open one of Miami’s chicest new boutiques, Roses and Dreams.
Miami was Valérie’s catalyst. When she came here on vacation a year ago, she fell in love with the city and decided to move here. Miami’s sunny days were a stark contrast to Paris’ overcast skies. Furthermore, Miami Beach’s big-city-meets-small-beach-town vibe offered the perfect balance between the Caribbean islands, where she was raised, and the urban environment she grew to love in Paris.
Her move to Miami came with an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream. “Opening a boutique is part of what I have always wanted to do in my life,” says Valérie. “I knew that if I didn’t do it now, I would never do it.” So, Valérie purchased her inventory and took the plunge.
Finding a place to open her store did not prove an easy task. She found a vacancy on 10th Street, but the location attracted mostly tourists looking for cheap souvenirs. It wasn’t until two months ago, when she found a perfect match in retail space at the Continuum, that Valérie truly hit her stride.
At her new home on South Pointe Drive, Valérie is a big hit with the South of Fifth locals. Her devoted clientele flocks to her store when new shipments arrive to stock up on French brands that are rare finds in the Miami shopping scene. “At Roses and Dreams, we only carry French brands because we want to propose something different,” states Valérie. “These brands are ones that not everyone is familiar with here in Miami.”
Following the success of her boutique, Valérie is setting her sights on more dreams she wants to fulfill in Miami. She recently launched a closet organization service called the “Closet Therapist” program that she hopes to see grow in the coming year. She is also working on developing and executing other concepts like Roses and Dreams Home, a French décor store that is slated for the South of Fifth neighborhood in the near future.
Valérie’s story shows that Miami is doing some things right to draw talent and business from abroad — even if it’s as simple as delivering on its reputed sunshine and good vibes. And she’s proof that chasing your dreams can pay off. “I think people should focus on their dreams”, says Valérie. “When you believe in what you want to do, you will make it.” Preach, girl.
Margarita Wells is the founder of Thank You, Miami, a blog about Miami life.