Palm Beach Post - Milou closes Palm Beach shop, rebrands as lifestyle site

Milou closes Palm Beach shop, rebrands as lifestyle site

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As many businesses remain closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, stores like Milou have re-imagined their brands.

While the coronavirus lockdown threatens the livelihood of many local shops, some store owners are rethinking their brand to shift with the times.

One of those is Lourdes de Guardiola, who closed her shop at The Esplanade on April 30 and now has rebranded it as an online lifestyle site featuring her new clothing line, curated products and inspiring content.

“With the whole pandemic, anything you can do to keep yourself motivated is okay,” she said. “As a nation, we are used to big results, big events, big parties and I feel like it all needs to scale down a little bit and look for the thing that makes us happy.”

In 2018, de Guardiola opened Milou, a shop with a curated collection of her favorite finds during her travels. As a professional equestrian show jumper, de Guardiola traveled the world finding artisan and designer products she hadn’t seen in the United States. Her easy, laidback style was a hit among friends and so was Milou, which quickly became a go-to for the understated, bohemian look for women of all ages. She sells leather goods handmade in Argentina, vintage pieces sourced from all over the nation, linen dresses and a new line of children’s clothing she designed.

De Guardiola began designing children’s clothing when she was pregnant with her 2-year-old daughter Delphine and is now creating women’s clothing as well. Like her children’s line, the adult pieces are handmade in India from cotton and linen.

The children’s pieces include collared onesies with a French flair, rompers and a ruffled dress that easily adjusts sizes as the child grows. Recently, she released a Mommy & Me collection, but the pandemic halted production in India prompting de Guardiola to tap into local seamstresses, which limited production.

Between running the shop and her horse riding school in Wellington, Imperial Show Stables, life was moving too fast, making her miss the little moments, de Guardiola said. When the pandemic hit, she realized how much she missed being home and spending time with her children. In addition to Delphine, she has a 15-year-old son, Lucas, and a 3-year-old daughter, Mischa.

“When I started the website, I had a vision of not only selling pieces of designers that I had discovered, but also telling their stories along with other muses and inspirational women I have met in my life and travel,” she writes in one of her first blog posts.

Every Sunday she posts “Sunday Soul” where she tells the stories of fellow travelers and designers she carries. The blog gives insight into their creative process and lifestyles, while sharing personal playlists and favorite places to visit.

“I don’t necessarily want the blog to push products, but rather a way to live. I want you to go on the website and read for 30 minutes. For me the more articles and content the better,” de Guardiola said. “I don’t want to be pushing clothes down people’s throat. That’s the last thing everyone needs.”