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Bella Isola Boutique offers a wide variety of fashion

By Staff | May 13, 2015

Claudine Wells, who runs Bella Isola Boutique, works at her store during a sunny and warm Thursday afternoon. BRIAN WIERIMA

When customers walk through the threshold to enter one of Sanibel’s newest fashion boutiques, it’s like walking into a “dream closet”.

That’s exactly how Bella Isola Boutique, located at 2340 Periwinkle Way, has been described by some customers after visiting the small, but very fashionable, store.

“We offer great variety and chic fashionable trends,” said Bella Isola Boutique proprietor Claudine Wells. “We cover quite a bit of variety, from beauty to cocktail party fashions and we have all the accessories to go with it.”

Wells has transformed her boutique into a “dream closet” for the fashionable-sensed customer, but running her own store is a dream scenario for her.

After moving to Sanibel, along with her husband (Larry) and three daughters Amber (19 years old), Brytne (18) and Jessica (16), her dream came true just over a year ago.

One of the areas Claudine Wells offers is jewelry, which is very popular at Bella Isola Boutique. BRIAN WIERIMA

“I was a stay-at-home mom for 19 years and it has always been my dream to owning a boutique,” Claudine said. “We’ve lived on the island for three years, and it’s just been paradise. But Larry surprised me one day and next thing we knew, we were signing papers to own our own shop.”

Coming from Napersville, Ill., near Chicago, Claudine Wells picked up a very knowledgeable fashion sense and also dabbled in the retail business over the years.

The Wells duo hired a consultant out of Naples who has run boutiques in New York City and California, to see if they would be interested in such a venture.

“She inspired us to go for it,” Claudine said.

“It was always her dream,” Larry Wells said. “Claudine does all the ordering and we’ve had many compliments on our selection.”

A Bella Isola Boutique customer browses the variety of items at the shop, located at 2340 Periwinkle Way. BRIAN WIERIMA

Bella Isola Boutique combines a perfect blend of island fashion with trend. Claudine has a very good assortment of jewelry and in her first year of business, has done very well in that department.

“We have a hard time keeping our jewelry in stock,” Claudine said. “Overall, it was a very nice first season for us.”

Wells’ target audience is also wide, from catering to the younger crowd to the “younger at heart” demographic.

Bella Isola Boutique also features “Sanibel Happy Fish” decor, which are handmade fish which can hang from the ceiling and have been a hot item.

Trending clothes fill the racks, while a wide swath of different accessories also grace the Bella Isola Boutique shelves and people notice it. As Claudine puts it, “It’s not a job, it’s a passion” and it shows in the selection of items.

“Ninety percent of the folks who stop in, make a compliment and asks who does the buying for the store?” Larry Wells said. “(Claudine) just has a good eye for fashion.”

Business hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information or to contact Bella Isola Boutique, call 239-651-6975 or email at claudine@BellaIsolaBoutique.com or visit their website at BellaIsolaBoutique.com.