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Michelle DiMarco: “Fake it until you make it”

“If God be for me who can be against me?” I say this quote every day to myself. Sometimes multiple times a day. I read it in The Power Of positive thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. I studied this book from front to back and highlighted important paragraphs. I also made flashcards to help me […]

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“If God be for me who can be against me?” I say this quote every day to myself. Sometimes multiple times a day. I read it in The Power Of positive thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. I studied this book from front to back and highlighted important paragraphs. I also made flashcards to help me remember certain notes. To this day this book sits on my kitchen counter. I flip through it daily and highly recommend it to anyone looking to improve their life.


As part of my interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle DiMarco. She is a South Florida-based entrepreneur and owner of Lilac and Lilies fashion boutique. Fueled by her love of style and travel, DiMarco has led a 15-year career, creating a strong presence in the fashion industry throughout Fort Lauderdale.

Michelle DiMarco, born in New Port Richey, Florida and raised by a single mother from Cuba, learned from an early age the importance of her roots, heritage, and culture, yet to cultivate an independent spirit to evolve and successfully follow her dreams.

While always having a passion for street style, DiMarco attended The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City where she studied Creative Enterprise Ownership. After returning to her home state in Florida, DiMarco launched Lilac and Lilies, a brick-and-mortar fashion boutique in Fort Lauderdale. The boutique has remained a staple in South Florida for nearly 10 years as DiMarco handpicks every piece that is sold within the store.

Lilac And Lilies Boutique speaks to feminine and flirty trends and styles for today’s contemporary woman. Focusing on quality brands and an affordable price point, Lilac And Lilies BoutiqueBoutique offer lifestyle resort wear, athleisure, swimwear, jewelry, and denim, the boutique has served as a shopping destination thanks to its wide assortment of up-and-coming labels from New York, Los Angeles and overseas which share shelf space alongside globally-known brands.

The Lilac And Lilies also offers personal shopping services, seasonal trunk shows, fashion cocktail parties for charities and special events, and private shopping after hours by appointment.

In 2020 DiMarco announced that the boutique will transition its inventory of designer apparel, accessories, and beauty products exclusively to the web. Moving the boutique to an online-only platform will accommodate an expanded inventory, allowing the savviest clientele to get their hands on even more of the hottest trends in women’s clothing and accessories. DiMarco and Lilac And Lilies Boutique have been featured in WWD, New York Post, Forbes, CBS, NBC, Sun Sentinel, Boca Life, the Miami Herald, and more.

As the store transitions online, DiMarco’s focus will remain on expanding her business, while also taking the time to balance work and family life.

In addition to being a successful businesswoman, DiMarco is heavily involved with several local charities. DiMarco has been able to give back to the community as a devoted volunteer and advocate for philanthropy. She has been nominated as one of the 10 outstanding Women of Broward County by the The Boys and Girls Club. She is an active board member of The Humane Society of Broward County and regularly volunteers for Kids in Distress. DiMarco is also a recipient of The Glammy Award for her community activism benefiting breast cancer research.

DiMarco currently lives in Fort Lauderdale with her King Charles Cavalier puppy, Lily. She enjoys living a healthy lifestyle of mind, body, and spirit — which makes DiMarco the successful, well- rounded businesswoman that she is today.


Thank you for joining us in this series, Michelle. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I come from a family of small business owners. We were all hands-on. Every Summer my brother and I would work at my family’s lawnmower sales and repair shop. From an early age, I saw what it took to run a business. My adult self now thrives on that. I love the hustle. I love being able to create my own path.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started?

When I first started my career I was living in NYC attending FIT and had the pleasure of attending NY Fashion Week. One of my best friends is a model in NYC, we managed to get two tickets to do a meet and greet with fashion designer Zac Posen before his runway show and we sat in the first row, which are highly-coveted seats. During the show, I was seated next to Miss J, who was a coach on the TV show America’s Next Top Model.

When we got back to The Edition Hotel, Victoria Beckham was in the lobby with a bunch of people who were dancing and passing around tequila shots. The next thing I knew my girlfriend and I were dancing side by side with Victoria. I’ll never forget that day.

After that, I opened Lilac And Lilies Boutique in 2009 in the midst of the recession. When I was purchasing items to be displayed in the store, I bought items that were priced way too high. It was a tough time for our community and unfortunately, people were seeking items that were more affordable, so I had to shift my business model. It’s a miracle that I made it through.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

In the beginning, I invested a lot of time and energy into doing pop-up boutiques, all, for the most part, to break even. They are an incredible amount of work. My more experienced self would have invested more effort into becoming proficient in social media advertising. I am currently taking online courses on how to brand my business on social media.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

A customer needs to be able to relate to a brand and that’s something that I try to do with Lilac and Lilies Boutique. Why do people want to shop from us when they have a million other options? A successful brand should be relatable and authentic to their potential clientele. In our own marketing for the boutique, I always share the relatable message of my upbringing in a small town. I was raised by a single mother from Cuba, which is something that I am very proud of.

In regard to how we as a company stand out, I think it’s because we specialize in the latest trends and styles for the contemporary woman. The brand speaks to the trends and styles of today. As I source and sell fashionable foods online, I continue to scope out quality brands that are celebrated in the industry, or new like-minded small businesses in the fashion industry. It’s truly what separates us from the rest.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I always suggest that my colleagues set boundaries. When you’re first launching a business, it’s really challenging not to burn out because you need to be pounding the pavement by creating awareness for the brand. My suggestion is to roll up your sleeves and know it’s not going to be easy. Believing in myself is a continued strategy that I continue to go by. It took three years for me to start to see consistency in my business and I was finally able to delegate tasks to others.

Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?

This fall I am moving the boutique exclusively online, offering a robust ecommerce site focused on high-end and affordable apparel and accessories. The new website will personify the company’s brand standard, offering fashionable clothes that make women feel empowered, on-trend, and comfortable.

I am also launching the Lilac And Lilies Loft, a South Florida warehouse and special event venue. The Loft is open by appointment for styling sessions (both in-person and virtual), personal shopping, and special events. Space also serves as a venue for fundraisers, happy hours, girls’ nights, and more.

What are your “Top 5 Things Needed to Succeed in the Fashion Industry”.

1. Perseverance

2. Networking

3. Learning as much as you can

4. Fake it until you make it

5. Hire people who are better than you

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

“If God be for me who can be against me?” I say this quote every day to myself. Sometimes multiple times a day. I read it in The Power Of positive thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. I studied this book from front to back and highlighted important paragraphs. I also made flashcards to help me remember certain notes. To this day this book sits on my kitchen counter. I flip through it daily and highly recommend it to anyone looking to improve their life.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

As I have grown, I have started to help women who are coming up in their careers by giving them advice whenever I can. I also use social media as a tool to promote female empowerment, which I’m incredibly passionate about. It’s a positive message that I share across all mediums and channels in my daily life. In addition, I work with local nonprofits and charities in South Florida whenever possible.

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