Story & Photos By David Rosario with Contributions By Jorge Larrea
In the frontlines of Coconut Grove and Little Havana, you can find lifestyle boutique Invazion tightly knit into its corner store location off of US-1. To label the establishment as unique is simply an undeserved understatement. The floor-hugging red couch, the stacked inventory and the larger-than-life windows are just some of the elements that create the distinction between Invazion, and any other urban boutique.
Owners Alexis Zamudio and Mara Bermudez, both childhood friends since the third grade, decided to introduce a sneaker and urban-based apparel store to the South Miami area. They each compliment each other and have created their very own formula for success. Alexis brings in her passion for the sneaker culture instilled into her by her family, and Mara, who previously owned a modeling agency, brings her business savvy touch into the overall picture of the company. “Invazion isn’t our first business venture together,” explained Alexis, “back in middle school, we had a booming Blow Pop business. For every two dollars invested, we made ten dollars profit. Even then, Mara was the one counting the money and I was doing the customer service.” As business partners in adulthood, Alexis and Mara still use a similar business plan with Invazion as they did with their candy-selling partnership. According to both of them, they always find the opportunity to capitalize on each of their individual strengths and learn from each other on a daily basis.
Business has surely been plentiful since Invazion first opened its doors in August of 2006. The proof of that came via the company bank statement that came in around Christmas time. “Our first Christmas here was definitely a good one,” Mara recalled. Within a few short months since the initial grand opening, Alexis and Mara noted a constant introduction of new customers fueled by a simple, yet increased presence of word-of-mouth in the streets of South Florida. Loyal customers often returned, and eventually Invazion caught wind of numerous high-profile athletes and celebrity clients like Penny Hardaway, Chad Johnson, Fat Joe and Fabolous to name a few. “Some of our bigger clients just ask us to mail them their orders,” noted Alexis, “and they pay for it by just asking us to charge their Black American Express card that we have on file.” (Church!)
Both Alexis and Mara are glad to be able to add a woman’s touch to the selection of men’s clothing available in-store. They also stress the importance of having a small amount of pieces from a lot of different lines; as opposed to having an abundance of pieces from a few selected brands. “We don’t want you to buy a shirt from our store, wear it and then see somebody on South Beach with the exact same shirt,” explained Mara, “so that’s why we keep our inventory very limited and very exclusive.” The options are still endless at Invazion and there is something for everyone and anyone that is in the market to upgrade their wardrobe or just looking to step up their sneaker game.
Invazion stands just a couple footsteps away from the Coconut Grove Metrorail Station and is in the crosshairs of one of Miami’s busiest intersections. And by the looks of things, it will only be a matter of time until the “invazion” continues on and beyond the county of Dade.
Note: This article was originally published in 305 Magazine’s Issue 03. SUBSCRIBE TO 305 MAGAZINE BY GOING TO 305MAGAZINE.COM/SUBSCRIBE