Tucked just off Harrison Avenue, there's an unassuming little house, complete with a front porch, that could easily pass for a private residence. Inside, though, racks of colorful designer clothing, baubles hung in ornate picture frames and an array of cosmetics fill the airy space. The atmosphere is what shoppers would expect from a Magazine Street boutique — except Fini (6250 Gen. Diaz St., 304-0633; www.finiboutique.com) is in Lakeview.
Co-owners Monique Bonnaffons and Kendall Jenkins wanted to bring more clothing options to the Lakeview area, so residents who didn't have time to dash across town to a mall or shopping district would still have easy access to one-of-a-kind pieces by local and national designers. "It's stressful to deal with the hassle of the mall," Bonnaffons says.
The store carries labels like Level 99 Denim, Show Me Your Mumu and Fluxus, as well as accessories like jewelry, hair ties and rain boots. "We usually order one run of an item, and when it's gone, it's gone," Bonnafons says. "Our regulars know to shop often so they can get a unique piece that they can't get anywhere else in town." It also stocks crystal-embellished handbags by local designer Paula Vizzini Lowe, who will show her collection at a trunk show at Fini Monday, Aug. 30. "We really put a lot of value on local designers and pieces made in America," Bonnaffons says.
The store is a one-stop shop when it comes to getting ready for a night out: women can pick up a new outfit, get an airbrush tan and a makeover all under one roof. A former employee of MAC Cosmetics, Jenkins has been a makeup artist for 10 years. Jenkins first met Bonnaffons when the store had a different name and direction: Maison du Soleil. "I was always going in for my airbrush tans, and then we went into business together after getting to know each other," Jenkins says. After joining forces, the women renamed the store and reenvisioned its concept. Though some things have changed (the shelves of Stila cosmetics are new), others have stayed the same: Bonnaffon's chocolate-brown teacup poodle Amelia still snoozes on her little bed under the cash register, emitting the occasional snore and getting up to greet favorite customers. Overall, the store's vibe is cozy but sophisticated, relaxed but efficient.
"Here you can get your make-up done, get a healthy, glowing tan and leave in the perfect outfit," Jenkins adds. "You will leave fini."