A beautiful woman who sticks up for what she believes: she’s stylish, she loves who she is and she can conquer the world. That’s Vienna Girardi’s definition of a vixen, and that is what she strives to bring out of her customers who shop at Vixen Boutique.
Girardi, a 2009 UCF interpersonal communications alumna, is best known for her appearances in reality TV shows such as ABC’s The Bachelor and VH1’s Couple’s Therapy, but after nearly three years in the spotlight, she says she no longer wishes to be in the public eye.
“As of right now, I am just getting my boutique up and going,” Girardi said. “I just want to settle down, really. I want to be by my family and be normal again. It’s just overwhelming to be out there in the spotlight. … I want to have more of a simple life.”
Girardi grew up in nearby Geneva and sees herself as a small-town girl who fell in love with clothes and fashion while attending UCF. It was during her sophomore year that she drew up a business plan for the Vixen Boutique and planned to open it up near the campus since there was no real shopping places available when she was in school.
“While I was out in L.A., I was meeting tons of different designers,” she said. “Everything happens for a reason, and I think that the reason I was really on TV out in L.A. was to meet all these prospects and people for my passion.”
After returning to Florida and scouting out potential locations for a storefront, Girardi finally opened up Vixen Boutique in the University Commons Plaza in late January of this year. The boutique carries styles that are exclusive to Los Angeles and are not sold anywhere else except for the designer’s own personal stores. By bringing Los Angeles to Florida, she wants to be able to give Florida women the opportunity to wear fun and flirty fashions that make them feel beautiful.
Cindy Appelbaum, a UCF sophomore majoring in event management and hospitality, is a sales clerk at Vixen Boutique and loves all of the styles that are available. She enjoys helping customers find the perfect look as well as helping Girardi choose the newest styles to include in the store.
“I like the fashion because it’s all from California, so it’s stuff we can’t find in the malls here,” Appelbaum said. “[Working here] is like a dream job.”
First-time shopper Emily Gross found the store to be more on the quiet side and lacking a little luster that is normally found in a clothing boutique. Since there was no real attention-grabbing atmosphere, she questioned whether or not she will be returning to the store any time in the future.
“They had nice stuff; it just really wasn’t my style,” Gross said.
Girardi claims that her store was never truly open even though the grand opening was in January. There were so many aspects of opening a business that she hadn’t foreseen that she isn’t very pleased with where her store is right now. The past four months have been a soft transition into retail for Girardi, and she has plans to expand her store during the summer.
“I’m actually transferring Vixen Boutique to Vixens and Villains Boutique,” Girardi said.
The new additions to the store will include an all-new men’s line of clothing as well as changes to the store’s appearance that she has been slowly building up. Girardi’s goal is to have everything ready by August for another grand opening, just in time for the fall semester at UCF.