“Shopping should be for everyone,” says Assunta Swier, the owner and operator of Assunta Salon & Boutique. A licensed hair stylist for over 35 years, Swier empowers her clients to look and feel their best, whether she’s lending them a sympathetic ear or adding volume to their hair with the magic of her curling wand. In January 2022, Swier dipped her toe into the retail world and discovered another way to spark confidence and self-love in her clients. “I woke up one day and decided that I wanted to try selling earrings,” she says. Swier ordered 12 pairs of earrings through a wholesaler, and within one day, all 12 pairs sold out. She ordered more earrings and created a consignment program selling gently-used clothes and accessories given to her by her clients. Just over a year later, Swier’s foray into retail transformed into The Boutique @1833, located inside her Laurel Park salon. 

Racks of clothes, shoes, purses and more line the walls of the charming salon space. From understated Zara tops to hot pink Jimmy Choo heels, something special can be found around every corner. She also carries local goods, like Rockstar RollOn body oil, SRQ Hair products and Siesta Key Hair Extensions. Because the boutique receives new pre-owned pieces on a consistent basis, shoppers can keep their wardrobes fresh and updated for an affordable price. Most products range from $12 to $300, making them accessible to a wider demographic. 

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

“Having been a Sarasota resident and business owner for over 20 years, I see how shops in the downtown core are overpriced,” says Swier, “and my boutique gives people in different seasons of their lives the opportunity to enjoy the pleasure of coming downtown and buying things.” With her salon and boutique, Swier blends the camaraderie of women gathering together with the bliss of a day spent shopping. “She’s developed a sense of community by meeting people and being so warm and welcoming,” says client Joan Jones. “I’m a therapist, so I love coming here and having a place where I’m listened to. It’s good self-care,” she adds. 

Swier hopes to grow the boutique through additional locations and an online presence, giving more women in the community the opportunity to find products that help them shine, both inside and out. However, she always puts her clients first. “It’s been great to have them involved, and I can’t imagine where I would be without a built-in network that supports me,” she says. Judging by the smiles on her clients’ faces, that feeling is mutual.