Downtown Boutique Gets Post-Irma Makeover

| By Kathryn Deen |

Marcella Imbesi is one glitter-loving gal.

So it’s no surprise that the owner of the Downtown Clermont boutique Livi & Tate found the shiny silver lining in Hurricane Irma.

Although the store at 827 W. Montrose St. temporarily closed from storm damage, Marcella saw an opportunity to makeover the shop.

“It was a good excuse to ‘wow’ our customers,” Marcella told Clermont Magazine. “We stepped it up.”

The interior has a fresh, chic look with dazzling new product displays, stark white floors, and way more glitter – as in Marcella spent days adding tons of glitz to her designated “glitter wall.” Now the store shines in ways she had always envisioned.

New displays adorn the store.

To showcase the new interior, the cosmetic, clothing and candy shop held a grand reopening Oct. 28.

“People say it’s like their closet fantasy,” Marcella said. “It’s light and airy and bright.”

Livi & Tate’s doors had been closed for about a month during repairs and renovations. Storm water had leaked into the historic building’s ceiling, walls and floor after Irma’s eye tore through Clermont early Sept. 11. Thankfully, the original contractor came to her rescue to start work just days later.

A Piece of History

It was important to Marcella to restore the charming building because at 117 years old, it has history.

The quaint building was constructed in 1900.

The 1,078-square-foot house was built in 1900 at 775 W. Montrose St., near 801 City Grille in Downtown Clermont, according to the Lake County Property Appraiser. It served as a post office, among other retail uses. The building relocated to its current location a couple decades after it was built.

Marcella first spotted the house while shopping in Downtown Clermont, shortly after she moved here 15 years ago from Long Island, New York.

The “cute” building charmed her with its wrap-around porch and cozy upstairs “Hobbit” office, and she eagerly awaited its availability.

In July 2015, shes bought the property with her mother and two sisters. Last month, the company that worked on it won an award for their work renovating its interior. (United Wall Systems won an Excellence in Construction Eagle Award for “Interior Finishes – Acoustical, Drywall or Plaster – Historical Renovation – Under $500,000.”)

The Makeup Queen

Beside the adorable building, Livi & Tate’s main attraction is Marcella’s cosmetics line.

You’ll find her locally made foundation, eye makeup, lip color and brow products, including a spa minerals collection, as well as an extensive selection of makeup brushes.

Marcella is quite an expert. She studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, headed the cosmetics division for Lord & Taylor in Garden City, led Estee Lauder’s Origins division in Winter Park and Orlando, and freelanced for Mac.

Owner Marcella Imbesi has an extensive background in makeup.

When her daughter, Olivia, started kindergarten, Marcella put her career on hold to become a full-time mom.

But she missed the beauty business. So as her daughter grew up, Marcella’s wheels began to spin.

“I wanted to do something,” she said. “I know the manufacturers, the quality, the products.”

After a year of research, samples and focus groups, Marcella launched Brush Beauty Cosmetics online in 2014 as “a kinder, gentler approach to cosmetics.”

Business was booming and she was running out of space at home, so it was time for a storefront. As Marcella puts it, “I needed my dining room back for Thanksgiving.”

So in July 2016, she opened Livi & Tate, named after her only child, Olivia Tate, and rebranded her cosmetics line to match the store name.

Olivia Tate, for whom the store was named, is seen far right at the grand reopening.

More in the Store

But there’s much more than cosmetics in the quaint, modern shop.

Beyond Marcella’s makeup line, you’ll find:

  • Novel jewelry (beaded, tasseled, charm-adorned, even candy-scented pieces)
  • Fashion-forward clothes (jeans, tank tops, floral and classic-style shirts)
  • Pretty purses and makeup bags
  • Sophisticated candy (gummies and marshmallows in fun flavors like Champagne and wine)
  • Luxurious bath goodies (cupcake bath bombs, lotion, perfume, bubble bath, face masks and scrubs)
  • Sweet candles (with spicy sayings)
  • Stylish party favors

You can pop in for an individual makeup consultation or schedule a girls’ pampering nights with up to eight people.

“I wanted it to be a culmination of all things happy,” Marcella said.

A peek at the fashionable offers in the new displays.

Supporting the Community

Shopping at Livi & Tate is a feel-good experience for more reasons than one.

The cosmetics are made with natural, non-toxic ingredients; they are hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and not tested on animals. Plus, they’re free from parabens, fillers, and synthetic oils. Their brushes are even vegan-friendly.

The bow on top is that a portion of every purchase supports The Pink Bow Foundation.

Marcella launched the 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2014 to supply hygiene kits to homeless teenagers in Lake County. She was inspired to help while volunteering at East Ridge High School, where Olivia goes to school.

A look at some of the sweet soaps sold in the shop.

She learned that the need for body products was significant, as there are 1,902 homeless students across Lake County as of March 2017.

“It really broke my heart that hygiene products were lacking,” she said. “I wanted to give back.”

The foundation already has given out 1,600 kits, which include 16-20 full-size items such as shampoo, deodorant and toothbrushes, as well as motivational notes.

“You never know what can spark someone,” Marcella said.

Marcella also started Pass the Pink Bow, an initiative to spread kindness.

Share your thoughts about Livi & Tate in the comments below.


headshot-2-7-copyKathryn Deen is the founder and editor of Clermont Magazine, a Clermont resident and an award-winning professional journalist.

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