March 2020

Living the Dream: Dream Boutique now open at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina

Author: Linda S. Hopkins | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Lea Mitchell, owner of Dream Boutique in Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina.

Do you ever come across someone and feel an instant rapport, as if being drawn by a strong magnet? Someone whose smile feels like a hug? Whose joy and verve are infectious? Prepare for that kind of powerful encounter when you meet Lea Mitchell, owner of Dream Boutique—the newest women’s clothing store at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina.

You see, Mitchell has a way about her. While she’s always been drawn to the fashion world, what excites her most is the people she meets and her ability to make a positive difference in someone’s day.

“We are more than just a boutique. I want to be a place where women feel free to come in and converse,” she said. “It’s like a no-judgment zone. I want people to have the comfort of knowing they can come to Dream, and it doesn’t have to be about finding something to buy. I try to give people what we call ‘the dream experience.’ You may come in looking for a T-shirt, but you might leave with a friend.”

Born and raised in Hardeeville, with family and career ties to Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, Mitchell likes to say that she is semi-local. She has always loved Shelter Cove Harbour and jumped at the opportunity to open her boutique in the gorgeous Mediterranean-style setting. “I love Shelter Cove for more than just its beauty. I love it for its wholeness. It feels like family here,” she said.

Mitchell’s friendly, no-pressure approach to service is the result of her upbringing, education, experience, and faith. She started her career in nursing, honing her people skills in home health care, practicing connection and compassion, while learning to listen and converse with patients and their families. But fashion always held a fascination, and Mitchell often helped style her clients and their children.

“I’ve always had jobs where I was interacting with people, which I love. I think I am a natural helper or nurturer,” she said, explaining how learning to deal with different personalities and meet a variety of needs has translated to retail.

In addition to her 10-year nursing career, Mitchell has 12 years of retail experience, working for a number of brands. “One of the biggest things I learned working in retail is that people never remembered me for just helping them find the clothing. They came in because they genuinely wanted to see me—and the bonus was getting an outfit or a bag or whatever they needed,” she said. “I always took pride in building relationships.”

When she finally mustered the courage to step out on her own, Mitchell’s goal was to create a boutique that would serve her customers and become a reflection of her unique style and sensibilities. Her initial plan was to start a franchise, but God redirected her path, she said.

The boutique has a distinctive selection of jewelry, handbags, and other accessories to complete your outfit or add to your wardrobe.

She and her husband Kevin (whom she says is her “biggest cheerleader”) work as a team. While Kevin works fulltime for the Georgia Ports Authority, he also wears many hats in the business, Mitchell explained. “He’s back-office; I’m front-of-the-house. I guess you could say he’s the brawn and I’m the beauty.” Lea and Kevin are also parents of four children, ranging in age from nine to 23.

While she has plenty of fashion expertise, Mitchell draws heavily on her faith for daily strength and confidence. “The company name is FOAMS Mitchell, LLC. FOAMS stands for faith of a mustard seed,” she explained, citing the biblical parable in which Jesus teaches that the tiny mustard seed quickly grows and spreads into something much greater.

“When you have the faith of a mustard seed, that’s all you need to create your dreams,” Mitchell said. “On the tough days, that’s what keeps me going. All I have to do is have the faith of a mustard seed. I tell myself if I exude the love of Christ in everything that I do, all the rest will work itself out.”

So, beyond the friendly welcome and inviting setting at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina, what can you expect to find at Dream Boutique? You will find an intimate, uncluttered shopping environment with an eclectic yet refined array of women’s clothing unlike any other area boutique. You’ll also find a distinctive selection of jewelry, handbags, and other accessories to complete your outfit or add to your wardrobe. And if you’re in the mood to sparkle and shine, you’re in luck because Mitchell isn’t afraid to step out of the box and offer something a little bit flashy.

Mitchell serves a full range of customers (women of all ages and sizes, including locals and seasonal visitors), making the selection of merchandise a delightful challenge. “At market, I think about what my customers like and what my picks are and tie them together and make sure they are cohesive,” she said. “I often put out feelers on social media to see what people react to, or I’ll post pictures of what I’m already eyeing. People’s responses help me so that I have a game plan when I get there.”

Dream Boutique aims to make your fashion dreams become a reality—changing your outlook on life by changing what you wear. Spring styles are in the house now: think flowy maxi dresses, stylish resort wear, floral wrap tops, chic tote bags, and much more. Stop in for your Heritage outfits, date night attire, and everyday fashion needs, and be sure to watch for upcoming special events.

“Right now, we’re working on a lot of fashionista events for spring and summer as well as some collaborative events with other Shelter Cove Harbour merchants,” Mitchell said. “Stay tuned on Facebook at Dream Boutique or Instagram at dream_boutique1.” You can also find listings and descriptions of all the upcoming Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina events at 

Dream Boutique is located at 9 Harbourside Lane, Suite A-1 – adjacent to the mermaid fountain. Call (843) 715-4020 for directions or more information. Better yet, stop in for the dream experience!

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