Sylma Cabrera at her Shelter Island clothing boutique, Pure Soul.

 

Sylma Cabrera at her Shelter Island clothing boutique, Pure Soul.

  Credit: Ann E. Nunez

Sylma Cabrera — owner of the 6-year-old clothing store Pure Soul on Shelter Island — delights in the fact that the community has lived up to its name. After a storm, it became her shelter.

In 2017, Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, damaging her home and flagship Pure Soul. She “took refuge,” she says, with her brother in Brooklyn. “I came to Shelter Island then to visit a friend who has a house there,” says Cabrera, 56. She and her then-teenaged daughter stayed while repairs were made back home.

The area spoke to her; she opened Pure Soul one year later. She calls her shop a “modern lifestyle boutique. We don’t just sell clothing,” she says. “We give you an experience.”

Merchandise is split 70% clothing and 30% gifts. Cabrera curates it all. “We don't do mass market,” she says.

Pure Soul, a concept and name dreamed up while meditating on a beach in Belize, focuses on women but there are some selections for men and kids.

Inside Sylma Cabrera's Shelter Island clothing boutique, Pure Soul.

 

 

Inside Sylma Cabrera's Shelter Island clothing boutique, Pure Soul.

 

  Credit: Ann E. Nunez

“The model of business that I follow is to make sure that we are a platform for local artists and local designers,” she says. Some New York businesses she carries in the store include Cristina V. Jewelry, Old Field Apothecary candles and YESAET fashions.

“Coming to New York City at 18 as a Puerto Rican woman, I wondered how to integrate myself into this big equation,” she says. “I had the challenge to work harder. I was able to do that.”

Cabrera still has a home and Pure Soul in Puerto Rico. And she’s threaded herself into Long Island. “Three years ago I found a beautiful property very close to the store,” she says. “I consider myself now a Shelter Islander.”

Dresses range from $120 to $180, bags and shoes ($80 to $250), her linen casual clothing line ($80 to $150).

Pure Soul,183 N. Ferry Rd., Shelter Island. Open daily Memorial Day to Labor Day, and by appointment through Christmas, 516-413-4136, puresoulboutique.com.

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