By peoplestaff225
Updated August 10, 2007 11:00 AM

We spoke to Belly Dance’s Jennifer Strom Simonte about her business and two websites; Belly Dance Maternity and Belly Dance Baby.

What inspired you to start your shop? How long have you been in business? How did you come up with your store’s name? Do you have a physical store as well? What categories do you cover?
I was looking for a business that would allow us to focus on customer service, in an area where our team would work closely with customers. I was also looking for a way to build a business, rather than just one store, and I felt that the maternity category was growing quickly. We have been in business for five years. We have three stores in New York and Chicago, and two websites, Belly Dance Maternity and Belly Dance Baby. We sell everything related to pregnancy, from jeans to black tie dresses to skin care to diaper bags. In addition, our baby site includes our favorite brands in every category from clothing to nursery furniture.

Sum up your store’s style and sensibility in one sentence.
Belly Dance Maternity sells hip maternity wear for stylish moms-to-be. Belly Dance Baby sells what’s hip, cool, and comfortable for baby.

What are the hot trends this season you’re excited about? Which trends are a hit with your customers? Tell us about your favorite pieces this season.
Tunics are big this season. In addition, dresses and are hot this summer. We love dresses, as they look good and are really comfortable. Here are a few of our favorites. And designer denim will always be huge.

Pick 3 of your favorite brands you carry – How did you decide to offer these 3 brands?
We are biased at the moment. Nom/Naissance Maternity was our favorite brand, but we recently purchased Nom, so it is now our brand. We also love that Paige Premium Denim is now making maternity jeans. They are hip, yet classic. And Olian is a fabulous brand, with stylish pieces at great prices.

What are your top selling brands and products?
We sell designer denim, stylish tops, and basics like black pants really well. We are well-known for having a wide range of prices, and our designer denim assortment is awesome.

What’s next for your store?
We are continually in expansion mode. Our websites are growing quickly and, as always, we are looking at places for new stores.

What is the average order total?
Probably between $100-300.

What products do you carry that celebrity babies and parents have/use?
Celebrity babies and parents use many of our products. Nom is a very hot celeb brand, worn by Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gwen Stefani, Madonna, Kate Moss, and pretty much anyone you can imagine. In addition, we have lots of celebs shop for designer denim. Celeb babies love Maclaren strollers, Little Giraffe blankets, and Tea Collection clothing.

Can you tell us about any celebrity clients and what they have ordered?
Kate Hudson wore the Nom 9 months tee, Mariska Hargitay wore Nom tanks and bought a Petunia Pickle Bottom bag. Britney Spears wore a Susana Monaco dress from us to her baby shower. Diana Krall bought designer jeans.

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Have you shopped at Belly Dance Maternity or Belly Dance Baby? What did YOU think?

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