For Ali Shervill, the idea of establishing a maternity boutique in Smithers was born of necessity.
Bellies and Bambinos, located on Main Street in Smithers, opened December 1, 2012, after Shervill’s own experience looking for maternity clothing.
“When I was pregnant, I couldn’t find anything to wear,” Shervill said.
From this experience, Shervill felt there was a need for a maternity store in Smithers.
Mom, Kate Hepburn, joined the venture for one simple reason.
“Ali needed a business partner and financial backing,” Hepburn said.
Of course, Hepburn was more than willing to help her daughter, knowing young families often don’t have enough capital to start such ventures on their own.
“I’m a little older and more established and was able to get the credit,” Hepburn said.
With little business knowledge or knowledge of suppliers, the pair put their shoulders to the grindstone in September and set a target of a December 2012 opening to hopefully take advantage of Christmas shopping.
Since opening in December 2012, both Shervill and Hepburn said one of the nicest surprises was the reaction of the people that come into the store.
“The reaction has been very positive,” Hepburn said.
From the colour of the store to the lighting, the products the store carries and the consignment area, comments have been positive.
Although, Shervill said, another common comment leaves them wishing they had opened earlier.
“Many ask us why we weren’t here a year ago,” Shervill said.
In addition to the obvious financial benefits, Shervill said helping women find something to wear when they’re at probably the most uncomfortable stage is another reward the new business provide her.
“They’re not familiar with their own bodies and to be able to give them something to wear that makes them feel good, I think is really important.
“And it feels good for us,” Hepburn added.
When asked if the business relationship had put a strain on the mother-daughter relationship Shervill smiled.
“We work really well together,” Shervill said.
“I think this has actually probably made us even closer,” Hepburn said.