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A different approach to nurseries

'Beautiful Bebe Boutique' offers custom crib sets, infant clothing in store


When Shelley Martin’s daughter started teething, she searched for a cover of some sort to protect both her daughter’s newly forming teeth and her crib.by: GARY ALLEN - New business - Beautiful Bebe Boutique is now open on First Street. Owner Shelley Martin started the business in her home to make some extra cash, but after rapid growth, she's opened a storefront downtown.

“I didn’t know what they had out there. I had a friend that had an Etsy shop and I was snooping when on there I found something and thought, ‘OK, I sewed when I was 15, let’s see if I can remember my skills,’” Martin said. “I went and bought a sewing machine, made one and thought, `Hey, I can make some bedding and make some extra money.’”

Until last month, Martin worked in the engineering department at A-dec Inc., but her side business quickly took over and she has since shifted to running Beautiful Bebe Designs full-time.

“I’ve always wanted to open a baby boutique but it just hadn’t been the right time, until I saw the space available,” she said. Beautiful Bebe Boutique opened June 6 at 510 E. First St., replacing Jenteal Soaps. “I don’t think I could’ve moved or would have moved so soon otherwise (if she didn’t find the First Street space). The space is perfect for me.”

The shop is divided into three distinct spaces. The front displays baby clothes and accessories, ranging in age from newborn to 14 months. The second room is for production of Martin’s custom crib bedding sets. The final space holds a photography studio operated by Nicole Thrasher’s LaVoie Photography.

It’s been just more than 18 months since Martin started her Etsy shop, and since then she’s sold more than 500 custom crib sets to customers all over the world.

“Australia is my biggest customer internationally. I get a lot of UK, the farthest were some in Singapore, Ireland, Turkey,” she said. “If I had to think about international versus domestic, it’s probably 30 to 40 percent international. Etsy is a great outlet for that kind of stuff.”

In her Newberg shop, customers can sit down with Martin and customize every element of the crib set, from the piping, to the sheet, to the bed skirt.

“No boutiques that I have found in Portland offer custom bedding,” she said. “I guess that’s what makes me different.”

Seamstress Kelly Morales said she wished something like this existed when she had her first child. When she had the option with her most recent child, she didn’t know where to start.

“It was so overwhelming, but fun,” Morales said. “She gave me a choice, I was like what do you mean just go and choose fabric? When I walked into Babies “R” Us they have these mock squares set up, so you’re like oh, okay, well these are my choices. I guess I like that one so my baby and everybody else’s baby will have that one. You want something unique and fun for your baby and that’s why I think this is so cool.”

In addition to shelves filled with orders waiting to be completed, Martin’s work has been so popular she’s been featured in the past three issues of Vogue.

“It’s really exciting,” she said.

Beautiful Bebe Boutique is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit her website at www.beautifulbebedesigns.com.



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