NEW ALBANY - Whether in clothing or furniture, Rebecca Dewbery has an eye for what is beautiful, and Bellissimo Boutique showcases her taste in fashion for women of all ages and sizes.
“My sense of style is eclectic, and, at Bellissimo, which, of course, means, very beautiful, I try to carry beautiful clothing and accessories for women, whether they’re 15 or 80, extra-small or curvy,” said Dewberry, looking out the front window of her shop, at a cloudy, misting morning in downtown New Albany.
“Real women have curves, as the saying goes, right?” Dewberry said, noting that, when she finds something she likes, she always buys in a range of sizes.
The ceiling of the rectangular, hall-like space that housed Dewberry’s shop was decorated with cream-colored molding, like a wedding cake. Prints of Life Magazine covers from the 1950s hung on the walls, a nod to Dewberry’s affinity for old movies.
“I think this used to be a jewelry store, or a bank,” Dewberry said, pointing upward.
The front door swung open, letting in a rush of cool, moist air from Bankhead Street. Amy Andrews came in, looking for a tube of her favorite, hard-to-find LipSense lipstick. The women chatted, as Dewberry pointed out some new clothing selections.
“Rebecca has stylish things for those of us who aren’t teenagers,” Andrews said, with a sly smile.
A pretty, lightweight, floral-print blouse by Jess N Jane caught Andrews’ eye. “These are so nice and breathable, great for spring,” said Dewberry, as Andrews strolled over to a rack with similar blouses and knits from Multiples.
Flowing, loose-fitting tunics and delicate, silken kimonos hung beside cozy cardigans, and accentuating vests, garments that help create the layered look, as Dewberry described it.
A display of sandals and slides by Qupid, and Pierre Dumas held the center of the showroom floor, and, a few feet away, a rack of rather attractive, high-end-looking garments, labeled with prices from $5 to $15.
It was Dewberry’s day off from her other job, selling furniture at Room-To-Room in Tupelo. Dewberry’s early experience in retail was as an interior designer, but her fondness for clothing and fashion, coupled with life’s circumstances, influenced her to try her hand in the boutique business, she said.
Dewberry’s auspicious entre into retail started almost a decade ago, with an antique booth she operated with her in-laws in Eupora.
“We did so well that we ended up renting the building the market was in, and we ran out of space there, too,” said Dewberry, smiling.
Dewberry and company did well over the next couple of years, but living in New Albany and driving every day to Eupora eventually became tiresome, she said, especially when she and her husband started a family. So, Dewberry decided to try an online clothing business.
Bellissimo’s online start was a breakout success, Dewberry said, and her cyber store is still going strong, at bellissimoboutique.net.
Dewberry opened the brick-and-mortar location in downtown in January 2013.
As the drizzle picked up, Demetra Carney came in, just to browse.
“I’ve heard downtown New Albany was really cute, so I figured I’d check it out,” said Carney, a Tupelo resident, as she looked over a stylish line of purses, called Squared, by designer Sondra Roberts.
Dewberry arranged a rack of embroidered tops and sheen, summer dresses, by Los Angeles-based Umgee, a popular brand among young women and teenagers, she said.
Ashely Wilburn came in looking for Easter clothes for her three children.
“I love the uniqueness of this shop,” said Wilburn, an Ashland resident. “It’s very boutique, if you understand what I mean. When you buy here, you know that not everybody is going to be wearing the same thing as you,” she said, with a good-natured laugh.”
Brandi Patton, a friend of Dewberry’s and fellow member of the Junior Auxiliary, opened the door, turned to shake beads of water off her umbrella, then laid it beside the counter.
She looked over a rack of T-shirts and lightweight tops near the entrance, sliding the hangers along the aluminum tubing and pausing to examine each one.
“Rebecca carries a lot of different lines,” said Patton, working her way through the blouses. “She adds a lot to the downtown business community, and it’s nice that I don’t have to go far away, out of town, to find nice, unique things like this.”
Lipstick in hand, Andrews was wrapping up her shopping.
“The first time I came in here, I was just looking for lipstick, and I wound up spending about $200,” Andrews said, smiling at Dewberry. “I just like that she has something for everyone. I like that she has jewelry, too. She’s just nice and friendly, and I enjoy the experience.”