Fairhaven’s new Bella Rose Boutique is owned by Kimberly Hoctor, a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur who has started multiple small businesses. One of her more successful endeavors is the consignment shop Posh Upscale Resale. After beginning online more than a decade ago, the shop expanded to a brick-and-mortar in Coupeville and eventually moved to Bellingham.
The consignment shop’s retail store was required to close during the pandemic, and even after its reopening, business was slower than usual because more customers buy online. However, Hoctor did not let this obstacle slow her down. Instead of closing up shop, she kept Posh open and started Bella Rose Boutique in 2020.
“I had to do a lot of soul searching to open another business, especially when my other one is struggling,” Hoctor says. “I wrote out a business plan for the first time ever. I really dug deep and did a lot of research on it and made sure that this would be a sustainable thing.”
The result is admirable: A bath and body boutique near the Fairhaven Village Inn that carries products such as bath bombs and salts, diffusers, lotions, soaps, candles, and more. The idea came from Hoctor’s experience during lockdown when she realized that self-care routines boosted her mood during a universally scary time.
“I actually did a lot of research and found that self-care is the number one thing that’s going on right now. People are more attuned to, ‘How do I take care of myself?’” Hoctor says.
After learning about the growing wholesale market for bath bombs and salts, Hoctor sought out small businesses specializing in bath and beauty products to offer in her new store.
“I wanted to have a mission where a majority of businesses that are brought in are women-owned businesses,” Hoctor says. “I really believe that women work our asses off and we don’t get enough credit for the things that we do… We’re in a time frame where women really need to support each other and not put each other down, but lift each other up.”
Almost all products at Bella Rose are made in the United States, and many are even from the Pacific Northwest. Hoctor makes sure that the businesses she chooses don’t use harsh chemicals, and she also prioritizes vendors who donate proceeds to great causes. One example is the Mississippi-based company Musee, a woman-owned business that aims to hire women in recovery, women who were previously in domestic violence partnerships, previously incarcerated women, sexual assault survivors, people with disabilities, and people who have lived in chronic poverty.
“I think it’s all about helping a small business and helping your community, too,” Hoctor says. “It’s just about giving back, and I think it’s karma. You give back and eventually you’ll get back.”
The store opened in April of 2021, around the time that state mandates started lifting. Hoctor and her employees are dedicated to limiting contact by keeping samples and testers behind the counter. However, customers are welcome — and encouraged — to smell the colorful products throughout the store. Those who don’t live in the area can visit the Bella Rose website and order online.
1134 10th St., Bellingham, 360.746.8163, luvbellarose.com