Nestled amid the trendy women’s clothing stores and boutiques on Oxford’s historic Square is a little shop catering to the littlest of Oxford residents. Belles & Beaus offers clothing, accessories, and toys for preemies to tweens.
Cathy Lowe, owner of Belles & Beaus and Tummies Maternity in Oxford, claims everything just fell into place when she found out she was pregnant with her third child three years ago. Her mother had recently retired as accountant to help Lowe with her then newborn (now her middle child). Lowe decided to stop teaching in order to be a full-time mom.
After attending a retail market convention together and realizing there was still a need for quality children’s clothing and accessories in Oxford, Lowe and her mother decided to dive into retail together. That’s when the stars aligned, Lowe’s monogramming hobby, and a suggestion from a friend turned into a retail store front just off the Oxford Square.
“I’m blessed 100 times over,” Lowe said. “I couldn’t imagine going back to teaching. I get to spend so much more time with my kids now.”
Traditional children’s fashions and garments suitable for monograming is a sales market that has resurfaced in recent years. Belles & Beaus also offers the trendier options in great demand around the country.
“We’ve been constantly learning, not only what people want, but what they love,” Lowe said. “At market, I have to step away from looking for only what I would dress my children in and provide something for everyone.”
While most of the children’s clothing stores in the Oxford area offer many of the same brands for infants, Lowe said Belles & Beaus tries to carry merchandise that competitors may not carry for older children (up to size 16).
Lowe said a year after opening Belles & Beaus, she noticed that the only maternity clothing store in town had shut its doors. She instantly saw a niche to expand her business.
Lowe opened Tummies Maternity right next door to Belles & Beaus to provide mothers and mothers-to-be a one-stop shop for everything they need could possibly need.
Tummies Maternity offers clothing specifically for expectant mothers, diaper bags, and gadgets of all sorts for new moms and newborns.
Belles & Beaus is located at 1005 Van Buren Avenue and Tummies Maternity is next door at 1003 Van Buren, across the street from South Depot Taco Shop. Both stores are open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Story and Photos by Kate Sinervo. Kate is Associate Editor of Hottytoddy.com. She can be contacted at Kate.Sinervo@Hottytoddy.com