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Vital Stats: Wendy Bellissimo, 37, founder and designer of Wendy Bellissimo Media Inc.
Company: Los Angeles-based nursery designer; has upscale infant bedding and accessories lines Wendy Bellissimo and moderately priced Wendy Bee
2004 Projected Sales: $3 million
Sampled Goods: When the owners of the home store Bellissimo worked for told her to discard some sample fabrics, she thought they were gorgeous and kept them. But she didn't touch them until a few months later when the store closed down. Pairing the samples with complementary fabrics, Bellissimo created 30 pillows, 29 of which she sold to the very first of the posh Montana Avenue shops she entered in Santa Monica, California. Eventually, the adult collection made it into retail stores including Macy's and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Baby Love: Her popular infant line began when Bellissimo purchased a few rolls of infant/children's fabric on a whim and began mixing the fabrics with some from the adult collection before a trade show. "Because I had never had babies myself and had never looked into the baby and kids market, I was truly designing from my heart," says Wendy. Her trade show booth became flooded with people interested in the newest creations.
Tailor-Made: A highly sought-after nursery
"My love for what I did with my adult line came through naturally into the baby and kids thing."
designer, Bellissimo adds personal touches of what parents love, sometimes expressing their passions or hobbies. Designing actress Catherine Bell's nursery, Bellissimo commissioned a mural of a Tuscan countryside with a Ducati motorcycle rider, since the parents-to-be were enthusiasts who had visited Italy's Ducati racetrack. Now a parent of three, Bellissimo's designs have evolved. "I know now what works with not just beauty, but function."
Booked: Branching out, Bellissimo has published Nesting: Lifestyle Inspirations for Your Growing Family. The book includes a DVD and covers everything from design tips to baby showers. Licensing the Wendy Bellissimo name for every category of her infant line, she'll also be returning to work on the adult line soon.