This week, we chat with Nicole and Ilana from Belly Art to learn more about their unique business as well as life outside work. Read on to find out more!
The Tinitrader team have always admired Belly Art and their clever baby memento products. The Belly Art range of modern keepsakes provide Mums with a unique way to capture important milestones through pregnancy to a baby’s early years.
The Belly Art product range is definitely vast. The range includes belly casting kits which can be decorated or personalised in the Belly Art studio to DIY inkless print kits recording baby foot and hand prints permanently.
We were delighted to learn more about the Belly Art story.
The Belly Art concept is definitely unique and one the Tinitrader loves! How did you come up with the idea to start Belly Art?
Belly Art kind of just happened. What began as friends having fun creating plaster belly cast keepsakes of their expanding pregnant bellies, literally grew into a word of mouth business. Friends asked for their belly’s to be cast and then friends of friends and before they knew what was happening, And so, Belly Art was born.!
From that point back in 2002, the company has evolved into the market leader for modern baby keepsake products, DIY Kits and in-house studio casting services.
What is your background? Have you always been interested in art and design?
Nicole has a Degree in Business and worked for global IT companies as an Office Administrator for ten years. Ilana has a Fine Arts Degree and was a Primary and Secondary School Art Teacher prior to taking maternity leave and eventually starting Belly Art together.
From belly casting, how and why did you move into retail DIY Keepsake Kits?
The belly casting and framed baby hand and feet sculptures side of the business grew really fast! We started to receive numerous calls from expectant and new parents from interstate and regional areas that couldn’t logistically make it into the studio. We started to look at the market and realised there were big gaps for quality modern keepsake products, especially in regards to easy to use DIY kits.
We did our homework and designed a range of DIY Keepsake Kits that were bright, bold, safe and easy to use. The packs are modern, rather than the usual traditional style of keepsakes. The range took off and retailers loved them. We then worked on incorporating Inkless Print technology which is used in maternity hospitals across the U.S.A for identification purposes into our range. Belly Art is now the exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand.
Today, our range consists of over 15 keepsake products which are available nationwide and internationally, while still providing studio services. Giving all parents the opportunity to create life lasting keepsakes of their baby’s entry and earliest years to cherish inspires us to keep expanding our product lines.
What does a typical weekday involve for the Belly Art team?
Typically Nicole attends to the retail and administrative side of managing the business while Ilana runs and manages the studio and belly and sculpture castings as well as the print gifts. There is always a steady stream of clients popping in and out for appointments or to buy one of the DIY Keepsake products.
What have been the highlights of running Belly Art to date?
Not much has really changed from the very beginning, Nicole and Ilana are hands on across all areas of the business, they are the sole owners and operators and every success to date in the business has literally been born through hard work, passion and the dedication to the people that purchase Belly Art products or book studio services. Recognition of the hard work of two Mum’s juggling a busy business and a growing family keeps their feet on the ground and inspires them to provide the best products on the keepsake market that they possibly can.
In 2013 Belly Art was recognised as a finalist in the Telstra Australian Business Awards. In 2014, Belly Art’s DIY flagship product, the Baby Inkless Print Kit won the Children’s category Gift & Life Instyle Award. So far this year Belly Art was announced as a Top 3 Winner at the Tchibo Pitchfest in Sydney and an Australian Small Business Champions Award Finalist in April.
We know you have lots of exciting things planned for Belly Art. What can we look forward to seeing next?
We are thrilled that Tinitrader is among the very first to know about our latest product launch, the My First Year Inkless Print Kit, which is an extension on our award-winning Baby Inkless Print Kit.
This particular kit allows parents to record baby’s first year milestones and growth from birth and at four different stages of baby’s first year and comes fully complete in a beautiful keepsake tin.
This product is designed as the perfect gift for parents-to-be whether for the first time or fifth time! We are really excited about it.