March 23, 2008 — Chris Grob is banking on her own experience to make it as an entrepreneur.
Pregnant with son Ty four years ago, Grob says she wanted to look fashionable without paying the high cost for clothes that would have to be banished after nine months. After Ty was born and she watched him grow out of outfits in a matter of weeks, she knew that something had to give.
Enter IzaBellies, billed as St. Croix's newest place to shop for new and gently used, name brand, children's and maternity clothing and equipment from infant to size 12.
"I really think there is a need for it down here," Grob says of her consignment store where soon-to-be moms can shop for baby clothes, maternity wear and even furniture.
"There are no other stores here that offer this," she says.
Grob says that she makes sure merchandise on consignment are items that she herself would not hesitate to use.
"I try to stick with name brands. It needs to be something you would buy," she says. "I don't want it to be a flea market — no rips, no tears. I try to take all of the guesswork of it."
Grob offers brand names like Motherhood, Mimi and Baby Style with prices under $20 and sizes ranging from extra small to triple-X. Inside the Orange Grove store, formerly the Bingo Building, the racks devoted to children range from infant to 12. Many prices are under $10 and designer brands include Children's Place, Gymboree, Janie and Jack.
Grob says she wanted to offer merchandise that was different from what can be purchased locally.
"I wanted to give people a choice," Grob says. "Here, you have Kmart or very expensive boutiques, and who wants to pay a lot for kids' clothes, especially? They wear it for six months and grow out of it."
The store also features other tidbits that most moms couldn't do without like children's toys, books, baby monitors and baby bags.
Grob says that after giving birth, she debated being a stay-at-home mom but says that she wanted to do something more, and that the consignment store was an opportunity to do both.
"I had to make sure that I had time to pick him up from day care," Grob says of Ty.
Thus, after her husband Rob did his part in setting up clothing racks, lighting and other fixtures, she set out to come up with hours that would accommodate Ty.
As a result, the store is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. It is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
At IzaBellies, the consignment fee is split 60-40 with the store keeping 60 percent of the proceeds of whatever is sold.
Grob says that business could be better.
"It's been lukewarm," she says. "But that's because a lot of people don't know I'm here."
For now, she depends on word-of-mouth, but her website features most of her larger items, new stuff and more info.
"People can go on the web and look to see if I have something they want rather than coming down to the store," she says. The site lists items such as car seats, playpens or cribs that she may have on hand.
To reach IzaBellies (a play on the name of Grob's niece Izabelle), call (340) 690-6599.
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