When I first started, I was making jewelry, and I thought the space I rented in Salem would be my studio. Then I decided I really wanted a store. I love clothes and jewelry, and I love being around women who come in looking for something to make them feel pretty. [Opening a store] wasn’t my original intention, but it completely organically happened and I followed it.
What do you hope that your customers take away from their experience with you?
We do way more than sell dresses. We give women confidence and help them try on things outside of their comfort zone. I had a lady whose husband sent her with his credit card because he loved the way she looked when she went home. We are so hard on ourselves, and we need to be nice to ourselves and kind.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Iris Apfel (fair to say, she is also one of our biggest inspirations) and Magnolia Pearl
Do you have a favorite quote that guides you in your role as a business owner?
“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” Minor Myers
What is your favorite up incoming style?
I love layering up lacy summer pieces, or dressing them up with clothes for colder weather! For example, adding a cozy sweater and a funky pair of boots. I love vintage hats too!
At Bella, we are lucky to work in close proximity with some amazing artists in our community, like Clara Heaton. Clara is a prolific painter in her own right, but she also does a lot to support other artists in Roanoke and the surrounding counties. She recently completed her BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in painting at Radford University. Through a strong mentorship with one of her professors, Dr. Halide Salam, and a passion for creativity, Clara is emerging with grace and tenacity into Roanoke’s flourishing arts community.
The passion in Clara’s paintings speaks volumes. It is a beautiful abstract culmination of her thoughts, how she interprets the beauty of her own personal experiences, and ultimately the world around her.
After becoming Salam’s personal assistant, Clara saw her work for the first time. She immediately noticed connections in their work. Shortly thereafter, she also began a friendship with one of Salam’s graduate mentees, Kevin Kwon.
“Before I met Kevin, we were in a juried show together. One of my pieces was placed next to Kevin’s, and my dad pulled me aside and showed it to me,” Clara explains. “My work was very linear, and Kevin’s was incredibly organic.”
Both pieces were the start of something new for them as artists. Kevin and Clara were fascinated that, without having ever met one another, their two bodies of work had the exact same color scheme and such a cohesive presence in the room.
Months later, Kevin asked her if she would like to do a show together and Clara immediately said yes. She also suggested the include their mentor, Salam.
As serendipitous as this all may appear, the truth is, Clara’s dedication, courage, and love for art propels her forward as she pursues these opportunities.
“The cool thing about art and artists is that you cannot become a powerful artist by relying on your talent,” says Clara. “You have to start dedicating hard work to it. You have to say, ‘I’m going to set time aside for this.’ If you can’t get over your ego, then you won’t ever grow.”
Opening night for “A Sense of Place,” in which Clara, Kevin, and Salam will showcase their work, will take place in the Aurora Lightwell Gallery on September 2 at 5 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Together, the three artists from three different cultural backgrounds and levels of academic training, will respond to the feelings and perception of places unique to themselves through the discipline and practice of painting.
Visitors can also tour the gallery and view their work on weekdays from 10 am to 5 pm until September 30. For more information, visit www.aurorastudiocenter.com.
September is here! As the weather starts to get cooler and we celebrate the upcoming autumn season with EVERYTHING pumpkin, we want to introduce you to our new favorite beer: Jack-O Traveler Pumpkin Shandy.
Perfect for enjoying at one of the last campfires of the season, a Halloween party, or while relaxing on your back porch– this delicious dark-hued, shandy-inspired beer will truly take you by surprise. Brewed with fresh pumpkin, the flavor of the alluring wheat beer leaves a remarkable impression and has us ready to enjoy everything fall has to offer.
Locally, you can find Jack-O Traveler Pumpkin Shandy at Kroger or The Fresh Market. Visit the Traveler Beer Company website for more information on products they offer and where you can find them.