The Herald Bulletin

April 13, 2013

Business Profile: Boutique brings high fashion to Alexandria

By Baylee Pulliam
The Herald Bulletin

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — Name of business: Bella Ava Studio & Designs

Location: 301 N. Harrison Street, Alexandria

Owner: Beth Cannell

Opened: September 2012

Hours: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

Employees: Jon and Angela Salmon, Sicily Ashton, Matt Carver

Services: Fashion wear ranging from daily to semi-formal, high-end denim and accessories

In the owners’ words: For Bella Ava Studio & Designs, all the world’s a cat walk.

And owner Beth Cannell, along with daughter and team member Angela Salmon, were the original models, showcasing their custom-made jewelry while out and about in Alexandria.

The handmade pieces drew more than a few compliments. Sometimes, the women even sold some “straight off their bodies,” Angie said. Others asked for custom pieces to give away as gifts.

Thus, a star was born — or in this case, a fashion boutique, 301 N. Harrison Street, in Alexandria, which sells high-end denim, clothing and accessories

ranging from daily wear to semi-formal.

The whole thing happened by accident, Angie said. When the Cannells’ excavating business in Alexandria became increasingly seasonal, they began making art and jewelry to occupy their time, and later introduced the Salmons — Angie and husband Jon — to the “fun, new way to by-pass the long winter days,” Angie said.

Noticing the popularity of their jewelry, they began selling at trade shows, which eventually led to a business operating mostly out of the Cannells’ home.

Then, one day, “My mom (Beth) came into the living room and said, out loud, ‘I want our own store-I want a boutique,’” Angie said.

And she wanted to open it in her hometown, in Alexandria, which they did in September of last year.

Now, mother-daughter team Beth and Angie travel to fashion capitols — such as Chicago, Las Vegas and New York — searching for high-end brands, shopping and putting together outfits, which they bring back to their boutique.

“We want to provide merchandise to the community that they normally would not have the opportunity to buy in our area-we want to give them the experience,” Angie said. “Of course, we are a business, and money-making is a forethought, but we are also here, trying our hardest, and helping in any way we can, and if a boutique in Alexandria is where we start, then that is what we will do.”

But while Bella Ava started out as a hobby, a way to busy idle hands, customers — and Angie — think fashion might run in the family. And it’s something that just can’t be taught.

“Fashion reveals who we are without having to even say a word,” she said. “It is a mere form of artistic expression & the body is a canvas. The clothes, accessories, hair and make-up-are all chosen of a means to display one’s own identity through their artistic approach each and every day.”