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Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023

Hunt for Maternity Clothes Gives Birth to Business

April Lawrence didn’t want to compromise her budget or style just because she was pregnant.

But she found herself limited to either spending several hundred dollars on high-end maternity clothing or digging through a poor selection at her local thrift store.

So Lawrence, a production supervisor at DreamWorks Animation, decided to open her own store: Mama San Boutique, a maternity resale shop, which opened last month in Burbank.

“When I was pregnant, I found there was no resource like this for women but tons of them for kids,” Lawrence said. “I wanted to do this because maternity clothes are so expensive and women don’t want to break the bank for something they’re only going to wear for a short time.”

She said the roughly 1,000-square-foot store on West Verdugo Avenue carries everything from maternity clothing to nursing pillows, books and even tea to help with morning sickness.

Most of the clothes are purchased from mothers who sell their clothes to the store for cash. Lawrence said she only accepts items that are in excellent condition.

She also said it was important to open the business as a retail store so mothers could have the opportunity to try clothing on.

“We actually have a lot of women come in selling their stuff saying, ‘Why wasn’t this open when I was pregnant?’” Lawrence said.

She still works at DreamWorks and has hired full-time staff to run the store.

Now that the shop is up and running, she said her next goal is to expand and make it a resource for families.

“I’m currently in the process of trying to get some classes and events going,” she said. “For example, for Father’s Day we’re going to do a family-themed comedy night and I’d also like to do mommy-and-me classes and yoga.”

Soup’s On

Heard of juice cleanses? Those bottles upon bottles of different juices meant to be consumed in place of meals over the course of several days?

Angela Blatteis and Vivienne Vella Hochman had tried a few and found themselves left feeling hungry and jittery. So they created an alternative and founded Soupure, a soup company that makes hot and cold soups and soup cleanse. The business started out online but recently opened a Brentwood storefront, its first brick-and-mortar location.

Blatteis said the company had been planning for a year to open up a retail shop.

“We always wanted to have a location and be kind of like a human vending machine,” she said.

The tiny shop is a kiosk at the Brentwood Town Center on San Vicente Boulevard and features custom-designed refrigerators that store soups such as spicy asparagus leek and pumpkin miso. It also carries bone broths and tonics including pear yuzu water and pineapple cucumber water. Soups cost $10 to $12 for a pint. Cleanses go for $79 for one day and $375 for five days.

Blatteis said she and Vella Hochman wanted to offer soup and soup cleanses instead of jumping on the popular juicing trend because soups offer more fiber and protein. Plus, they weren’t satisfied with soups offered at restaurants, as many of them were loaded with cream.

Though Soupure is less than a year old and the Brentwood location has only been open for a few weeks, the co-founders say they are considering additional locations in Malibu and Venice.

Revolving Doors

Mediterranean Cuisine Operating Co. of Pleasant Hill will be opening its new fast-casual concept, Yalla Mediterranean, this summer in Burbank and Culver City. … Azusa jeweler Robbins Brothers opened a location in Scottsdale, Ariz., last week. … San Francisco plant-based restaurant Café Gratitude will be opening its first upscale dining concept, Gratitude, in Newport Beach later this year, to be paired with an adjacent Gratitude To-Go outpost. … New York restaurant Sweetgreen will be opening a West Coast flagship in West Hollywood next week and a second location in Santa Monica this summer. … West Hollywood multilevel dining concept E.P. Asian Eating House & L.P. Rooftop will be opening next week. … Pasadena gourmet hot-dog restaurant Dog Haus opened its first out-of-state location, in Centennial, Colo., this month. … Grab-and-go restaurant Pure by Michele La Porta opened in Beverly Hills last week. … 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria has partnered with Gulf Cooperation Council’s Eaters to open a minimum of 12 locations across the Persian Gulf region, with five outlets schedule to open in Dubai by December. … Special event and floral company Luna Gardens Events will be opening up flower boutique Luna Gardens in Westlake Village next month. … Brentwood yoga brand YogaSmoga will be opening a second store, in Beverly Hills, next month.

Staff reporter Subrina Hudson can be reached at shudson@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 251.


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