LAPLACE — With the nearest maternity boutique located an hour away in Baton Rouge, Katelyn Montalbano recently opened The Bump & Company LLC to help expectant mothers in the River Parishes and beyond look and feel their best.
Located at 1974 Ormond Blvd Suite F in Destrehan, the new business was a dream several years in the making.
Montalbano was six weeks along with her first son in December 2017 when she announced her pregnancy to her mother. The next day, they headed straight to Destination Maternity in Metairie, with her mother insisting she needed to be prepared for the morning she’d wake up and realize nothing fit. Luckily, the store had a fake belly that Montalbano was able to try on to gauge how clothing would fit further along in her pregnancy.
Destination Maternity had closed down by the time Montalbano was pregnant with her second baby less than two years later. The only options for maternity shopping were the limited selections at Walmart and Target. The clothing she was able to find didn’t match her style, and the big chain stores didn’t offer a fake belly to see how the clothes would fit.
Finding maternity clothing in big box stores has become even more difficult as fitting rooms have closed amid COVID-19 precautions.
“At that point, my mom and I talked about opening up a maternity store, but we didn’t do it. I had two babies under 2 years old, and there was a lot going on,” Montalbano said. “Then, during Hurricane Ida, we were sitting around with no electricity or water, and we decided to pull the plug and open a maternity store. We went ahead with our idea and within six weeks, we opened, and we’ve been doing well.”
The Bump & Company LLC offers maternity clothes to fit every occasion, from laid back leggings and T-shirts to stylish gowns for baby showers and photoshoots. Other products offered include hats, necklaces, candles, slippers, belly support bands, Mommy and me robes with matching swaddles, and PJ sets for maternity, postpartum and breastfeeding.
Of course, Montalbano made sure to stock the fitting room with a soft belly that velcros underneath the clothes. Whenever she hears giggling from behind the curtains, she knows a first-time mom is trying on the belly, giddy with excitement over what’s to come.
According to Montalbano, many of the shirts and dresses at The Bump & Company are not strictly maternity pieces.
“Around 85% of our items can be worn postpartum,” she said. “A big goal of mine is to have a lot that can be worn later on so people aren’t spending a lot of money on something that can only be worn for a few months.”
Th Bump & Company strives to maintain a reasonable price point, with a majority of clothing and accessories ranging from $20 to $60. In the first month of business, the most popular items have included sweater dresses, hoodies, ball caps and tie dye pajama sets.
Heading into 2022, Montalbano’s goal is to have a new item in the store each week. The Bump & Company will also be working with a nonprofit organization this year.
“We are working on getting people to donate their maternity photoshoot dresses. Once we get enough, we will put out a rack and sell them for $20. The money we make will be donated to a battered women’s shelter,” Montalbano said.
Since opening in late November, The Bump & Company has already gained a following of return customers. As a St. Charles Parish native, Montalbano is grateful for the support she’s seen from her community, as well as the surrounding region.
“This is my first small business. I’m getting a lot of support not just from St. Charles Parish, but from the River Parishes, Houma, Mandeville and Baton Rouge. I’m getting a variety of customers from all over, which is phenomenal,” she said, adding, “I am always open to suggestions on what people would like to see.”
Support has also come from outside of Louisiana. After posting a TikTok showcasing maternity wear, Montalbano woke up to online orders from 11 different states. It only took two days for the TikTok to surpass 240,000 views and 10.4K likes.
The Bump & Company LLC is open from noon to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The boutique is closed on Sunday and Monday.
For more information, follow The Bump & Company on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok or visit thebumpandcompany.com. Montalbano may also be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 504-401-1956.