When baby is worth a million bucks

Bel Bambini, children's shop in Costa Mesa, does "upscale" well.

June 14, 2013|By Annie Kim
  • Chelsea Fisher, of Huntington Beach, accompanied by her 18-month-old son Derenger, looks for a gift as she shops at Bel Bambini for her friend's baby on Thursday.
Chelsea Fisher, of Huntington Beach, accompanied by… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

A wide range of luxury vehicles featuring limited edition interiors, all-wheel independent suspension systems and peek-a-boo windows are on display at "Stroller Park" in Bel Bambini, a Costa Mesa baby boutique.

Inside the store, more than 20 strollers with a multitude of functions surround an artificial grass lot, allowing parents to test out the buggies on different terrains.

Bel Bambini, including the West Hollywood flagship store, which is frequented by celebrity moms with paparazzi in tow, is the brainchild of owner Kristina Lin, of Irvine.

"I'm an Orange County girl," said Lin, who believes living in area more than makes up for the daily commute to Los Angeles. "Our whole family is here and it's kid-friendly. It's worth it."

Lin decided to open Bel Bambini, or "Beautiful Baby," when she was pregnant with twins and having a hard time finding nursery items that were both functional and stylish, she said.


"You could find things at Target and Babies R Us and luxury items in boutiques but not all under the same roof," Lin said. "I saw a void in the market."

Today, employees are required to sign confidentiality agreements to protect the identities of celebrities like Jessica Alba, Halle Berry and the Kardashian sisters, who have been spotted shopping at the store.

Adele was seen leaving the West Hollywood shop surrounded by paparazzi earlier this year, and an episode of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" was recently shot at the Costa Mesa location, on Newport Boulevard.


Sister store

Lin opened the Costa Mesa store in 2011 after numerous requests by clients and fans requesting an Orange County location and handed over the managerial reins to her sister Loann Tran, who serves as general manager.

"It's personally rewarding for me to help somebody during such a beautiful part of their lives," said Tran, of Tustin Ranch. "We become part of the families … like aunties."

The 10,000-square-foot location includes nearly a dozen mini-nursery vignettes complete with different themes likely to appeal to the modern, traditional, gender-neutral, minimalist or eco-friendly parent.

"Sometimes our customers will come in and say, 'I want it exactly like this,'" Bel Bambini sales manager Sarah Getchell said, pointing to the walls and floors of the nautically themed nursery.


Floor plan

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