Christina DiDonato

Bella Boutique

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get to where you are now?

As a resident of New Jersey for over 15 years, I have checked my Long Island roots at the door of the beautiful Garden State. I began working in fashion retail when I was 16 and never left the industry. I climbed my way up from sales associate to manager, to buyer, to now store owner. As a teenager, it wasn't the clothing that initially attracted me to the job, but rather the relationships with people. I loved serving others and developing close friendships with customers. I developed my own fashion sense and learned to buy and manage, but my people skills were innate, and that's why I excelled in the business. Now owning Bella Boutique, I get to fully utilize my skill set and experience in a very rewarding way - and I always put the relationship first.

What do you like most about working in Princeton?

Princeton is an especially beautiful enigma. I have worked in the 08540 for about 12 years and wouldn't ever consider leaving. A gorgeous, historic town, filled with educated, friendly and conscientious people. We take pride in ourselves and are loyal to our members. Never have I witnessed another community so committed to supporting their own small businesses and fostering growth from within. It's a rare and unique trait of this town, and one that I am extremely grateful for.

What is it that makes your business unique? 

My business is unique in the personal service that I strive to provide to every single one of my customers. My goal is to inspire the personal styles of others, with an expert blend of trend and function. I aim to be a happy place: YOUR happy place. At Bella, you are greeted by name and can always find something to make your day. I am not only here to skillfully dress you from head to toe, but also to hear about your life, offer advice, and ultimately just be your friend.

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment so far? 

My biggest accomplishment is the influence I am honored to provide in the lives of others, even in the smallest way. Sometimes it's the much-needed retail therapy after a stressful event at work or a long day with the kids. Other times it's choosing the right fit on someone struggling with their body and making them feel beautiful and encouraged. When I can make someone's day or mood just a little bit better, I feel accomplished.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career? 

My husband is the biggest influence on my career at Bella Boutique. When I was hesitant and fearful to take on the risk of starting a new business, he encouraged me. He believed in me and nudged me in the direction of my dream. Without his love, confidence and support, I would not be where I am today.

How else are you involved in the community beyond Bella Boutique? 

I have hosted events benefiting the American Breast Cancer Society and also Dress for Success of Mercer County. Both are worthy causes that I am passionate about and will continue to support in the future.