By Kate Watson
On September 17th, Hazelnut & Rose Nursing and Maternity Boutique will be turning two, and owner Genny Shaw has a lot to celebrate.
She has taken a winding path to business ownership, but there’s no doubt Shaw has ended up in the right place.
“I’m really lucky,” she says, as she looks around the spacious and airy interior of her Queen Street shop. “It fulfills me to help people, and here’s a place where I get to support happy, healthy pregnancies and a great start to parenthood.”
Shaw is an Ontario native who came east to attend Dalhousie after finishing a combined Bachelor of Science and Business at the University of Waterloo. At Dal, she completed a Masters in Business and another in Health Administration. She then went on to work at the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.
Taking time off after the birth of two daughters (Hazel and Rosalie) gave Shaw the opportunity to consider other career choices. An observation by a friend that there was a shortage of stores in Nova Scotia that offered stylish clothes that were easy to nurse a baby in got Shaw thinking, and it wasn’t long before she was writing a business plan for Hazelnut & Rose.
Her plan was to open up shop on the Dartmouth side of the harbour, and the perfect space opened up when the Bible Treasury Book Store closed its doors.
“The idea was to be within a few block of TIBS,” she explains, referring to the popular Two If By Sea Coffee Shop. “My husband Ryan and I took a walk on a February day in 2014 and came across the ‘50% off everything’ sign in the bible store.”
Shaw wasted no time signing the lease, and was open for business in September.
With no background in retail sales, she faced a steep learning curve. Clothes for September had to be ordered by May, so Shaw dove in, visiting Montreal and Toronto and making her orders from the runways there.
Being able to offer high-quality, stylish clothing to pregnant and nursing mothers is something Shaw feels really good about. “It can be a time where women feel vulnerable, and I think having clothing that you love, that fits your changing body, is a really positive thing.”
Shaw also uses the store to offer free classes and workshops where mothers and couples can find out more about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding and can connect with others going through similar experiences.
“Pregnancy and parenthood are times when it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
“I love that I can offer a welcoming environment that can help, in some small way, new parents enjoy those early days.”
Visit Hazelnut & Rose at 46 Queen Street, Dartmouth on Saturday, September 17 from 10am to 4pm for door prizes, treats and an epic sale.