If you regularly thumb through the pages of fashion and wedding magazines, you likely have seen some of the colorful umbrellas from the collection at Bella Umbrella in Ballard: Actress Kirsten Dunst can be seen in the pages of Harper's Bazaar magazine, strolling through a garden, shading herself with a vintage parasol from the shop. An umbrella from the store's collection was used in a recent Tommy Hilfiger ad in Vogue. And models regularly appear in bridal magazines, holding the colorful accents during glamorous photo shoots.
The umbrella rental and sales business started by chance. Owner Jodell Egbert, planning her own wedding, wanted some color and some cover for her guests in case of rain. She bought 75 vintage umbrellas from a collector and handed them out to guests. The palate of color created by the umbrellas offered a dramatic backdrop to her ceremony.
Egbert, who had worked as a floral designer, was hooked. She began to collect umbrellas and soon had about 100. She didn't want to sell her collection, but with her floral work in weddings, she recognized a potential market and began to rent the vintage parasols.
That was eight years ago. The business existed online until December, when she moved into the space on Northwest 70th Street.
Bella Umbrella thrives on its roots, renting umbrellas for weddings. But Egbert also sells her own line of elegant ladies' walking stick umbrellas. The Pagoda, a classic and durable umbrella designed by Egbert, embraces her beginning as a floral designer. A favorite of brides, the removable and interchangeable handle also doubles as a bouquet holder. kirstendunstforum.com