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Shop talk: Belladonna Day Spa



Located on a bustling stretch of Magazine Street, Belladonna Day Spa's (2900 Magazine St., 504-891-4393; serene ambience sharply contrasts the busy pace outside. Oversized aquariums, neutral decor and a lush bamboo garden lend the space a sense of calm. Open for more than 25 years, Belladonna has become a houseware, clothing and body product emporium in addition to a day spa.

  "Our spa is 13,000 square feet with about 3,500 of that being retail space," says owner Kim Dudek.

  Floor-to-ceiling shelves are chock full of fragrant soaps, body lotions, bath bombs and candles. Belladonna also sells makeup, hair and skin products from brands like Bumble and Bumble, Moroccan Oil and Murad, as well as its own line of body products, which Dudek plans to expand into skin care.

  Jewelry cases house delicate bracelets and earrings. Lingerie and pajamas also are for sale.

  "Over the years we've added to our lingerie collection to include more ready-to-wear clothing," Dudek says. "It's really comfortable leisure wear."

  Belladonna also offers a large selection of luxury bedding and housewares.

  "After [Hurricane] Katrina, everyone needed dishes and glassware so we started carrying a lot of that," Dudek says. "People had to replenish what they lost in the flood. Today we still sell those items because things break and need to be replaced."

  Born and raised in New York, Dudek moved to New Orleans when she began her career as an esthetician. That work led Dudek to open Belladonna in the 1980s. She quickly acquired a loyal following, though now she sticks to the management side. In addition to running Belladonna, Dudek also owns Belladoggie (a resort spa for dogs) and runs the nonprofit Dag's House.

  "Like all businesses, ours has changed," Dudek says. "We'll always be a spa, but we're now offering more dinnerware, cooking ware, and things for table tops. I'd love to get into cooking."

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