A new name, new vibe for downtown Port shop

Owner of Moda Bella changes store name to Candid Form in effort to rebrand clothing shop
Ozaukee Press Staff

Port Washington’s Moda Bella Boutique took a new name Wednesday and kicked off its first week as Candid Form with a lineup of events and promotions.

Nikki Dudei, who has owned the shop since January 2020, said she always intended to rebrand the store but wanted to become familiar with the wants and needs of established customers before making the change.

“I had it in my mind all along that I wanted to rebrand and refresh the shop but it was really important to me to get to know my customers first,” she said. 

Dudei said she worked with local marketing strategist Scott Subach to devise the new name. She said Candid Form touches on her candid personality and fits the boutique’s mission of providing clothes that are comfortable and fashionable no matter the situation.

“We want you to be your best in candid form,” she said.

Those who frequented Moda Bella won’t notice much of a difference in Candid Form — the shop will still sell boutique clothing and accessories — but the rebrand will come with several changes.

Dudei said in addition to her usual offerings, she will also unveil a new selection of modest, high-quality swimwear.  She has also updated the store’s signage, painted the interior and created new shelving and displays.

To celebrate the rebrand, the store, at 215 N. Franklin St. will host a different event or promotion each day from Wednesday, April 20, to Sunday April 24.

On Wednesday, there will be free chair massages from Serenity Shores with discounts and free wellness items. On Thursday a new loyalty program will launch and swag bags will be given out hourly and on Friday Locally Inspired will supply free treats and dresses will be discounted. The new swimwear line will debut Saturday with promotional pricing on swimsuits and sunglasses, and on Sunday prizes will be given out for raffle drawings customers can enter all week.

Dudei said partnering with local businesses is an important aspect of her shop.

A Port resident of eight years, Dudei lives with her husband and their two children, one of whom is 6 and attends Dunwiddie Elementary School and the other who is just over 1.

A former environmental consultant, Dudei said she saw a chance to make something of her own when she heard former Moda Bella owner Michele Piechowski would be stepping away from the shop.

“I love small business ownership and the idea of owning a small business in downtown Port. I’ll do that,” she said.

About two months after purchasing the operation, two things would change: Dudei found out she was pregnant and the Covid-19 pandemic closed her store for about two months.

“It gave me a lot of downtime to bolster the online store and be more thoughtful about my brand and clothing selections,” Dudei said.

It was also during this time that Dudei made the boutique her own, without changing it so much that it would be unrecognizable to long-time customers.

She began purchasing size-inclusive clothing and carries extra small to extra large on many options, she increased the number of domestically made goods and boasts a shop of 50% to 70% USA-made items and she explored clothing options that are sustainable and eco-friendly.

“I know that’s important to me when I’m out shopping. If I can buy something that has a story or matches my values, I’m going to be much happier with my purchase,” she said.

To highlight her local and sustainable wares, Dudei said she is in the process of making “value menus” that group products based on their locality, sustainability and ethical production.

“It’s important for me, and I feel like it’s important for shoppers, to know the values of those they are shopping with,” she said.

Dudei said she looks forward to the rebranding week and encourages new and old customers alike to come out and see the new offerings.

“I just want people to come out, have fun and see what we’re all about,” she said.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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