‘2 Chix’ solve fashion woes for blooming bellies

2 women take the advice of friendsto start business


Staff Writer

Businesswomen Natasha Koudsi (l) and Amy Block hold up a few of their maternity T-shirt designs with slogans “What’s kickin’ ” and “Season’s breedings.” At left, a pregnant model shows off one popular 2 chix shirt. Businesswomen Natasha Koudsi (l) and Amy Block hold up a few of their maternity T-shirt designs with slogans “What’s kickin’ ” and “Season’s breedings.” At left, a pregnant model shows off one popular 2 chix shirt. ROOSEVELT — What do you get when you combine greeting cards with maternity wear?

2 chix.com

Roosevelt resident Amy Block and business partner Natasha Koudsi have formed a clothing company that stemmed from the slogans they used on their successful, but low-profit greeting card business.

Block has deep roots in Roosevelt. Her grandparents moved to the small western Monmouth community when it was still called Jersey Home-steads in the late 1930s. Her father and his siblings grew up in town and then raised their children there. Block attended the Roosevelt Public School, along with five of her first cousins. Her niece and nephew, who are fourth-generation Roos-eveltians, according to Block, also attend the school.

Block now finds herself living in Los Angeles with her husband, and with a brand-new Web-based business with Koudsi called 2 chix, selling trendy maternity wear.

“Our line has already been picked up by maternity boutiques and specialty stores across the country,” Block said. “Acad-emy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino and television actress Cynthia Daniel are two of the celebrities that are currently flaunting 2 chix wear.”

Although she is establishing roots in Los Angeles, her connection to Roosevelt is still strong.

“My parents still live in the house where I grew up, and my brother lives five houses down. Two sets of my aunts and uncles still reside in Roosevelt, along with one of my first cousins and his children. As you can see, Roosevelt and I have a huge history,” Block said.

How Block happened to wind up in L.A. is not that unusual. She went out west to attend Arizona State University and graduated with a B.S. in marketing. And since Los Angeles was only a one-hour flight away from Phoenix, she did some informational interviewing in L.A.

“I had no intention of moving to Los Angeles after graduation. I had planned on going back east and getting a job in New York City,” Block said. “However, as it turns out, I was offered a job at one of the largest and most well-respected advertising agencies in the country, Chiat/Day (now TBWA/Chiat/Day).

“It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Block said. “With a promise to myself that I would only stay six months, I drove through the desert to a place where I would spend the next 11 years.”

Los Angeles, with its near-perfect weather and beautiful beaches, grabbed hold of her and so did her job in advertising.

“I loved the creative process and I loved marketing; however, I loathed my job because I wasn’t a part of the creative process at all,” Block said. “I was inducted into the

media department where my job was to buy air, space and time.”

Block said she felt a bit disillusioned and was considering a move back East when a friend at the agency, who happened to be a creative director, cast her in a commercial.

“I was hooked,” Block said. “I had been bitten by the acting bug, and I was completely rejuvenated. I loved acting. It provided me with a wonderful, creative outlet and allowed me to utilize my marketing abilities because every day I was out there marketing, and the product was me.”

She landed an agent almost immediately and started booking small acting jobs on television and in music videos. Before long, she had quit her advertising job to pursue acting full time. A few more co-starring roles on TV and small parts in film would follow, and then auditions would start to become fewer and far between.

“I needed something else,” she said. “Something to keep me from going crazy in between acting gigs and waiting for the phone to ring.”

Around that time, her boyfriend of five years “popped the question,” and she began to plan her wedding. One of Block’s closest actress friends, who would later become a cousin through marriage, began to plan her own wedding.

“We decided to do everything ourselves — from creating engagement announcements, to making wedding invitations, to designing bridal giveaways,” Block said.

Friends and family members loved their ideas so much that they encouraged them to start a handmade greeting card company, and 2 chix was born.

“Our slogan back then was ‘greetings without the blah, blah, blah.’ We used clever sayings with simple but unique graphics, and our cards became a major hit among the people in our little circles,” Block said.

The greeting cards were carried in three small boutiques in L.A., she said, but they weren’t making any money.

“It took us so much time to produce the cards, that we ended up making little profit in the end,” she said.

As their wedding dates drew near, a few of their respective bridesmaids had become pregnant. During several outings to find bridesmaid dresses, their pregnant friends would constantly talk about the difficulty in finding hip, trendy, casual maternity wear. One of them suggested that the two women take their ideas from the greeting cards and screen print them on T-shirts that would be specially made for pregnant woman.

“Ta da,” Block said, explaining that they found out no one else was doing that. They did some research on the maternity clothes market, as well as on the process of manufacturing garments, and decided to bring the idea to fruition.

The simple and softly colored tees display sayings like “Pickles and Ice Cream,” “Babyfat,” “Haute Mama,” “We’re Hungry” and “Tickled Pink.”

According to Block, although they began the company only six months ago, there has already been such a demand for the hip, trendy maternity clothes, that their maternity line now spans the country from Pennsylvania to Hawaii and is carried in some of the biggest cities in the U.S., including Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and Honolulu.

“It just goes to prove that being pregnant cannot only be beautiful, it can also be very sexy and fashionable,” Block said. “And with so many celebrities baring their blooming bellies, it appears that this trend is here to stay for quite a while.”

Like so many Rooseveltians, Block is creative and open minded. With family plans in the near future for both women, their apparel line has become a passion, a novelty and, they hope, a necessity.