At age 31, Aimée deSimone was worn out. Her career producing shows for CBS’s 48 Hours and A&E involved frequent travel, constant stress, and restless nights. Although she enjoyed her job, she was passionate about discovering and collecting handcrafted goods from local and indie brands (many of which she unearthed while traveling for work). Instead of relaxing on weekends, deSimone rented space at flea markets in the city and Brooklyn to sell her artisan goods. At every market, she met more and more crafters and makers whose wares she loved and wanted to support.
“Berte came about because of my passion for local and handmade designs and brands,” she says. She cites discoveries not only from the Hudson Valley but also from Los Angeles, Charleston, Atlanta, Portland—even London.
Soon, deSimone decided to trade her swift lifestyle for a slow one, with more thoughtfulness and purpose. “I had a moment of clarity and felt this need for more moments of joy in my life. I was curious to see how far I could go on my own without the traditional confines of a career. I was inspired by people in the small maker community—they were brave enough to set their own paths and make their own rules, and I wanted to do that, too.”
With the belief that items made with intention add beauty to everyday life, deSimone crafted her new mission: To create a curated collection of modern home décor, clean beauty, and minimalist accessories from a diverse group of independent designers and artisans, whether they were based around the corner or across the world.
In 2018, she launched shopberte.com (she landed on the brand name while browsing a list of baby names. “Berte means noble and bright in German,” she says.) But she had trouble gaining traction. “The online marketplace is quite saturated,” says deSimone. “I knew that in order to be successful I needed to get in front of people.”
When deciding where to set up her serene home and lifestyle shop, Beacon was a natural choice. She and her husband, writer Lou Foglia, went often for weekend getaways. “We would come up and hike, then grab a beer and a burger and walk along Main Street,” she says. “I fell in love with the town—and I loved that so many people had passion projects and ran small businesses.”
In 2019, the couple moved to a 102-year-old house in Beacon and in October 2020, deSimone opened the doors to her Main Street store. The Berte space is thoughtfully laid out, with an apothecary corner featuring handmade Blackbird incense with exotic fragrance notes and all-natural Furo Fizz bath bombs enriched with skin-soothing essential oils among other lovely items.
Savvy and stylish, deSimone stocks elegant hand-blown carafes and glasses from Bow Glassworks in Beacon, ceramics by Hudson Valley artist Alexis Tellefsen, a variety of pretty notebooks and cards, Greentree Home pure beeswax candles, and handcrafted jewelry. “We carry products from over 80 makers and indie brands,” she adds.
Berte commits to giving back: Five percent of sales of their Lazy Monday canvas totes go to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. And deSimone is committed to uniting the town’s small businesses—and the customers who love them. For details about monthly Main Street shopping events, follow @visitmainstbeacon on Instagram.
“Many of us are banding together to bring a lot to Beacon,” says deSimone. “I’m a rep of my fair city.”