March 13, 2015
A Baby Store for the Baby-less

Hi Little One: Strategies for avoiding Babies 'R Us

I was 26 when my first real friend had a baby. Friends, actually, it was a couple I went to college with and some of the first to get married. I was amazed, inspired, and oh-so-glad it wasn't me.  Single and living in New York, I was in the loop on a lot of things, but babies were not one of them. 

I had to send a present—genuinely wanted to send them something really great.  They had made a whole new human and all I'd done in the past 9 months was try every brunch spot in the East Village. There was a Babies 'R Us on 6th Avenue near my office, so I strolled over during lunch, excited to find the perfect thing.  

But when I got there, I was surprised at how out of place I felt. I have seven brothers and sisters; I get kids. I babysat growing up—even read The Babysitter's Club. So why did walking in that store make me feel like a leering stranger at a playground? Do people here think it's weird I don't have a baby?  Worse, do they think I have a baby? What is nipple butter and why is it the first thing on display?  

I didn't stay long enough to find an answer.  I quickly  bought a six pack of gerber onsies and got the heck out of dodge.  

That night, with a pack of Avery Iron-On Fabric Transfers and a few glasses of wine, I whipped up some duds for little Eddie that I knew would make Katie & MJ laugh.  Inside jokes from college, hometown nods and nicknames.  They loved it.  It was a departure from the ordinary and a personal, pleasant surprise. 

What is nipple butter and why is it the first thing on display?

I quickly started buying onsies in bulk (and hiding them - nothing like single girl with a drawer full of baby clothes for the baby she doesn't have!) and making super personalized gifts for all my friends as the baby wave continued.  

And people seem to really like them.  And I really liked how good it felt to gift something that I liked too.  

So my sister Maggie, my eternal personal stylist, put our heads together on how we could take this idea to the masses, without it being, well, for the masses.  We want to make highly individualized products, but a lot of them.  And economically.  We're not trying to make a product where you freak out when the baby-spits-up-on-the-$50-tshirt-your-father-in-law's-boss-gave-you kind of a product. We want to make clothes that it's OK to poop on. 

We've spent the past year creating and tossing and creating designs.  Finding the best baby clothes to print on and the most efficient way to print.  And we're pretty sure we have a recipe for success! Or at least a recipe to start, and learn, and change, and learn some more and change some more and then be successful.  

So here we go!  It's an intimidating thing, making something and putting it out there.  Genuinely doing your best and knowing people might hate it, or think it's stupid.  It's a little exhilarating, and mostly scary.  Please let us know what you think. Your opinion (positive or negative) is what will help shape our little company.  Can't wait to hear from you! 

Nell Lindquist