Friday Close-Up: Ola Baby

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This summer I got to host an stroller designing event for Teutonia at Ola Baby in Brooklyn. Before the event I cruised the store. I couldn't get over the fact that the owner, Carla Barbosa, had chosen just about all my favorite brands. From Uppa Baby Strollers to Stokke chairs, she hand selected the best for her boutique. So it's only natural that I wanted to find out more...

Why did you launch this business?I grew up in Carroll Gardens and always wanted to start a business here in the neighborhood. As a child I always noticed many opportunities for great businesses for Court Street but as an adult I wanted to wait for a much needed establishment. Six years ago my nephew was born, my sister and her family live in NYC but my extended family lives here Carroll Gardens and I thought "wouldn't it be great to have a baby store here on Court St. so local families do not need to commute to NYC for baby gifts or baby necessities". Great timing too, all one can see in Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope are tons of babies. There definitely was a need and now, six years later there are many options available for local parents for baby and children items.

How do you pick the items you offer?Many are based on requests by parents who do lots of research of products on the internet but want to support local businesses so they ckeck with us first. I also do a lot of research from traveling to trade shows and researching online.

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Busiest day/time in the store? Usually the weekends--new parents do alot of research before investing in a stroller or furniture. We usually see the same new parents 3-4 times before a decision or purchase is made. Knowledge and education on products are so important to parents and they value the time we spend with them. I received many emails from customers thanking us for our one on one time with them and many feel comfortable listing their baby registries with us because of it. This is customer service they do not experience in larger baby stores, not enough people or product knowledge available and the new parents feel lost.

Favorite children's toys? Melissa and Doug for sure. The natural wood and water based colors are very safe even though the products are made overseas. The company has strict safety testing rules overseas during production and testing once again here in the US before they are packaged. Not to mention the fun and excitement the children experience playing with M&D toys. We have a pizza playset here in the store and children enter the store running to go play with the pizza toy

What is your favorite "discovery" that you have in store?

  • Brooklyn Onesies, our customers love them!
  • Sophie the Giraffe, the parents love them because they are all natural rubber and the babies love them because it helps with teething, very sort after!
  • Ergo baby carrier, we started carrying this item before anyone really knew who they were. Great for babies development and great for parents because most of the weight sits on the waist and does not pull on your shoulders. Can be used up to 50lbs...verses 20lbs with other carriers, love it!

What surprises you about your customers? How supportive they are about local businesses. They always visit us first to see if items are in available before considering buying off the internet.

What do you love about your NYC neighborhood?Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill has always been a family oriented neighborhood and I'm very happy to see businesses here to support families. Court Street always had great shops but Smith Street did not. For example, in the 70's and 80's, us kids were not allowed to walk or visit Smith Street, it was very desolate of businesses and not very safe. Now, there are wonderful restaurants, boutiques and shops on Smith Street that cater and add to this great neighborhood!

ola baby

315 Court Street

Brooklyn, NY 11231


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