Smoochie Baby

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With a cute name and oodles of scrumptious gifts, Smoochie Baby is a new Brooklyn hotspot. The baby boutique is located smack-dab in Brooklyn's hottest neighborhood, Williamsburg. With trendy restaurants and upscale fashions, this baby boutique fits in while also standing out. We caught up with owner, Penelope Stipanovich, to talk about her baby business.

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What is the most popular item in the store?
I'd say it's a tie between our pint sized fedoras and the Rockabye Baby CDs (lullaby renditions of classic rock albums.)

What is the most expensive item in store?
The Orbit Baby stroller system ($900.) This is the Rolls Royce of strollers. Wins top marks in my book for innovative design and is absolutely the smoothest ride around.

Where did you dream up this name?
When I was working on my business plan my son, Max, was less and a year old. My nickname for him was Smoochie Baby. As I was brainstorming names for the business I kept coming back to it. I actually held my own mini focus group with friends and it won as the hands-down favorite.

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What do you love about your neighborhood?
Where do I start? In my opinion Williamsburg is the style mecca of New York City, and in that case one of the most stylish places on the planet. The music scene here is exploding. The young artists that live here inspire the latest fashion trends. The restaurants and shops are eclectic and (in most cases) affordable. Like every wonderful NYC neighborhood, it has real sense of community. Great public schools, an evolving waterfront, and McCarren Park. What a fantastic place to raise a family?!

How do you pick the skincare products in store?
I don't only pick them; I make them! (well, not me personally...) Each and every product is hand made the old fashioned way by my amazing mother-in-law in Huntsville, Ontario (that's in Canada for anyone who is wondering.) Darla has been mastering the art of soap making since her youth as a hippy living in communes. She now has a booming business up in Huntsville with an extensive line of all natural soaps, creams, lotions, & potions. She worked with me to create the most delectable essentials for baby and mommy. The line currently consists of our fragrance-free Camomile Soap & lotion, Bum Butter, Belly Butter, Nighty Night Massage Oil, Bathtime for Baby Shampoo & Body Wash, & Sweet Cheeks Talcum-Free Powder.

We are in the middle of a recession, why open a new store?
Well Smoochie Baby is not exactly a new store. It is new to New York, but I actually started the business in Toronto in 2007. My husband and I are both from there, and made the decision to move back (after 12 years in NYC) when Max was 18 months old. The business was a huge hit but we missed New York, so in less than 2 years we moved back (and moved the store with us.) This recession is a doozy but life must go on, and I have always done what I am passionate about.

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How do you compete with "big box" stores?
Absolutely, positively our customer service. When you walk in to Smoochie Baby you will always be greeted with a smile by someone who loves being there and knows everything about every product we sell. I also go the extra mile to seek out unique products that the big guys don't sell and presenting them with a design authenticity that is esthetically pleasing.

Do you offer any classes, special events in store?
We have a pretty decent size play area at the back of the store with a 40" flat screen that we screen kiddie movies on, everything from old favorites like Mary Poppins & Lady & the Tramp to modern classics like Ratatouille & Finding Nemo. Moms love this. It means they can browse around in peace while their little Smoochers are amused. We will soon be offering hair cuts for kids as well as a weekly story time.

Smoochie Baby
110 Berry St.
Brooklyn, NY
718.383.3340
www.smoochiebabynyc.com

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