Boudoir Baby, the newest specialty shop in Saugerties village, features a niche within a niche — fine nursery furniture made in America and Europe — and other products for babies produced in large part by local craftspeople.
Owner-operator Veronica Ferraro-Holmquist adopts her business philosophy from her father, the late Vincent Ferraro, a man familiar to generations of Sawyers as the Village Cobbler.
The cobbler’s eight children never had holes in their shoes, Ferraro-Holmquist said. “Our shoes had the best materials, made in America; my father insisted on that, so they lasted longer.” Vincent Ferraro died four years ago.
Boudoir Baby’s location on 114 Partition St. extends another tradition. For many years its spacious interior was the site of London’s Department Store which catered to the children’s trade.
Numerous businesses have come and gone since London’s left town more than a generation ago. Ferraro-Holmquist brought her extensive experience as a professional interior designer and furniture designer — she’s a graduate of the New York School of Interior Design — into renovating a 19th-century space that had clearly seen better days.
“The beautiful nursery furnishings and the pink building exterior of this shop give you a clue as to what is in store here at Boudoir Baby Fine Nursery Furniture and More,” she said.
Ferraro-Holmquist’s use of local vendors is grounded in sound business practice. “Local artists make it easier to get product quicker, saves on shipping fees and helps the local economy,” she said. “All my vendors are exceptional crafts people. To name a few, they make handmade organic rattle teethers, sheep booties and custom hand and machine quilts. We have a child portrait maker, another artist who paints murals and a woman who makes children’s benches with customized engraving.” (Again, all from Ferraro-Holmquist’s designs.)
As they say in retail, there’s nothing like word-of-mouth. “I am making a lot of friends who tell their friends about my store,” she said. “I am lucky to know all these people and I am happy to have them at Boudoir Baby.”
The shop owner and her husband David are the parents of two grown sons, Jake and Lucas, and grandparents to Johnny, Henry, Grace, Nora and Graeham. Holmquist’s decision to go into business for herself originated with a frustrating search for a crib for one of her grandchildren. “The sad thing was that within a 35-45-mile radius, I could not find a crib to match my needs, quality made in America,” she said. “A light bulb went off: I’ll start my own business.”
Ferraro-Holmquist believes that parents, especially first-timers and grandparents, need the kind of assistance and guidance her store provides, something she says is usually not available in big box stores.
“Because this is relatively new to them, they are hungry for information,” she said. “I use this opportunity to provide helpful education about the variety of furniture products and services available to match customers’ needs. Consumers are especially concerned with the safety features of products.”
Boudoir’s inventory includes cribs, high chairs and strollers that are designed to be eco-friendly, safe and convenient to small spaces. Baby high chairs, for instance, are provided without trays or high backs. “They’re designed to be used at the table, not in some corner,” Holmquist said. “It makes the baby part of the family at dinner time.”
Holmquist appreciates she might be bucking a tide in starting a business in a stagnate economy and in particular a business that caters to children in an area with a declining school enrollment.
Holmquist obviously sees the glass as half full. “Saugerties rates as one of the best small towns in America. It’s a growing, vibrant place and we want to be part of that,” she said. “We’re pretty busy,” she added, “and in business, that’s pretty good.”
In the interest of baby safety, the shop, in cooperation with Diaz Ambulance Service, conducts free classes in infant and child CPR and first aid. Information is available by calling (914) 388-1340 or emailing Boudoir57Baby@gmail.com.
A formal ribbon-cutting is planned by the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce later this month.