For years, I dreaded getting invitations to baby showers. It wasn’t fear of the inevitable shower games that plagued me with anxiety. It was the thought of having to purchase a gift. Sure, the mom-to-be was registered, but even then I knew so little about what baby items were necessities, I would arbitrarily spin my finger in a circle on the registry papers until I landed on an item that would suffice. Then, a few years ago, I was invited to a shower where the mom didn’t have a registry, which meant I couldn’t rely on my usual gift-purchasing system. Instead I mustered up the courage to visit Baby Braithwaite, a shop just around the corner from my home that looked promising for gift giving. Imagine my delight when I was greeted by helpful, smiling associates ready to take me on a personal tour around the store and offer me ideas about what I could get within my budget. All of my baby shower fears vanished, and I swore to only shop at Baby Braithwaite for baby gifts from then on. I haven’t broken the promise yet. What is it about Baby Braithwaite that makes it so welcoming? Co-owner Chaffee Heilman gave me the inside scoop on how the store captures the hearts of Atlantans.
Chaffee and her mother, Nancy Braithwaite, founded Baby Braithwaite 12 years ago. The mother-daughter duo had initially decided to open an antiques and accessories store, but soon realized their passion was actually for something else. When they happened upon Parisienne baby store Ovale, the duo was instantly inspired. Chaffee explains the serendipitous moment. “When my sister was pregnant with her first child, my mom and I both felt that the [shopping] experience didn’t match our expectations. When we saw the store in Paris, we instantly had a vision of what we wanted to create.” That vision is part of what drives the aesthetic of Baby Braithwaite even today.
Chaffee says it’s all in the details. “Nancy, as most people know, is an amazingly talented interior designer in her own right, and she makes sure that the store feels balanced between strong architecture that leads you through the store and playful touches of whimsy that bring a smile to your face. Our cash-wrap, for example, is architecturally tall and impressive but softened with over-scaled flowers and teddy bears hanging from the top. Nancy likes to incorporate unexpected visuals to heighten the overall client experience. And of course, the all-white store makes everything seem fresh and lets the product speak for itself.”
The product does speak for itself. Baby Braithwaite has everything from must-have necessities to life’s little luxuries making it the perfect shop for the new mom herself or the shy shopper in need of a gift. No corner is left untouched, and no detail is too small. Large teddy bears with flowers are perched on podiums, while fairy princesses swing on garlands of stars. Clothes and accessories for boys and girls line shelves, and silver frames, combs and rattles are at eye-level for easy handling. Everything is intentional. “We offer an edited selection of almost everything you need for Baby, from clothing, pacifiers and blankets, to cribs and strollers to books, toys and gifts,” Chaffee states.
Baby Braithwaite’s carefully curated collection means that Chaffee and Nancy have done the most difficult part of sifting through baby products for you. “We look for products that are beautiful, sweet, cuddly and functional,” says Chaffee. They’ve even captured a few local businesses to add to their repertoire. “We have a local designer that creates custom birthdate prints for us,” Chaffee explains. “We are a huge supporter of Laura and Jennifer from Moms On Call. We also carry the lovely skincare line Baby Pibu from local dermatologist Dr. Amy Kim, and we are excited to soon be carrying a new book, The Fifth Trimester, written by a Westminister alum.” In short, Nancy, Chaffee and their staff have taken care of all of the details so you don’t have to. “We work hard to elevate the retail experience through our service and atmosphere. We make sure everything is sweet and simple and is all about Baby,” Chaffee says. “From our gift packaging to the way the store makes our clients feel, from the music to the flowers throughout, we want our clients to feel wonderful when they are in our store.”
If that’s their goal, Nancy and Chaffee are certainly exceeding it.
As a visitor to the new Baby Braithwaite location on Northside Parkway, you’ll be greeted by two boxwood teddy bears on pedestals flanking the front door. Once inside, you’ll find yourself entranced by quality products and will inevitably find something to buy … even if you’re not necessarily in the market. You’ll be helped by attentive associates who can always point you in the right direction, and this is all a part of the Baby Braithwaite experience. It’s part of what makes shopping at the store so special. Chaffee explains, “Most of our clients are moms who are busy from the early morning to late at night. If we can, in some small way, make their life a little easier and bring them a bit of joy, then I am happy.”
That joy that Chaffee describes is evident from the moment you step foot in the door. Beyond the personalized bedding, the luxurious lotions and the Kissy Kissy clothing, visitors are sure to find something that makes them smile. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a visitor without a smile on their face — a true testament to Chaffee and Nancy’s dedication. Chaffee says that she is thrilled to have created a brand that her clients trust and a space that brings them joy. “I get to share in one of the truly most remarkable journeys in someone’s life; to have done that with my mom makes it that much more special.”
Baby Braithwaite is located at 3535 Northside Pkwy., Atlanta, GA 30327. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Learn more at babybraithwaite.com.
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