When fly-by-night business owner Melissa Willis closed her New Albany bath product shop on Pearl Street across from Copper Moon Gallery, gallery owner Kim Johnson didn’t want to see the prime space sit empty.
Instead, Johnson approached friend and fellow business owner Laura Applegate, who co-owns three Regalo art and gift shops locally, about joining forces to open Oh Baby! Children’s Boutique at 222 Pearl St. Suite 101.
“She said, ‘Anything you say I will follow and believe,’ ” Johnson recalled.
A baby and children’s shop is a niche that hasn’t been filled in New Albany.
“It is going to be a good fit,” Applegate said. “It’s going to be the first one.”
Oh Baby! will sell clothing and accessories for children ages 6 and under as well as toys, books and decor for children’s rooms.
The store will carry high-end brands such as Persnickety, Matilda Jane, Petunia Pickle Bottom, Hanna Anderson, Mustard Pie, Giggle Moon, Janie and Jack, Ralph Lauren and Lilly Pulitzer.
Since young children grow out of clothes after only a few wears, Oh Baby also will purchase and resell gently used high-end brands.
“It’s just a good opportunity for moms to sell them outright,” Johnson said.
She added that they want to bring unique items to New Albany. Oh Baby will accomplish that partly by carrying handmade items from artists and suppliers with whom Applegate and Johnson have worked.
For example, Kentucky designer Amanda Hofmann, who makes jewelry and chalk art, recently launched a baby clothing line called Tumalo Apparel, which will be available at Oh Baby.
“We want to find things you don’t see everywhere,” Applegate said.
Prices for items will range from $5 to $200.
Oh Baby will host regular events as well, including story times, tea parties and arts activities.
With each having their separate private ventures to manage, Applegate and Johnson will split responsibilities at Oh Baby and hire two employees. Applegate will handle the bookkeeping, which she enjoys, and Johnson will handle the marketing and design, her preferred occupation.
Because the Oh Baby space was a store before, Johnson said it didn’t need much work. The pair simply needed to add their own touch, which Johnson described as classic and vintage. The store’s signature color is a “soft, yummy green,” she said.
No specific open date is set, but it will likely be at the end of this month. Oh Baby plans to host a grand opening with gourmet cotton candy that Johnson promises will be “smashing.”
Hours of operations will be Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.