Baby Koo – Finding the Right Products at Your Local Baby Store

Inspiration. Passion. Friendship. 

Our personal needs are often incubators for pursuing our passion and dreams. In the case of Karina Meleger, a mom herself, unable to find eco-friendly products that she can touch and feel inspired her to create one of Boston area’s best modern nursery and baby store. Her customers have called her, “a lifesaver!” for her love and knowledge to curate and find the best baby products for each one of them based on their budget and lifestyle.  If she doesn’t have a particular product or information in her store, she openly refers her customers to other local baby stores.  Karina’s bottom line is to make life easier for the parents, and “If I can make it easier, then I did my job.”

Baby Koo
188 Needham Street
Newton, MA 02464
617-467-5860
http://www.baby-koo.com

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While it is hard to build, sustain, and manage a small retail business, Karina absolutely loves what she does best – building strong relationships with her customers and serving as a no-nonsense resource on all eco-friendly, safe, practical, and stylish baby products and gears. “When you love what you do, it’s not work,” according to Karina. And the long-hours and chaos of running a retail business are eclipsed by the images of her customers’ newborn children sent from the hospital. That alone makes it all worth it!

Learn more about what inspires Karina and what are the best baby products! Great tips for parents-to-be.

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What inspired you to open your store?

When I was pregnant, I was unable to find eco-friendly baby products in one place in the Boston area. Everything was online, and that made it hard to touch and feel the items. Not knowing anything about babies and not being able to find what I wanted for my child, I had a vision to create a baby store that carried safe, beautiful, and environmentally friendly products.

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What motivates you?

I love coming to work and I can honestly say that I’m lucky. It’s a happy business. I enjoy what I do. My customers and the gratitude on their faces inspire and motivate me. The most gratifying moment of my job is when I get baby pictures emailed to me from the hospital. They CC me together with their family. To me, that’s inspiring. To me, it’s the relationship.

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How do you decide what products to carry?

I carefully select items by where and how they are made, and they have to last and serve multiple purposes. I carry a large selection of furniture that is clean and beautiful. I don’t believe you have to spend a fortune to get a good product. If you are label hungry, that’s another thing. There are so many brands out there that perform better than mainstream products and cost half as much as what’s out there. I find a number of my vendors on Etsy, many of whom are innovative moms making beautiful products.

Sometimes I find great items on the streets that other moms are using. I often ask other moms and my customers what do they love and what they can’t live without.

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What do you think differentiates you from other baby stores?

Unlike chains and big box stores, I try to understand my customers’ lifestyle and budget and I curate to a select number of products for them, rather than showing them the entire selection. I usually ask questions like:

  • What is your style?
  • How do you live?
  • What is your living space like?
  • Are you walkers or drivers?

What are your favorite local shops?

In Newton, I love Union Street. There are so many beautiful stores on this one street. In Brookline, I love Village Baby. I don’t carry older kids’ clothes so I love what they have.

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What products would you recommend new parents?

If you are planning to nurse, the Breast Friend pillow is the best.

For toys, there’s nothing eco-friendly about this one, but I love the Mozart Cube.  It was the BEST gift that was given to my daughter, and I really want others to experience the same joy that my daughter, husband, and I had playing with it. If you love music, this is a must.

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For strollers, my best advice is for parents to be honest with themselves.  If you’re not a walker already, you might not need to spend money on an all terrain stroller.  You can buy a simple and affordable umbrella. If you want to know about my favorite brands, I would say Peg Perego from Italy, Mutsy from the Netherlands, and Mamas & Papas from the UK.

For car seats, I love the Recaro booster, which is the only booster that comes with a harness, and it was sanity for my daughter on long trips.

For cribs, I like Spot On Square. It is a US family-owned company made in Scandinavia. The quality is amazing!

For winter hats, I love Tuff Kookooshka, which is made locally on Cape Cod.

For diaper pail, I recently found this stainless steel, non porous pail – by Ubbi — that won’t absorb ordor or require any filter. The best part is that you can use any trash bags, including your plastic grocery bags.

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