babyNOIR explores the world - of fashion, food, new words, first steps, cool toys, baby classes, music, and lots more.

Friday, June 15, 2012

babyNOIR Dreams Big

We Are Dreaming Big

of a design studio / incubator space 

It is 1:30am and I am sewing shoulder straps on dresses inside my little store. I have a folding table open in the middle of the cozy 175'sq space, covered with fabrics I meant to get to this evening, (or morning, or, whatever.) which seems like I will not get to them at this point. I am now a bit too tired to be trusted with a decent cutting job, anyway. 

JP Morgan Chase and Living Social are awarding up to 12 individual grants in the amount of $250,000, and babyNOIR has filed an application for it this month. 

It is a loooooong shot, Okay? But we can't not try. That, I am certain, is what thousands of other small business owners who applied for this grant are thinking.

Before I opened this little boutique, which now doubles as my work space after-hours, I used to make patterns, cut, and sew at my friends' basements. That worked, like this arrangement right here at my store is "working", but none of it is ideal. Just as professional dancers need real dance floor, designers need real design studio. And, I'm not the only one. 

Several of my fashion designer friends have the same needs as I - real cutting table, industrial sewing machines, good lighting, industrial iron, good dress forms, etc. in a big enough space to move around, where it doesn't have to turn into something else, like a store, or a dining room, at the end of its use. It is hard to have in an average New York City apartment.   need such a space, and I want other designers to have such a space. 

Incubator design studio.

There are a couple of them for chefs in the area. Incubator kitchens. Why not incubator design studio? It would cost money, and no one seems to want to create one. So, why not me? My friends and I have been talking about creating such a space for a while now. With this type of grant, this is totally possible. It will help me and my business needs, and help the fellow designers' needs as well. It would be rented hourly, so the cost of running it would be offset by it. 

We will be holding arts and crafts classes. Sewing and fashion design classes taught by professional fashion designers who are Parsons and FIT graduates - who wouldn't want that? In Queens?

Well, we will see how it will go. If not for this grant, we will find a way to realize this dream some other way.

All other thousands of small business owners must have their own version of big dreams for their business. Like twinkling stars in the sky, each one of us has her own story to tell.

Good luck to us all.

Friday, April 6, 2012

for Easter Basket, or just for fun...

Need to fill the Easter Basket for your little one? Or just need something wonderful and small?

We've got just the thing! New arrivals of hand-crochet headbands, wooden robots, cutest finger puppets, and more!

organic plush finger puppets!

Olivera's hand-crochet headbands for kids!

CUBEBOT! - for older kids.

Beginners Crochet: Bracelet

2 Sundays: April 22 & 29, 1-3pm  $60
In this 2 two-hour sessions, you'll learn some basic stitches of crochet by working on a bracelet(s). Materials included. Space fills quickly, so register now by clicking here

Earthday Event at babyNOIR

April 21st, Saturday noon-4pm  free
April 22nd is Earth Day. At babyNOIR, we will be hosting a little event on the 21st for kids of all ages. There will be live music by Mr. Ken Butler, an artist who builds musical instruments out of found objects (which is a fancy way of saying "garbage"). We will have some refreshments, home-baked goods, special story time, and a craft class using scrap material for all ages!

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's been 2 weeks since we opened babyNOIR Boutique...


26-16 23rd Avenue, Astoria NY 11105

N  e  w     A  r  r  i  v  a  l  !
We have new items that arrived this week, from P’Kolino, Tatti, Yoriko Shiraishi and Kristiana Parn. It’s a long weekend, and we are open on Saturday.
Come by and browse our beautiful boutique!

We love the vibrant colors on these cute and wonderful wooden puzzles for babies and toddlers. There are ones for as young as 12 months old baby.

This “Silly Soft Seating” is so delightful, we had to have it in our boutique! Its name is Iggy.

Gaetano is cranking out such cute and fun dresses for toddlers.
They are designed and painstakingly created by him in his studio.
100% cotton, made with love.

Yoriko Shiraishi:
Her bibs are here!! People have been asking for them, and here they are.
Come get them before they run out!

Kristiana Parn:
She brought in some new prints and notecards, and they are as cute as ever!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

avoiding pink and beyond...

As Kharin gets older - now she's 2 years and 4 months old - people are starting to make small talk with her.  One of the standard questions they pick to engage the child is, "what's your favorite color?"  to which Kharin just gives a blank stare.  At this point, she doesn't know what they're talking about. 
Every time I hear that question and watch the "huh...?" form in my toddler's head, I find myself being annoyed.  Then I wonder why. 

I realize after a bit of lemon ginger tea and inner reflection, the question feels to me a bit limiting.  Words are designed to communicate; by naming objects, feelings, and abstract ideas and everything.  But, once the thing is named, it is binding.  Like, the moment you name the feeling you are having "sadness," that's all you will be feeling. Sadness.  If you didn't name it, it might have been 75% sadness, 8% yearning, 6% love, 5% anger, 3% ennui, and 3% caffeine.  Words are tricky like that.  Similarly, by saying your "favorite" color out loud, you are in essence deciding the color that is to be designated as your "favorite", and that is binding as well.  It is a bit of self-fulfilling-prophesy.  I like blue, therefore I like blue.  If you don't pick one color, you are free to like whichever color you like at any moment in time.  

I am also afraid of the seemingly inevitable "I love pink and I want everything to be in pink" phase Kharin may plunge into.  I will see what colors happen to my toddler in the next few years.  As of now, she wears whatever I put her into, and there is no pale pink in her wardrobe. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

iPad and Our Future

Christmas approaches. Kharin and I are manning the store - Creators' Co-Op - watching people shopping and getting ready for the whole gift-giving-thing. And I wonder...

Kharin is actually sitting next to me right now, watching her playlist on Youtube. It consists of variety of videos - from Shimajiro's toilet training, Singing In The Rain to Vallarta Adventure Dolphin Kids. We borrowed our friend Gaetano's NetBook for this purpose so I can work, and she is very comfortable working the machine. She is two years old.

My computer guy Craig was telling me about how iPad is so intuitive, it is one of the major gift items for age goup 6 to 12 year olds this year. I thought it was ridiculously expensive for people so young, but if you take the price out of the equation, it does make sense. Kharin has played with my friends' iPads from time to time, and it is amazing to see her start to manipulate the software and tools on it within minutes. The thing is really intuitive.

By the time she is a teenager, computer will probably be talking back to her like in Star Trek. As for this Christmas, she will be getting a toddler digital camera from her non-believer mother.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

opening a store

So much has happened!
I am about to open a co-operative style store full of hand-made goods in Astoria, Queens.  It all started when I was dropping off some babyNOIR merchandise at KrisTEES.  I was telling the owner Kristie that someone should take advantage of the market she developed in that part of Astoria for the past 5 years by providing a beautifully chosen designer fashion in the area.  There are many young, hip people in my neighborhood, but they mostly go to Manhattan and Brooklyn to shop. KrisTEES changed that a bit.  I told her I would like to open a store in a few years, with babyNOIR and babySOLAIRE along with some complimentary lines.  Then, she told me about a little store front available a block from hers.  She said, "someone should turn that into a cool boutique."

My brains did some working behind my back for a few days - you know how you can't really trust your own brains with interesting information - then one day I suddenly an idea about a co-op style store for all my creative friends and colleagues.  It was brilliant!  By sharing the overhead cost, I didn't have to carry the burden of it all by my self.  And, all my friends who'd been wanting to have a venue to sell their creations will have a space with walls and a roof!

I signed the lease (super cool landlady!), got the liability insurance, opened the Con Edison account, started leaving fliers everywhere, painted the walls (til 3am!!), got the furniture in (thanks, Gary!!), and got the first artist's creations in - MSG by Mami Suzuki!  The door is to open on November 3rd, and grand opening soiree in the evening of the 5th!

Will keep you posted!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

summer is coming to an end

It's been a while since I blogged...
well, summer happened.

Bright sun, cold water calling, blue sky...

Swam in the river, learned to ride in the Topeak bicycle seat,
pulled a Radio Flier red wagon during Pennsic 39,
went to the beaches,
had a birthday party ("is TWO!") with Shimajiro's crown, 
learned to climb trees,
and just got dark in general.

Autumn is nearly upon us, we are gearing up to our fall season!

Starting this Saturday at Artisan-Market at Fort Greene Park, and Sunday in Upper East Side Manhattan on 3rd Avenue between 66th & 86th Street!

See you all soon!