Baby NeeNee focused on quality and wearability
October 10, 2008
Casey Marsh knows baby clothes.
She didn’t just grow up in them, but around them as her mother set up retail stores for children’s clothing everywhere they moved.
First, it started as a way to find good clothing for her own children. Then it proved to be an excellent business model that was also family-friendly.
"It’s a fun environment. You can bring your kids to work with you," she said.
Two years after Marsh closed her Main Street women’s clothing consignment store, The Exchange, to have children, she’s back in the game with a different kind of apparel.
"Now that I have kids, I thought it would be more appropriate to be here," she said.
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As the only baby clothing store in Park City besides the outlet stores, Marsh takes pride in the fact that she’s able to choose her own wares, and is able to do so based on experience.
Marsh only carries brands and lines that she found to be high quality in her own home with her two boys both under the age of 3.
"I’ve tried things on them and know what toys they liked and what clothes lasted," she said.
The name, Baby NeeNee, comes from a codeword her boys invented. Whenever they wanted to say goodbye, or goodnight, they said "NeeNee." She even incorporated two handprints from her boys into the logo.
It was a dream to run a store with her mother, who lives in Florida. Because of the distance between them, Marsh does her own thing, but having the stores in common brings them closer, she said. Last weekend they went to a trade show together in New York and purchased items for spring.
At these shows, Marsh said she looks for clothes that are fashionable, but durable what she calls "Park City casual." Children will look good, but nothing needs to be dry cleaned, she said.
Above all, Marsh said she wants her store to be stocked with quality products. That means they may cost more than baby clothing at outlets or big-box retailers, but they will last longer.
"My boys wear stuff that was passed down from my nephews," she said. "If you spend the money the first time around, you’ll have clothes for hand-me-downs. Splurge the first time and get clothes that last."
Cheaper brands get worn and torn and thrown out at the end of the season.
Marsh said she also uses her own experiences as a mother to carry lines she knows children will want to wear.
Fabrics have "come a long way" she said, and are now much softer to the skin. Fortunately, some of the most eco-friendly threads, such as bamboo, are also the softest. It’s a positive trend that benefits the environment and the child.
She carries shirts with prints her boys love; moose, bears, fish and vintage cars make it easy to dress them "any day of the week."
Sizes range from infant to 6X for girls and to 4 toddler for boys.
Because about 70 percent of her business is from gift seekers, Baby NeeNee carries a lot more than clothing. From bibs, socks, shoes, blankets or teddy-bears for new-borns, or miniature drum sets and purple tutu’s for toddlers, the store has something for any development stage at any price range.
"You can get a great baby gift for $20 or splurge for the $150 cashmere," she said.
The store also performs the full range of gift services from wrapping, shipping, gift cards and special orders, she said.
Marsh’s desire to have "something for everybody" does not translate to a cluttered store. Marsh said she identifies what clothing, toys and shoes are the best, and then tries to offer at least two varieties of each.
"Rather than carry 10 different kinds of wooden puzzles, I find out what’s best and only carry that one," she said.
The same is true for dolls. The French company, Corolle, has the highest quality and makes dolls of all sizes for growing girls, she said. So while there are a lot of dolls to choose from in Baby NeeNee, they’re all Corolle brand because Marsh said she identified it to be the best.
Customer Hillary Cooper stops by Baby NeeNee almost weekly and said she appreciates that commitment.
"It’s great because as long as I’ve lived in Park City, we haven’t had a higher end, but reasonably priced store for children," she said.
Employee Heather Metzger said she loves the fact that she doesn’t have to drive down to Salt Lake City anymore to buy quality baby clothes.
"Park City definitely needs a store like that with the baby boom going on here for the past five years," she said. "(Marsh) wanted to bring something for everyone, which is key here in Park City. She has something for everyone."
1400 Snow Creek Dr.