Baby Loves is a brand new nursery boutique in Wilmslow, Cheshire. We had a chat this week with owner and nursery retail veteran, Steve Abse, to find out more…
What made you decided to open Baby Loves?
“I’ve worked in the retail industry all my life and in the baby business for 22 years. While I absolutely love it, after 14 years as Marketing Director at Mothercare and more than five years as Retail Director at Mamas & Papas, I felt the time was right to do something for myself. And after stumbling across this 3000sq ft former Neptune store at Millbank House in Wilmslow – Baby Loves was born!”
What sets you apart from other nursery retailers?
“While there are other baby stores in the area, no-one seems to offer what we do, which is premium (often unique) baby and toddler brands coupled with a high quality, personal service.
Anyone can sell a pushchair so we want to go the extra mile, so we unpack, steam and build all our pushchairs for the customer so they’re ready to go – we even offer a free steaming service for customers who have bought their pushchair elsewhere.
We’re responsible for helping customers choose a pushchair that’s right for them and which suits their lifestyle. We don’t try to push same brand bundles on our customers, so each component of a travel system is individually chosen and then bundled. But if it’s not right for parent or baby, we offer a unique 30-day pushchair exchange – the first of its kind in the UK!
We’re also the only store in the area with the whole team fully car seat trained. We’ll fit it and show you how it works and since most grandparents will need to use it at some point too, we encourage customers to bring them along to show them how it works and make them feel part of the journey.”
How do you intend to engage with customers at the store?
“As well as offering a premium shopping experience for Cheshire parents-to-be, we’re building a community here at Baby Loves for parents to meet up and access free advice, support and expertise. We’ll be offering a range of complimentary in-store events with expert talks on first aid, sleep, hypnobirthing, baby yoga – and plenty more. We’ll also be showcasing local businesses – baby photography, swimming lessons and so on. Our store location on a retail park makes it easy for expectant parents to park outside!”
And through online channels?
“The Wilmslow parenting community is very active on Facebook and Instagram, so we know how important it is to tell people we’re here and to engage with them. Now that the store is open, we’ll be focusing on the website which is due to go live in 6-8 weeks and, of course, on social media.”
What do you look for from a brand when deciding to stock their products?
“Being involved in the happiest, most important time of someone’s life is a privilege and at Baby Loves, we want to offer them something a bit different to the rest of the high street. As well as stocking popular brands such as Bugaboo, Cybex, Silver Cross, Joolz and Uppababy, our clothing brands (eg. MarMar/freya lily) are for the more discerning customer, usually found in larger, luxury baby stores in London. Everything we stock is carefully curated and because no-one wants to bump into everyone else’s child wearing the same dress or coat, we keep a very tight limit on clothing stock – usually just two pieces in each size and colour. Similarly, we will only stock one brand of baby monitor – but we know it will be the best. The same with a breast pump or bottle feeding kit – we aim to choose the best in each category.”
What are your plans for 2021 and beyond?
“We’ll be focusing the next 6-12 months on getting known in the area, getting the website up and running and growing our reputation for great service, great (unique) brands, impeccable after sales and no quibble guarantees.
Our mission is simple: we’re more than just a store, we’re here to take the stress out of having a baby by offering help, advice, support and a sense of community.”
Top 3 baby products wish you’d invented?
The lie flat CYBEX car seat
Shnuggle baby bath on a stand
Any easy, small, lightweight stroller for holidays