May is the month to celebrate mothers in all their glory and we couldn’t think of a more inspirational mother to celebrate than Atlanta’s Chaffee Heilman, the owner of baby braithwaite. baby braithwaite is the chicest baby store in the city, projecting an essence of warmth, simplicity, and beauty. Entering the breathtaking store transports you to a place where giant fuzzy polar bears seem to come to life and you feel as though you’re surrounded by pillowy clouds of everlasting safety and tranquility. Serving Atlanta families since 2005, we know that Chaffee and her store will be favorites of Atlanta families for years to come. They certainly are favorites of ours!
SS: Tell us a bit about your family and where are you originally from.
BB: I was born and raised in Atlanta Georgia- at a time where everyone who lived here was from here. After living in New York for a few years, I came back home to be near my parents and sister (who has three children). A client of the store introduced me to my husband almost 8 years ago and we have a beautiful 3 year old son.
SS: baby braithwaite is our favorite baby store in Atlanta! Can you tell us a bit about the history of the store and how it came to be? How long have you been serving chic Atlanta moms and dads.
BB: The store started as a concept for my mom and I to start a business together. We wanted to open a furniture & antiques store originally but on a trip to Europe every seller warned us against that idea. In Paris, my mom came across a beautiful baby store called Ovale when she was shopping for my sister’s newest baby. During my sister’s pregnancy, my mom and I often found ourselves complaining about the shopping experience for new moms- big stores, no personalized attention, too many choices, not enough style. After seeing Ovale, mom decided we should research the concept of opening a baby store. Turns out, it was great timing. There were so many new products and vendors in the market that were not represented in our market or in a store environment we believed in. So after a year of researching every baby store we could from coast to coast, going to every trade show we could find, we opened b braithwaite (now baby braithwaite). It was October 2005.
SS: Who or what do you draw inspiration from for your beautiful store? Do you have any favorite trendy moms or designers?
BB: Our mantra for the store- in everything from store design, merchandise displays and product- has always been sweet and simple. Sweet because we are celebrating babies- they are beautiful enough, they don’t need lots of fuss. And simple because we truly believe less is more- surround your little one and fill your house with beautiful, practical and functional products and you’ll always make the right decision. The inspiration truly comes from the families I have been honored to get to know over the last 9 years.
SS: You have used a long list of Sensible Sitters in Atlanta! What do you love most about Sensible Sitters?
BB: Sensible Sitters has come to my rescue more times than I can count! As a working mom, my schedule can change last minute. The convenience of scheduling online and knowing that your office has personally curated the candidates gives me peace of mind about who will be taking care of my son. It’s hard enough to spend time away from my son- so knowing that I am leaving him in capable and safe hands is everything. I always feel great about using a Sensible Sitter when my son refers to them not as babysitters but as his “friends”!
SS:You are a gal about town – how do you tackle family time while simultaneously running your business? Do you have any advice for moms trying to find the work/life balance?
BB: I feel incredibly fortunate. I’ll be honest, I don’t know how working moms who work for other people do it. After 9 years running my own business, I finally have an incredible team at work that allows me to have flexibility at home. In many ways I have so much control over my schedule. When my son is sick, I can choose to work from home that day to make sure I’m around for extra hugs and kisses. I drive my son to carpool and pick him up. I often am home to have lunch with him. The flip side is I work late in the evenings, always on vacation, and I’m never officially not working. But the truth is we are all trying to balance something. I have friends who don’t work who struggle with that decision; I have friends who work for big corporations who struggle with not having enough flexibility in their schedule; and I have friends who own their own businesses who struggle with the constant pressure of owning their own business. At the end of the day, as moms we want to do it all- there will always be a give and a take. I just try to keep perspective- I have a beautiful son and a wonderful husband, and I love what I do. If that means a bit of juggling, so be it.
SS: What can we look forward to at baby braithwaite this coming spring and summer? Do you have a favorite new product for the season?
BB: Spring and summer clothes are my favorite to buy- there is something so sweet about a little one in a bubble or a bathing suit. We have the biggest selection of clothes we’ve ever had this season and I am just loving all of them!