New Boutique Finds Niche with Babies and Young Children
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Finding a gift for a new baby in downtown Saratoga Springs has been a challenge for many shoppers, including Saratoga natives Elizabeth Straus and her daughter, Lucy Moran. Both veteran entrepreneurs – and inspired by their respective roles as devoted grandmother and doting aunt – they decided to make that search much simpler and more convenient with Lex & Cleo “Darling Gifts for Baby.”
“Lex and Cleo are Lucy’s niece and nephew and my two adorable grandchildren,” said Straus. “They live in Hollywood and they’re beautiful little kids.”
“They have wonderful names so we thought, ‘Why not?’” added Moran. “They’re our favorite little kids.”
The unique boutique, located in the Saratoga Marketplace at 454 Broadway, offers clothing; blankets and toys made with soft, natural materials; books for parents and children; and a wide range of heirloom-quality gifts.
The mother-daughter duo held a soft opening for Lex & Cleo in October, but the grand opening of the boutique was Saturday, Nov. 15. The pair says Lex & Cleo fills a void for consumers looking to purchase baby-related items either for themselves or as gifts.
“Shopping for a new baby gift or a baby shower gift was impossible to do in downtown Saratoga, without having to go to a chain store,” explains Moran. “We felt that people within walking distance could come here and find a new baby gift or a baby shower gift and things of quality.”
Quality and organic, natural materials are two attributes Moran and Straus keep in mind when looking for products to sell in their store. Whether its cashmere sweaters, embroidered onesies and rattles, or organic Disney plush toys, every item in the boutique is beautiful and hand-picked by the pair.
“I also wanted to introduce people to the Waldorf approach to childhood development,” said Straus. “It’s non-academic, natural materials with the toys and just a very gentle approach to the child that’s coming into the world.”
“There’s an emphasis on play rather than academics,” added Moran.
And there are plenty of options to choose from for play time. Lex & Cleo carries a variety of toys from Grimm’s toys all the way from Germany to Maileg’s “Mouse in a Box” toys from Denmark. Lex & Cleo also carries the infamous KicKee Pants – a clothing line for infants and toddlers; as well as bibs and onesies from Catfish, made in Brooklyn from 100 percent organic cotton, among other products.
“I think we’re making a good team because I’m bringing the younger, what people are buying now vision and she [Straus] is bringing the grandparent point of view, so it’s a happy medium of what we think both consumers would like.”
Moran and Straus are currently working on setting up baby registries and hope to eventually establish an e-commerce website.
Straus currently owns gift boutique Pangea and owned long-time downtown staple, Mabou, with her husband, Mark, from 1971 to 2005. Moran is the owner of Lucia, specialty clothing and jewelry shop. Her husband, Rory, owns and operates Comfort Kitchen.
Lex & Cleo is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The boutique is closed Tuesdays. You can also check them out at www.lexandcleo.com.