Mary Bauer, of Bratt Decor, chatted with us recently about starting her furniture business with her husband, what’s new in their nursery collections and her nursery trend predictions. Thanks for sharing with us, Mary!
How did you get started in the children’s furniture business?
My husband, Stephen, and I began Bratt Decor in 1995 when we were expecting our very first baby. The world of designer looks for children has really blossomed over the past 18 years, but back then, there was nothing—no Pottery Barn Kids, no Restoration Hardware, no Contemporary Designs, nothing. We decided to start our own company, believing that if you gave moms sophisticated choices for a truly designer nursery experience, they would respond. You can’t imagine what an unusual concept that was at the time. People thought we were crazy.
Where do you look for inspiration for new ideas?
I look at fashion, art and pop culture. Really, all design is connected, and ultimately, I think it’s all an outward reflection of the universal experiences we all walk through daily. For example, when the huge economic meltdown happened a few years back, everything went simpler, starker. Fashion lost its ornamentation and so did furniture. Everywhere you looked, things were stripped down to their essence. I think that was a reaction to what we were experiencing, and people wanted to get rid of excess. Now, there’s more stability, and people want to dress up again. There’s a return to elegance beginning, and I think we’re going to see that energy grow over the next three to five years, at least.
What’s new at Bratt Decor?
We have a few new beauties in our midst. We are in the process of debuting a brand new crib for our Chelsea collection: Chelsea Darling. It’s an oval crib that starts as a cradle, grows into a crib and comes complete with the cradle pad and mattress! We’ve also designed a toddler bed conversion for this piece, which makes it a lifetime value. We’ve added three popular finishes to our Joy Collection—venetian gold, pewter, and distressed white. People love this crib because it’s so simple and true and works in any environment. Plus, it’s such an amazing value for an iron crib.
Do you have any predictions for the hot trends in the world of children’s design in 2013?
I think you will see more risks in nursery design both in product choice and color. People are finding the courage to mix and match more and create their own versions of whatever trends are happening. Once upon a time, everything matched, now rooms are far more eclectic and interesting, and style-savvy moms are mixing mediums for really fresh looks. I love that!