Try on baby fashions at bargain prices

Raising Astoria owners Laurie Nicholson (l.) and Kimberly Rossignol with their daughters Julia Montini (c.) and Coralie Podmore (r.).
Photo by Nykeema Williams
By Rebecca Henely

Astoria moms Kimberly Rossignol and Laurie Nicholson found that when parents have fast-growing new babies, many of the clothes and toys they buy end up never used or only used once.

Their new baby and maternity consignment shop, Raising Astoria, at 26-11 23rd Ave., hopes to keep prices for new parents affordable as well as help them earn some money themselves. Not only can parents buy clothes for a half to a third of the retail price, but they can also bring new or gently used baby and maternity clothes to the shop.

When they are sold, the customers will get 50 percent of the profits of the sale for store credit or, if they earn $50 or more, cash. The credit is given to the parents at the point of sale.

“It’s pretty ideal for new parents,” Nicholson said.

Rossignol and Nicholson got to know each other through a meet-up group called Astoria New and Expecting Parents. Rossignol has a 16-month-old, Coralie Podmore, and Rossignol has a 14-month-old, Julia Montini.

They decided to team up and create the store in summer 2011 when Nicholson saw that while where she worked in Park Slope, Brooklyn, had many consignment shops, there were almost none in Queens.

“Who doesn’t want to buy something that looks brand-new for a third of the cost?” Rossignol said.

In addition to consignment, Raising Astoria also sells new maternity clothes, parenting books, strollers and new baby toys, which are from the German company Hape toys and the French company Tolo.

“The kids go crazy over them,” Rossignol said. “They’re very bright and colorful.”

Nicholson, who has a background in social work, said she wants Raising Astoria to become a community meeting place, so the store offers classes in music and art and has a pre-school alternative run by Nicholson.

The boutique also holds a monthly educational workshop. The first, which costs $20 to attend, takes place March 31 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and centers on language development.

Rasing Astoria has only been open for a few weeks, but many customers have already earned more than $50 in store credit through sending gently used items to the store, Rossignol said.

“People from the neighborhood have just been bringing them nonstop,” Rossignol said.

The store also received a citation from state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria), who is expecting a child, at its grand opening.

Nicholson said despite the praise and auspicious opening, she still has more planned.

“I’m still, like, we need to do more,” Nicholson said. “We need to do better.”

Rasing Astoria is open from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. More information can be found at rasingastoria.com.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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