Talking Shop

Urban hipsters Brian and Melissa Ball don't have kids of their own yet, but they've seen enough to know that parents simply go nuts when it comes to buying stuff for babies, from the day they unwrap their toothless, hairless wee ones from their swaddling clothes. And after Melissa's sister had a baby, they noticed more: "We started to think about what we'd want for ours when we have them, and looking at the options, we saw nothing we liked," says Brian, whose bias (along with his wife's) runs cold for pastel frills, fluffy teddy bears and the slightly menacing skull patterns that have become ubiquitous in modern babywear, and hot for punky graphics with an edge, simple budget-conscious organics or wearable, unique clothing with a handmade aesthetic. In other words, kiddie couture that's cool, but not so cool that it's scary.

Looking for a new, entrepreneurial direction in their lives, the Balls decided the time was right to open an alternative sort of baby store in Denver, where upscale and cutesy reign. Their venture, Rock the Cradle, at 18 South Broadway (the space vacated by Boss), will celebrate its grand opening today with an open house from 3 to 10 p.m., featuring cupcakes from the Shoppe, DJ music courtesy of neighbors Fancy Tiger, giveaways and discounts on imaginative inventory that includes duds from regional and indie designers, unconventional toys, and blank tees and onesies that you can customize using transfers chosen from a catalogue. Cute — but not too cute.

Rock the Cradle is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday; visit www.rockthecradlebaby.net or call 303-733-3707 for information.
Sat., April 19, 3-10 p.m., 2008

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd