Out of OK! Magazine (yes, consider the source) comes a story that Blake Lively will be launching a new arm of her website aimed at moms, Preserve Baby. It’s no surprise, seeing as Preserve is e-commerce and she’s included maternity products and children quite prominently in the posts since announcing her pregnancy with a dreamy photo shoot and fall baby shower. On the surface it seems like a natural fit – but is it?
Long before Preserve launched, Blake promised us different – and in a way, she’s delivered. Preserve’s moody aesthetic and heavy text certainly set it apart from Goop’s detached chicness and the sunny earnestness of The Honest Company. But the problem with Preserve’s “otherness” is that it’s restrictive to growth.
Really, the genesis of Preserve and the idea of “baby” is counterintuitive. Preserve is loaded with artisanal products and musings about heritage. It’s supposed to feel vintage-y. That, to me, is the opposite of babies. Babies, no matter how you feel about them, are the idea of tomorrow, not yesterday. Gurgling, growing, changing and unpredictable – children are noisy and of-the-moment, not rustic and over-filtered. The success she’s had with showing off maternity pieces (and keep in mind, she can “model” all those styles via paparazzi shots) will be harder to showcase with small children.
Preserve Baby will have to have a very strong product line – beyond wooden toys and organic onesies– to make a real run at it. Yes, honeycomb giraffe bookends (see here) are cute but they don’t clean a dirty butt. The Honest Co. excels with its mass-market practicality and while Goop has a mix of the inanely luxurious and the busy-mom survival picks (I always love the children’s app they recommend), usefulness is key here. Preserve Baby needs to avoid the trap of becoming a hipster novelty act that moms tire of after one or two cutesy purchases.
And the name, Preserve Baby, could be reconsidered. If I was on the team, I’d suggest Lively Baby. If Blake’s people are reading this, feel free to take that.