Being a mom is a job in and of itself, but MacKenzie
Kell made motherhood her business—literally.
Being a mom is a job in and of itself, but MacKenzie Kell made motherhood her business—literally.
In addition to The Barnabas, the Stone Ridge native is owner of Boom, Baby! Boutique, a parent’s haven in High Falls.
Prior to opening the boutique, Kell spent several years managing restaurants, attending graduate school, and teaching college English, but motherhood and its challenges in the workplace ultimately sparked her move to entrepreneurship.
“It was a very hard lesson to learn that pregnancy is often shunned in the workplace,” she said. “I had no idea that this was an issue, but it was no longer going to be my issue.”
In making the decision to open the boutique, Kell considered what was most important to her and what kind of lifestyle she wanted her family to have.
She realized that she did not want to travel across the river to buy baby products anymore, and she wanted to decrease her support of large corporations.The solution was easy—be the solution.
“One night I was talking to my partner, Ethan, about the recent baby boom; I screamed, ‘Boom, Baby,’ and the store idea was born,” said Kell.
Boom, Baby! Boutique’s original location in 2014 was a Rosendale storefront, but as Kell’s business evolved from a small store to a community center, she realized a move was in order.
“Families have bigger needs than sippy cups and designer diaper bags,” she said. “People need information, classes, a place to feel supported without judgment.
” A little more than a year after Boom, Baby! was launched, MacKenzie and Ethan found themselves opening The Barnabas, a 3,000 square-foot space dedicated to healing and education. The Barnabas offers a gallery,a cooperative studio and conference space, and workshops and classes in writing, yoga, music, dance, permaculture, and more.
“When we envisioned The Barnabas,” said Kell, “we thought about the people we knew who were so unbearably talented, who had no place to share their work communally outside of bars and coffee shops. We wanted to create that space for the ones we knew and the ones we’d meet.
When visiting The Barnabas, parents can view their children through open windows into another room where children play safely with age appropriate games and toys. But parents and kids are not the only ones welcome.
“We—parents, families, people—
“Artists can show their work; musicians can too,” said Kell. “We have parents and non-parents using the space.”
Kell said the people who use the space help to create it, and she never quite knows what may be coming next. The emails she receives requesting to use the space in unique ways has her thinking she’s dreaming.
“This week we have a book binding class for poets; I could pinch myself,” she said. Kell expects to add more community outreach in the coming year including rental bikes, more classes, and a community-built playground.
Although Kell admits her business model is not about getting rich, it has become the basis for an incredibly rich life – not just a job but also a calling.
“We—parents, families, people—need communities,” she said. “Children need communities.
and I get to do all of this with my son Zephyr right here beside me.”
The purpose of The Barnabas serves to create the neighborhood feeling that I longed for growing up here in this area,
BOOM, BABY! BOUTIQUE/ THE BARNABAS
133 MAIN STREET, HIGH FALLS