By HELAINE OLEN
Stroller maker UPPABaby, based in suburban Boston, whose high-end Vista stroller (recommended retail price: $669) is selling briskly despite the economic downturn.
When Fairchild Publications announced way back in 2005 that it was going to launch a magazine for the high-end parenting market called Cookie, it felt like ideal zeitgeist timing. You couldn't walk down the streets of any major American city without getting run over by a perfectly coifed and dressed yummy mummy pushing an infant in a $900 Bugaboo stroller, complete with a $200-plus diaper bag slung over her shoulder.
And Cookie celebrated it all. From architecturally designed changing tables for infants to cashmere sweaters for toddlers, the magazine promoted a never-ending stream of high-end, luxurious products for the under-5 set.
The came the recession. Putting a child in hand-me-downs went from a social faux pas to a hip parenting statement in elite urban parenting precincts. Luxury baby sales are declining across the board, with name brands such as Bugaboo rumored to be suffering double-digit sales declines. And now Cookie itself is no more, shut down unceremoniously by current owner CondÃ© Nast this week, a victim of both the severe advertising contraction in the print-media universe as well as changing mores in the parenting world.
Yet while it would be nice to think Cookie's demise also signals the financial divorce of conspicuous consumption and over-the-top parenting, that just isn't so. As it turns out, the kiddy luxury market has morphed, proteanlike, adapting to new conditions.