Once upon a time there was a mom and a dad who had a baby and couldn’t find any cool furniture to outfit the nursery. So dad hooked up with his childhood friend and soon Crate and Barrel came knocking. Sound like a modern day fairy tale? You’re not far off.

Shopping for kids furniture can be a nightmare. That’s what Scott Eirinberg discovered when he and his wife went shopping for their child’s first bedroom set.

“There were high end boutiques selling very expensive, frilly things and on the other end of the market, there were mass merchants selling very low quality, low design things. And we thought, ‘How come there isn’t something that really captures the whimsy of childhood?’ ” Scott says.

So Scott teamed up with boyhood friend Jaime Cohen to launch their own children’s furnishing store out of Scott’s garage. The line started with a few pieces, a catalog and a wicked sense of humor.

“We both put our life savings into it and we risked everything we had and we made it work. Somehow we made it work,” Scott says.

Everything was sort of humming along when late one night, the phone rang. Crate and Barrel founder Gordon Siegel was on the line.

“Getting a call from Gordon Siegel is like getting a call from the Dali Lama of retail,” Scott says.

“I think it’s their imagination, their sense of color and design, their sense of creativity, their ability to put a sense of humor behind everything and make people laugh. When I walked into this store the other night as it was preparing to open, I just started laughing, and I felt like this was a place where I had to buy something. I knew that would happen when I first met them and saw their catalogs. We said this could be a great store concept and it truly is,” Siegel says.

The company’s first store, located at Northbrook Court is packed with the kind of furniture meant to inspire happy dreams, nostalgic toys and it even has a bar.

“For moms who are looking for shower presents and shower gifts, you can build your own baby gift tote. Take the tote and walk around the gift bar and you can put in any items of any value you want. Really unique items and you can really personalize a gift,” Scott says.

Although the Land of Nod faces plenty of competition in the kids furnishings business, including a strong challenge from Pottery Barn, Siegel feels this company has plenty of room to grow.

“I think it’s the best of retail. What it does for you is it excites your eyes and excites your hearing the music in the store. It really excites you and then you go around and touch and feel everything. It’s a marvelous feeling and I think it’s those blend of things that make a store work in any kind of retail and I think this store does it like I’ve never seen a children’s store do it anywhere,” Siegel says.

And like all new parents, the founders are just a little nervous.

“Parents can come in and buy a beautifully made hand-made bed that they can live with and grow with for many, many years and keep in the family. These are heirloom pieces that people can pass down,” Scott says.

The Land of Nod expects to open up three stores next year and another four stores in 2004. Several of which will be located next to Crate and Barrels.

For more information go to www.landofnod.com

Published: Dec 3, 2002