When picking playthings for her own toddler, Astrid Motsenigos went back to the toys she grew up with in Spain and Germany. Now her international finds are stocking the shelves at CouCou, the children’s boutique she opened in May. Whimsically shaped Goodnight Lights and Baby Bites shark sleep-sacks from Barcelona, handmade raffia toy baskets from Madagascar and Vilac wooden pull toys from France are just a few of the South End shop’s offerings, many of which are unavailable elsewhere in Boston. “I feel like there’s a real want in the mother community for toys that feel like real toys,” Motsenigos says. “Something that you would want them to play with that’s not electronic, that’s not shouting at you, that’s not going to break.” Adults are just as appreciative, snatching up sets of colorful melamine plates and cups designed in Denmark that are pretty enough for patio parties and durable enough for snack time.
Named for the French term for peek-a-boo, the shop also features aisles spacious enough for strollers, lullabies in multiple languages playing softly overhead and a cozy room for nursing and changing diapers. A play area where kiddos can hang during shopping trips also accommodates drop-in and membership-based free play, along with art, dancing and yoga classes for little ones. “I saw that there was a big need in the Boston market for something like this,” she says. “I want this to be a community place.”
CouCou 24 Union Park St., Boston (617-936-4082) coucou-boston.com