My Angel Baby separates itself with range of products

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With conglomerates like Walmart and Target offering one-stop shopping at convenient prices, it isn’t easy to operate a successful gift shop in today’s tough economic climate.

South Lafourche-based store My Angel Baby must be doing something right – they have been around for more than a decade and continue to expand into the future.

Known for their vast array of gift options, the Cut Off store serves as the go-to shop among South Lafourche natives looking to find a special something for a loved one.

“Pretty much, we allow people to buy a gift for anyone for any occasion,” said Darla Boudreaux, who co-owns the business with her husband Tobey. “You can walk in and buy a baby gift, bath and body items, candles – really anything that someone special will like at a special time in his or her life.”

The idea for My Angel Baby started when Boudreaux had an angel of her own – teenage son Colby.

She said while pregnant for Colby in 1996, she started to learn jewelry making from her mother.

“I started by making rosaries – that was the first thing that I learned how to do,” Boudreaux said. “It was rosaries and baby jewelry. That’s where our name came from initially – My Angel Baby.”

From her beginnings, Boudreaux said she expanded her talents and learned how to create other items in demand for customers.

With those talents, she said that she and her mother would tour trade shows to showcase their work.

“We’d travel to different cities to get as much exposure as we could,” Boudreaux said. “Through that, we established a mail-order. We had a lot of people who would order things from us at shows and then we’d get repeat business from them. We’d also do a lot of home parties to get the jewelry out there.”

As Boudreaux’s work grew in popularity, she said the opportunity presented itself to create a full-fledged gift shop.

In 2000, My Angel Baby was born. Inside the shop’s walls were a combination of Boudreaux’s hand-made crafts and many other popular gift items.

She said those wanting to buy something nice for the men in their life will also be taken care of at the store. The Cut Off business also offers New Orleans Saints and LSU décor. My Angel Baby also has a line of South Lafourche products.

“We really take pride in the fact that you can buy something for anybody with us,” Boudreaux said. “It can be a birthday, a wedding, really anything – a teacher’s gift – anything. If someone you care about is sick in the hospital and you want to buy them a little something to make them feel better, we have plenty of those kinds of things, too.”

Among the signature products offered by My Angel Baby are the Angel Scent Candles, which Boudreaux started to create in 2001.

She said that product has blossomed and the store now offers more than 50 custom fragrances.

The newest item that customers have been demanding are My Angel Baby’s custom-made engraved jewelry – a service that the business first started to offer this past summer.

“I’m doing a lot of personalization and a lot of that kind of jewelry,” Boudreaux said. “We can do initials, monograms and birthstones – different sentimental things like that.”

The business owner joked that with any new project, there is both good news and bad.

The good news is it expands the variety of product My Angel Baby can provide.

The bad is she becomes so entrenched in learning about the new product that it eats away all of her free time.

“It’s like I start it and then I can’t quit,” Boudreaux said with a laugh. “That’s just how I am.”

Since starting engraving, Boudreaux said it’s become among her favorite things to do in the business.

She added that the store is in the process of getting a new engraving machine that will allow work to be done on picture frames, money clips and key rings, among other items.

“Anything that you can imagine something being engraved on – we’ll be able to do it,” Boudreaux said.

Continued growth and a constant grind to stay fresh – those are the biggest challenges Boudreaux said a small business owner face when creating a gift shop.

She said she knows Walmart and other larger stores are out there – that’s fine.

My Angel Baby’s mission is to offer a product that cannot be purchased anywhere else in the area.

“That’s the hardest thing for us – if you want to keep the interest out there, you have to offer something different and something people don’t see every day,” Boudreaux said. “You can’t be in business and just have everything that Walmart has. It won’t work. You have to have something different.

“This is a hard job. It’s a lot of work. … But it’s very fulfilling. When you see someone wearing something that you’ve made, it’s awesome – it’s an amazing feeling. It’s really nice to hear that amazing feedback. It feels so good to hear that people like the work that you’re doing. That’s why we’re here. We love to help provide people with what they want.”

A wide array of products line the shelves at My Angel Baby in Cut Off. The gift shop touts its product variety as one of the reasons why they have been successful. The store has been in business more than a decade and continues to grow.