Bringing Joy to All the Senses
When Mariah Bovee became a mother, she quickly discovered that the new title also came with the occasional sense of loneliness and isolation.
“I know how lucky I am to be a mother and I love my children more than I knew was humanly possible, but to put it bluntly, especially during the first couple of years, being a mom is HARD,” said Mariah. “Becoming a parent is like being born again as a new person, and it takes time to adjust to this new life.” Many of the activities that Mariah previously enjoyed, like going out to eat or enjoying a quiet cup of coffee, were no longer possible. “I always wished that there was a baby cafe where everyone was going through the same new feelings, same new life and same joys and struggles of daily life with a kid. Then a lightbulb went off.”
With an amazing business plan and a lease ready to be signed, Mariah was ready to go. However, as with many people, this year had a different plan in mind. “I was aiming to officially open a play space with a little toy shop and a birthday party venue in May 2020,” said Mariah. “I was so close to signing a lease back in March, which would’ve given me time to renovate before my planned opening. I left my high-level position with the company I had worked for the past ten years, and then a few days later, the Coronavirus happened.”
After COVID-19 hit and Mariah was able to reevaluate her plan, she knew that she still wanted to find a way to serve the community and provide something that would spread cheer and normalcy. “More than ever I was determined to provide the same vision as before: treat parents to a few moments of calm in their crazy day, but with an added vision of providing a sense of normalcy for families that were going through so much,” said Mariah. At that point it was close to Easter, so Mariah came up with the idea to make a craft kit for kids so parents had something extra special to fill their baskets. They ended up being a huge success and sparked the idea for her now famous sensory boxes. “As I was talking with families in the community, I was hearing about birthday parties being cancelled and parents looking for options to still be able to make it special. That’s when I connected with Tiffany Lund Custom Cakes & Desserts and reached out to Rubiano’s to see if we could partner and offer an at-home party package for those that had to cancel their big plans.” In April, the trio introduced their party packages, which continue to remain popular to this day.
Since March, Mariah has developed her website where she offers an online toy store, party packages, mama shop, care packages, and sensory boxes. “The playdough sensory boxes have been quite a hit, so I started a monthly subscription box and now ship them nationwide,” said Mariah. The Playhouse Brentwood also has a pop-up style booth inside of Ruiano’s, along with Tiffany Lund, on Saturdays during the farmer’s market so customers can visit and see Mariah’s sparkly creations in-person. She also participates in pop-ups at local wineries, stores, and various other venues and events around town.
Despite her plans being drastically delayed, Mariah still hopes to be able to open her doors to the public as soon as it’s safe to do so. “When I do open up, there will be a few tweaks. I will have a bigger toy store than previously planned and continue the playdough boxes and subscriptions. I can’t wait to open our doors and meet so many people that I’ve been getting to know online!”
Business: The Playhouse Brentwood
Address: Brentwood, CA 94513
Tel: (925) 306-7881
Photos by: Ron Essex Photography