Maria & Sy

Founders of Nook


Maria Vogelei

Maria holds an MBA from Georgetown University. She is a mother of 3 kids (4, 2, <1) and lives in Arlington, VA.

In 2016, Maria left a successful career in marketing and branding to create Nook:

“I was frustrated with the play space options available to my daughter and me. They all seemed to speak in outdated generalizations: pinks, blues, and brightly colored plastic toys crammed in loud, chaotic spaces. I often found myself standing against a wall, counting down the minutes that would justify the cost of admission. Having struggled for years to start a family, I didn’t want to be sidelined for my daughters’ experience of play. This time is so precious and fleeting and important not only to my kids’ development, but also to my growth as a woman and a mom—so I set out to create a brand that elevates family-friendly and reflects back to families, through high-end design, just how important this time is.”


Seo Yun “Sy” Yang

Sy holds an AB from Harvard University and law degrees from Columbia and McGill. She is a mother of 3 kids (5, 3, <1) and lives in Bethesda, MD.

“Becoming a parent for the first time, I felt really disoriented. I thought I was a creator of life and family, but so many institutions made me feel like as a mom, I was there to simply do a ‘job’. I wanted to create a space that recognized the reality of having young kids, but also saw me as a modern woman — a space where parents are people, too. I didn’t ‘press pause’ on my life to have a family and raise my kids. My family life is my life and I wanted to create an experience and a community that truly celebrates and makes meaningful space for family.”