Archive for Local Economy

It’s Kind of Like Sending Your Baby Off to College (OR, Lindsay’s Farewell Love Letter)

I have to be brutally honest here. This is a love letter to all of you, Babes in Arms’ customers. Forgive me if I get overly mushy, please.

The past five years of my life have been pretty unbelievable. I had secretly dreamed of owning a store since I was a kid, but I never believed that it was a real possibility. When the idea for Babes in Arms first came to me (when Neko was nine months old), it was simply, “I’m learning all these things (don’t wash your diapers in Gain; the baby’s knees should be up, not dangling while you wear her in the wrap; how to use a ring sling; which cloth diapers actually work at night) the hard way – and I’m so lucky to have resources like La Leche League and the Attachment Parents Village Calgary… what if there were a place in Calgary where parents could go and get the help they need with baby carriers and cloth diapers, and know that they were getting correct information, in a way that really helped them?”

The store always wanted to exist, and so, no matter how many times I told myself it was impossible, it came into being anyway. People appeared who had the same idea and the motivation and resources to make it happen, together. Once the ball was rolling, everything happened fast.

Babes in Arms was born in June 2007, when Neko was just 18 months old. We opened the doors to our first location in December 2007.

Some of you know us from that first year, when we had a 120 sq-ft. office space in the Birth Partnership midwives’ office. This was an amazing opportunity for us to start out. Starting small allowed us to manage our growth rather than growing too big, too fast. In those days, we were only open Tuesdays-Thursdays, and Saturdays! The best part of being in our first location was that we got to know our first clients on a very personal basis, seeing them through their pregnancies and up to their six-week post-partum appointment. People would regularly stop in just to chat. It was so lovely. Many friendships were born in that first year of business.

Jaime came on board in late 2008, and we have been partners ever since. Soon after, we moved into our current location in Mayfair Place. It has been an absolutely amazing four years of growth and change. We have changed our product categories somewhat, and brought in so many new and exciting products as well! We have extended our hours and welcomed many new staff. From the days when it was just two owners running the store front, we have grown now to two owners, a babywearing instructor, and nine staff members.

But, things are about to change. Jaime and I are each preparing ourselves for new opportunities and challenges come 2013. As of the new year, I will no longer be a co-owner of Babes in Arms. The store will be moving ahead without me, in the skilled and visionary hands of Jaime alone. Don’t worry! This doesn’t actually mean any changes for you, our clients! Our vision will remain the same. We will always remain committed to supporting families in attachment-based parenting and a more simple, natural and beautiful way of living. We will be in the same location, with the same staff, and the same commitment to education and service.

I might still stick around, in the store, for a while. Or, I might not. We don’t know yet. I’ll still be around, though. I have plans to continue to be involved in the attachment parenting and new parents world in Calgary, along with a few other career plans, and focusing more wholly on homeschooling Neko (who is now nearly seven!).

So, in short (she says, at the end of a really long post), I want to thank you all, sincerely. I have made so many amazing friends through Babes in Arms. I have met so many really incredible people whom I would not have had the good fortune to meet otherwise. You all scoff when I tell you I feel bad for not remembering each of your names, but it’s true – I feel like I know each one of you, and it feels strange when I can’t remember your name, because you are each so familiar to me. Every one of you has made this experience so wonderful, and I mean that.

Naturally – Mother Nature’s Trade Fair

Once again, on January 16 2011, we will be offering baby carrier lending at Naturally – Mother Nature’s Trade Fair, from the planners of the Mommylicious trade fairs. Babes in Arms has been running the stroller check and carrier lending area since August 2010 and we are thrilled to have committed to providing this service for every one of their awesome, FREE trade fairs in 2011!

New class series for new parents in Calgary

Some of you may know that we partner with a variety of local, mom-owned businesses who share our values and vision. These include, among a few others, Room to Grow, First Step Nutrition, Little Wonders, Full Circle Parenting and Baby Busy. With these businesses we work together to offer our clients discounts, and we also do trade fairs together and share marketing at times.

Our newest shared initiative was dreamed up as we discussed education options for new parents in Calgary. As an expectant or new parent you can take classes on breastfeeding, basic baby care, and bonding, as well as baby sign, baby massage, babywearing and cloth diapering. But if you take a class series you will generally learn the basics – how to bathe, feed, change and care for a new baby. These basics classes do not delve into post-partum fitness, baby massage, baby sign, babywearing, cloth diapering, and so on, at least not in much depth. For those topics you could choose to take a bunch of separate classes… or what if there was one series that brought all these topics together? You could learn all these extra skills that make life as a parent so much easier and more enjoyable while getting to know a close-knit group of other new parents and parents-to-be.

Thus was born Beyond Basics for New Parents, the class series that takes you beyond the basic survival skills you need, into the skills that will help you thrive in your new role as a parent. Not only will you meet other parents with babies around the same age (or who are due around the same time), you’ll save by taking the classes as a series instead of individually at different locations.

Beyond Basics for New Parents is a 7-week series that includes the following topics:

  1. Bonding and sleep
  2. Babywearing
  3. Infant massage
  4. Post-partum fitness (and a dad’s pub night!)
  5. Nutrition for breastfeeding, starting solids
  6. Cloth diapering
  7. Series wrap party with Miss Natalie of Little Wonders (including early literacy and baby sign language)

The class is open to expectant parents and parents of babies six months and under. More information can be found at Room to Grow and interested parties can register here.

Healthy Families, Healthy Planet report – link

Here is the afore-mentioned report – enjoy, and feel free to share the link!

http://www.reapcalgary.com/ir/documents/4/f/8/Healthy_Family_Healthy_Planet_Report.pdf

REAP releases “Healthy Families, Healthy Planet” Report

For Immediate Release April 2, 2010:  Calgary’s first Healthy Families, Healthy Planet Report will be released on Saturday April 10th by REAP, Calgary’s only sustainable business association.

“Regularly, I receive inquiries from concerned parents asking for information about how to detoxify their homes,” says Stephanie Jackman, the president of REAP.  “This report is our response – providing people with relevant information and specific local resources to protect their health, their children’s health, and the health of the planet.”

Green Calgary Association, another Calgary-based environmental not-for-profit, has also identified a need for this information. Lauren Mangion, Advisor for the Healthy Homes program and Eco-Coach with Conscious Home says, “Through our work with the Healthy Homes program, we find a real demand for clear and concise information regarding raising a child in a sustainable manner. For many new families, bringing a child into the world serves as a living connection to the need for long-term thinking in our behaviors and lifestyle.”

The “Healthy Families, Healthy Planet” Report will highlight the top things that directly impact the wellness of your children and the environment: where they sleep, what they eat, bath products, toys, air quality, and suggest practical ways and local resources for families to reduce their effects.

“For many people, bringing a child into their life is a real catalyst in thinking about their home environment, the things they buy, and how those things are affecting their family’s health as well as the earth,” says Lindsay Ross, owner of Babes In Arms. “We hope this report will condense the information for parents in a meaningful way and make it easier to pinpoint the areas where they can make changes.”

In three complementary surveys of 4,500+ Canadians, McAllister Opinion Research discovered that 80% of Canadians say that sustainability is a top (20%) or high (60%) priority, and concern and caring for our children is the top reason to adopt sustainability as a national goal.

Stephanie Jackman of REAP and Lindsay Ross of Babes In Arms will be among the panelists presenting the “Healthy Families, Healthy Planet” Report and answering questions about detoxifying your home at the Downtown Calgary Public Library, April 10 at noon.

The launch of the “Healthy Families, Healthy Planet” Report is just one part of REAP’s Down to Earth Week, a six day celebration of sustainable living in Calgary.

About REAP
REAP – Respect for the Earth and All People – wants to help educate Calgarians that day-to-day decisions can help create a more sustainable future.  REAP Members are Calgary businesses that make ethical business decisions – buying green power, paying their employees a living wage, supporting local suppliers and giving back to their community – because they believe in corporate social responsibility.

About Babes In Arms
Babes In Arms’ mission is to provide products and services to new and expecting parents that support bonding and attachment via breastfeeding and babywearing, as well as organic and/or sustainable options for products such as toys, diapers and skincare.

Customer Feedback Survey

If you’re a customer or you live in or near Calgary and have a baby in your life, please take a couple of quick minutes to take our customer feedback survey! This will help us improve our service and selection for the benefit of our current and future clients. Thank you!! (Oh, did I mention there is a reward at the end?)

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/babesinarms

See Us This Weekend at Folk Fest

header-logoWe’re at the Calgary Folk Festival Arts Market all this weekend, hooking Folk Fest revellers up with slings and other awesome things. Come see us in the booth to see the new Gypsy Mama Bali Baby Breeze wraps and water wraps, plus skincare products by Natural Creation and mei tais and longies (wool diaper covers made from recycled wool sweaters) by Practical Bebe – all brand new to the store! We’re not charging GST all weekend (at our booth). Checked us out at the Folk Fest but we didn’t have what you wanted in our booth? Come into the store with your Folk Fest wristband before the end of August and save the GST on your in-store purchase!

31 Ways to Jump Start Local Economy

I’ve just posted a new article under Resources on our webpage. Check it out!

31 Ways to Jump Start Local Economy (Yes! Magazine)

Spotlight on fakesweatshop toys

There was just a great write-up on Serena and her fakesweatshop stuffed toys on the Calgary Public Library Eco-Action blog. Check it out!

Serena's love kitties

Serena's love kitties

Did I mention we joined REAP?

I don’t think I did. Even though it’s been all I’ve been thinking of for the past month and I am really giddy about it.

So, here is the deal. REAP Calgary is a “not-for-profit association of Calgary businesses that are concerned with issues of sustainability.” Perusing their list of member businesses is a great way to make sure you’re using your dollar vote wisely – keeping your money local, and supporting causes and practices you can believe in.

The REAP website is also a great resource for information about sustainability in general. There are articles, event listings and resources to help you, specifically as a Calgarian, go green. Happy browsing!