I became obsessed with all things eco-friendly this time last year. Vanity Fair released a "green" issue probably because it was the celebrity-cause trend of the moment courtesy of Al Gore and I'm sure that Earth Day was also a prevalent excuse. Nevermind that the thick magazine was enough to bring more than a few trees down, but it did have thought provoking articles covering topics like a person's carbon footprint throughout a typical day and statistics on how many acres are destroyed each year just to make toilet paper (500,000 acres of Canadian trees are chopped down each year just for t.p. alone). I jumped whole heartedly into unplugging every electronic item at my house, changing all the light bulbs to energy efficient ones, and starting a recycling program at my then job. A year later, the swirly bulbs are still burning bright, but my over eagerness into the venture died down until it eventually tapered off completely. This year I plan on cutting back on the amount of bags I receive when shopping. When shopping for anything from DVDs to clothing to groceries, those plastic or paper bags are only used for an average of 29 minutes before they are discarded to a landfill. As I am a crazy consumer, I will probably make a big impact by denying those bags whenever possible--I probably don't need six different bags when perusing the mall if all the items fit into one. You see, when going green, it's all about baby steps.
That might be a good tag line for one of Tulsa's newest stores, Lundeby's Eco Baby, 3638 South Peoria. Open since March 22, Lundeby's is a place to find eco-friendly, non-toxic, organic and/or fair trade items for moms and babies. Lundeby's is the brainchild of Tiffany and Jeremy Bjorlie, a young couple who moved to Tulsa in August. As Tiffany was making a home and contemplating starting a family, she began researching brands and items that were environmentally safe for homes and babies. When she realized that all of these items weren't available locally, only through online shopping, tactile Tiffany saw an opportunity and Lundeby's was born.
The couple wanted a family name, and Lundeby is the surname of Jeremy's grandmother, a woman whose interest in activism (she joined the Peace Corp at age 60!) inspired both him and Tiffany. The couple slowly started changing over their own life to be as organic and carbon neutral as possible. Their well-rounded knowledge initiated the idea to originally build a go-to store for all things organic, non-toxic and fairly traded, but the possibilities of products to carry were endless. Tiffany's years spent working and studying about children with autism inspired her to focus on making a store centralized to babies and mothers. While neurological disorders like autism can be genetic, research also shows that it can be attributed to their environment. Tiffany raises the point that if it's marketed "for a baby, it's gotta be safe, right?" But from the clothes they wear, the diapers they need and the toys that always go directly into their mouths, their young developing systems are being exposed to a plethora of unnatural chemicals whose effects may not yet be known.
So what can you expect when going to Lundeby's Eco Baby? For anyone connected to procreating (moms, moms to be, family, friends, etc), the store's raw wood shelves hold a lot to catch the eye.
But I, as a non-baby owner and product junkie, went straight for the body products. The Vermont Organic Soap line has liquid soaps, foaming hand soap and good old fashioned bars in smells like oatmeal lavender, citrus sunrise, aloe baby and honey. The Bee Bar Hand and Body Lotion is a wax bar that looks intended to wax a surfboard but is actually lavender or bee bar scented lotion that comes in a little tin. There's also Magpie Potions lip balms and salves. For those with wee ones, there are organic baby wipes and natural baby lotions, washes and sun protection from I Dream Baby.
And when it comes to baby hygiene, nothing is more important than the diaper. The diapers made of organic cotton and hemp cannot only be flushed down the toilet, but as Tiffany informed me, can hold a lot of fluid. The store also plans to carry a line of wool diaper covers that, while they sound scratchy and hot, are apparently very breathable and keep a baby extra dry and um, can once again, they can hold a lot of liquid. Mothers can appreciate that feature and I can appreciate the sweet little designs that are featured on the other diaper covers.
All the textile items are pretty chic. The sizes range from zero to 3T and Tiffany hopefully plans to extend the size range to 4T in the fall. Just as in any other baby retail store, you'll find items for boys and girls ranging from onesies and matching t-shirt and shorts sets to bibs, shoes, booties and hats. All of the lines proudly proclaim on the tags to be 100 percent cotton and several brag of using friendly dyes, being allergen free or fairly traded. Oh, and fairly traded regulates that these items were created by people who were paid fair salaries and worked fair hours for the imported products.
Under the Nile has cotton blankets that match light blue tops and bottoms with bear paw prints and light pink outfits with brown bunnies. They seem to match well with the Daisy Roots shoes, a UK company that created chrome-free leather, a trait they claim is "good for baby, wildlife and watercourses." The Kate Quinn Organics line has a great color selection with outfits in royal purple, chartreuse, mauve and oatmeal. The onesies feature graphics like peacocks or wild flowers. Scout's fair trade tees and shorts come in interesting shades of the primary colors--gold, cornflower blue and faded red. They are striped or solid, but all feature thick stitched appliqués of boats or animals that look aboriginal.
These items are definitely more hip than they are hippie dippie. American Apparel recently debuted a line of organic cotton tees and Lundeby's has the baby attire with great graphics of peace signs and true earth-loving symbols. For moms, there are baby slings made from organic cotton that are comfortable for both mother and baby.
In addition to the baby clothes, there is a wide selection of baby toys that don't threaten to be recalled anytime soon and are safe for baby to slobber on all day. This includes stuffed animals and bedding that matches the stuffed animals. Brands like Cotton Monkey, Q Collection Junior and Coyuchi have crib sheets, mattress pads, changing table pads and more bedding accoutrement made from organic cotton. And they fall in line with the trend for baby things to be wonderfully cutesy--the embroidery on some of these feature elephants, giraffes, monkeys, flowers and flamingos. They are also gender neutral-an important feature if the baby's sex will be a surprise. Finish out the baby's room with a baby basinet that is so rustic, charming and organic that it looks like it was crafted on a farm in 1806.
So far, Tulsa has shown great reception to the store, being popular with both Brookside patrons, but also people from Bixby and Broken Arrow. It is refreshing especially since descriptive words like organic and eco-friendly are unfairly stigmatized as being costly. Really the prices are no different than if you went to Baby Gap or bought bedding from Pottery Barn Kids, only these prices include that the garment workers in India were paid fairly and the men and women in the cotton fields weren't inhaling chemical pesticides. Tiffany and Jeremy look thoroughly into the background of the products Lundeby's carries. For instance, recycled items are great for the environment, but not necessarily for a newborn's immune system; bamboo cloth sounds ecologically friendly, but is almost entirely made from chemicals. They opt for items generally made in the United States, but Tiffany said she would love to find more items from right here in Tulsa, a trait great for the city and for reducing that carbon footprint. She is currently working with a local company that makes soy candles and a woman in Henryetta that makes organic baby items.
The store is open Monday through Saturday, 10am-6pm, with Sundays open when possible. You can also visit the Lundeby's Web site, www.lundebys.com, to find out more information about the store.
On a related note, hope you celebrated Earth Day!
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