Eco Baby Box all started because of Nugget (Ollie) we found out we were expecting in September 2019... at the time I was studying full time (BA Business) from home and suffering with PTSD after a traumatic event. I knew I wanted to work for myself because I could tailor the job around both family and my mental health needs, and with Ollie on the way an Eco Baby Boutique and Organic gift shop in Devon seemed the perfect fit.
Whilst I was pregnant, and then in lockdown, I was was busy building the business plan, market research, trialling products, placing orders for the following year (scary!!) whilst juggling my final year.
Ollie was born right in the thick of the first lockdown April 2020 and a few months after, we moved to the beautiful town of Ottery St Mary In East Devon. My mums side of the family grew up here and some are still here. (and I can see why) it really felt like the perfect home for us to raise Ollie surrounded by so many woodland walks and closer to our family.
Eco Baby Box launched online in February 2021 and in June 2021 we made the decision to open a store, with the store opening its doors September 2021.
For me it was important to be more than just a store. I wanted it to be somewhere that was warm and inviting... kid friendly, a place where new parents could take a break, weigh their baby, change or nurse somewhere comfortable, a safe space someone could come if they were struggling and needed a friendly voice, or just wanted to leave the house (we've all been there), a shop where we had the facilities to make shopping less of a chore with toddlers in toe! Less daunting (especially in the early days) or somewhere just to rest your feet if you're tired on the way home from town.
Inside we have a changing station, a rocking chair that can be used for nursing, feeding, settling baby, sitting for a chat or resting your feet. A baby weighing station that has measuring chart we are working in partnership with Devon Public Health Nursing. A carpentry bench in the main store and various Montessori inspired toys that children can play with in the main shop.
Although we can't offer professional advice we can offer personal advice if you ask and typically we can signpost you too where you need to be to get help or support.
We introduced rent a shelf to bring in a range of other talented businesses instore. Every one of the people instore are carefully selected based on their commitment to sustainability. For those who are in the beginning of their journey we've been able to work with them to reduce their waste as a business. We believe we've have found the best across Devon! and some from further afield to bring something unique to the area.
Here we are nearly a year in (with our store). We've met some wonderful people from near and far and we look forward too welcoming you soon.
Nicci, Nugget & Karl
I wear many hats! But, by far my favourite is being a mum to a cheeky little munchkin we call Nugget (first craving)
A little about my experience: - I've previously managed an ecommerce store, been employed as a manager in two third party logistics companies, and, before I went back to University, I was a Service Delivery supervisor for a waste management company.
My happy place is definitely being by the sea. I'm a total water baby so I'm often watching the sunrise / set by the water somewhere or wild swimming. I've also become a massive fan of hunting for fossils, sea glass it's become a bit of an obsession haha. When I'm not doing this hopefully you'll find me either in the camper van, micro adventuring, roller skating (quads of course) or on a mountain somewhere.
Is my partner in crime, Ollie's father and a self-employed Carpenter and Joiner by trade in East Devon. Although he worked for a number of years for other people, he took the decision to go self-employed January 2020, when he established @elitecarpentry.Joinery.
Even with Elite Carpentry & Joinery taking off, he's been a very important part of this journey and is hugely involved behind the scenes. - whether this is helping to design the boxes or getting creative with photography and displays and most recently working with me too install our beautiful shop furniture which was designed and built by Karl with the prep and finish done by me. The furniture itself was made from reclaimed scaffold boards, cable drums, Barrels, birch faced ply, osb, and donated pallets from our neighbouring shop Abbots DIY
When he's not working he's busy hanging off a rock (either indoors or outdoors) cycling or tinkering
Is now 2 months off 2 years old although he is in the shop less these days as he has a day out with nana once a week, auntie Tania once a week and with the childminder 3 days when he is he is the best customer service I could ask for
He often plays amongst the kids who come in and use our play room and if you visit he will tell you aaall about it, occasionally shriek in delight... give you his cheeky smile, pass you a basket you or toy you didn't know you needed (thankfully you've all loved this so far) and wicked laugh and may even give you a wave if he isn't too tired.
Clapping, bashing items, pretend play such as making tea, cooking on the BBQ, playing with his play kitchen. Drawing using crayons on paper, drawing on his white board , cars and making Brum sounds. Puzzles, playing tidy up, hoovering, clapping along to nursery rhymes. Reading stories and turning the pages. Dancing to music, stacking items, working out how things work
He’s a dribble monster who plays rough, so he has definitely been the ideal tester and model to put the products through their paces. The brands we've chosen are because they are affordable, organic, soft on gentle skin, stretch to allow a growing baby /toddler the freedom to move without restrictions, wash up easily each time, easy to style, perfect for dribbly babies and able to withstand rough play.
Charitable Giving: -
In 2021 we donated £600 to charity both through financial donations, goods and services to support some local and national charities to help them to continue the valuable work they do.
Number of saplings planted within Europe 121
Commitment to Sustainability / Zero Waste: -
As a business we are constantly mindful of the waste produced and try to find alternatives / ways to reduce this. We carefully choose our products and companies we work with based on their commitment to fair treatment of their staff as well as their commitment to zero waste
Mum in Business Awards 2021 - Business mum of the year - Finalist
Exeter Living Awards 2022 - Retailer of the year - Winner.
Exeter Living Awards 2022 - Sustainability - Finalist
SME Awards 2022 - Baby Boutique Of The Year Devon - Winner
Muddy Stilettos 2022 - Best Sustainable Business in Devon - Finalist (top 5)
SME National Business Awards 2022 - Business Hero - Finalist