(Left) Paula and her daughter Emily take her son Erick away to college this past Fall. (Above) Paula's oldest daughter Kristin.
I’ve been at this business for 20 years now. It has grown up right alongside my three children, who are all now adults.
2014 Update: It's now with a little sadness that I must say that after a few hard knocks these past few years, I'm currently re-evaluating the business and how it might be possible to continue it. Maybe this will involve an alliance with others, or parlaying my long-time cloth diapering and natural baby products expertise in other ways. You'll find most items on clearance during this process, and inventory has been pared down. The drop in the economy in 2008 hit hard; then, after belatedly downsizing, my dear son was pretty horrifically injured in what was to be a simple surgery (and is still recovering 3.5 years later). Finally, we lost our affordable retail space in 2012 due to it being sold. It felt like "three strikes, you're out!" - but for better or for worse, I refused to go out. So much of me has been so deeply involved in the mission of the business for so long that it seemed impossible to step back. I decided to take the business back home and return to online sales, which has presented it's own complexity, as the marketplace is very different now, what with the Amazons and large manufacturers operating retail sites. Meanwhile, I've taken on other satisfying part time work to make ends meet. Prayers during this time are welcome. I decided to leave much of the following "About Us" text and parental encouragement intact from the original site.
Just wait, new moms and dads of precious little babies! They will grow and change right before your very eyes, in a continual transformation that doesn’t end for at least 18 years.
And know that in your heart they will still remain your “babies”--even if they do end up taller than you are (my son towers over me!). Still delighting you, in different ways; still inspiring feelings of wonderment and pride; still existing within that bond of mutual love which you set into motion from the beginning. Take time to enjoy each phase of the journey, for no phase lasts long. Enjoy the unique talents and ways of being that each child brings. There is a profound sense of satisfaction I feel in having my children reach adulthood as happy, centered and confident people who contribute in a positive way to the world. And I know without a doubt that the simple words my dad told me as to how to parent successfully -- “Just love them!” -- is indeed the key. I have seen with my own kids as well as others that the greatest influence in the long run comes from you - your own love towards them, your respect towards them, how you live your life - these can trump the many questionable values you might worry about as I did, that are put forth in today’s society.
Babyworks has grown up, too.
Our first catalog was a trifold brochure - yes, an 8-1/2”x11” piece of paper folded into thirds, containing a single set of products - Nikky Diaper Covers, which I hoped I could entice people back to cloth diapers with. The pen and ink drawings were done by a neighborhood mom. There was no internet; it was real mail order. I worked from
home for the first 10 years, with a 7 year old and a new baby, and then another baby two years later, and then an employee. We grew at the speed of the tortoise, not the hare, as my number one priority was my children, so there were many distractions. My desire, my vision and my faith pulled me steadily forward, through ups and downs and various learning curves - just as with parenting!
Now our mission is to bring you a complete line of products that are top quality and which support a healthy lifestyle for you and your baby—and for the earth! We don’t carry products because they “seem like a good idea” and especially not because they are the latest gadget – we carry products that have been tested and found top notch by a majority of people, products which we hope will support and enhance your parenting experience.
We do our best to research the working conditions and other particulars of products we carry. While we’re mostly a mail order/internet/telephone business, we do have retail hours here in Portland so you can come in to shop. Directions and hours are located on our retail store page.
Once again, we want to give a heartfelt thanks to you, our customers, for your continued support. We believe our customers must be some of the nicest people on the planet!
All the best,
and the rest of the Babyworks team