While attending the Green Expo in New York last month I came across the Bum Bossa. After speaking with the founder and creator Sonja Sheasley for only a brief moment I learned so much that I insisted on interviewing her for MPR Blog! Continue reading to learn more about Sonja and Bum Boosa.
How did the idea for Bum Boosa® come about?
Bum Boosa really came about because of my interest in making natural products. After my husband Kent and I had our two boys in 2003 and 2005, I began to pay more attention to the ingredients list on skin care products that I was buying for my family. Not really liking what I saw on most ingredients lists, I became interested in making my own natural products. I took some classes at the Sandwich Village Herb Shoppe taught by Linda Patterson, a Master Herbalist and expert in essential oils, and I became passionate about making things like lotion, natural soap, lip balm, insect repellent, and all kinds of healing salves. I enjoyed blending essential oils and herbs and taught myself how to imitate all kinds of skin care products on store shelves….but always a more natural and version with healing properties. My kitchen turned into a laboratory and my entire house smelled like an herb shop. I started a little business called Aroma Waves and sold my products at farmers’ markets. Eventually I decided to try to make my own baby wipes with a natural solution. One night, while googling recipes for homemade wipes, I learned that most wet wipes on the market are not only full of harsh chemical preservatives, but most are made from plastic. I read how they are made from tiny plastic pellets that are melted down and sprayed through something called spinarettes, that look like shower heads, and made into sheets of synthetic fiber. We throw over 40 billion individual sheets of wet wipes into landfills every year just in the USA alone. I feel like we have a responsibility to stop disposable products, like wipes, from being made from plastic. The more I thought about it, the more I became propelled into the idea of mass producing baby wipes made from plant based material with a more natural solution.
What was the scariest part about starting your own business and the best advice you received when getting started?
I would say the amount of responsibility I felt and still feel as a result of knowing my products are out there in the hands of consumers. That is why it is so important to me to make sure our products are safe and they are what we say they are. In the beginning, it was like bringing a newborn home from the hospital. I had that feeling that no one ever prepares you for…. that sobering moment when you realize that are you in charge. That was the kind of trepidation that I had in the beginning. But that feeling is a consequence of how seriously I take my job and my products. Just like being a new mom, though, it gets easier over time and confidence increases.
The best advice I received was to remember to step away from the business from time to time. Loving your business so much that you’re available 24-7 isn’t necessarily a good thing. Sometimes my best ideas come when I am switched off from work.
What are people saying about Bum Boosa Bamboo products, especially fellow Moms?
We get feedback and questions from customers all the time, and we take pride in the fact that we are willing to spend time with our customers on the phone or via email correspondence. I love the fact that we get so many compliments about our customer service!
Our customers keep coming back …sometimes for different reasons. Some of them appreciate our environmental mission and that we use facilities that operate on renewable energy, some care more about the fact that we use safe ingredients. Some simply love the way our wipes and diaper rash ointment smell! Some people feel strongly about buying a USA made product. I’ve heard from many customers that stay with us just because our wipes have halted chronic diaper rash in their house.
Where do you sell your products?
We have a strong online presence, such as Amazon, Drugstore.com, Ecomom.com, Abe’s Marketplace, our own website, and others. Our wipes are also sold at Big Y World Markets in western Massachusetts and Connecticut, and at many, many independent natural food stores and baby boutiques along the east coast through our distributor. We’ve also been exporting to small distributors in Australia, Canada, Columbia, and the Cayman Islands.
What is your favorite part about being involved in Bum Boosa®?
My favorite part of being involved in Bum Boosa® is knowing that we have helped educate consumers. Even if they didn’t end up buying our products, they learned that there are choices out there, not just the ones big corporations thrust on us store shelf after store shelf. I really believe that we are making a difference in that way.
For more information visit: http://bumboosa.com/
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