By ELYN HIRNI
Five and a half years ago, shake-ups in her university career led Shera Oyervides, the eco-friendly cloth-diaper manufacturer and retailer who owns Fabulously Eco, to take her favorite hobby – sewing her daughters’ cloth diapers made from hemp – and turn it into a successful business that would benefit the Warrensburg area. She currently sells her brand of cloth diapers, Dulce’s Wrappers, out of her retail store, Fabulously Eco, along with many other eco-friendly brands of women’s health and baby-care products.
To get her business going, Oyervides wanted to start off in the most bustling part of town where her store could easily catch the eye of a passerby, Holden Street.
“I wanted that place on Holden so badly, and I did it, but it was hard,” Oyervides said.
Oyervides worked tirelessly and never gave up, splitting her time and attention between what were essentially two households, managing her business, her family and herself. Even when she gave birth to another child, she was back at work two days later. After many difficult months, Oyervides woke up one morning and decided to place the business in her house and come home.
“I had a fantastic landlord and a wonderful location,” Oyervides said. “I made many great memories and got my business going. I know I lost a lot of customers with the move, but I’m trying to combat that with online sales.”
Since Fabulously Eco’s move in early November 2013 from Holden Street to the quieter East Culton Street, business has been slow.
“It’s been tough getting things back in order,” Oyervides said. “My sewing studio’s a mess, there’s fabric all over the floor…”
In addition to her cloth diapers, Fabulously Eco sells a wide range of eco-friendly female and baby care products, including baby carriers and babywearing devices, menstrual cups, cloth menstrual pads, breastfeeding products, lactation support, breast pads, nipple creams, locally made products such as hand-made soaps and lotions, natural hand sanitizers, and essential oils. Oyervides’s reasons for selling these products are multifaceted, but the main reason is that Americans spend a lot of money on environmentally damaging throwaway products.
“The majority of my customers come from the (military) base, but I want to make connections with college and high school girls who may not know that this place and these options exist,” Oyervides said.
Many people are also unaware of the benefits of cloth diapers until they consult with Oyervides about her products.
“The average disposable diaper family will spend about $3,000, from birth to potty-trained, on just one kid,” Oyervides said. “Cloth diaper families, on the other hand, spend about $700, including laundering the diapers themselves and the accessories, all of which you get to keep for the next kid, too, because they last for years with the proper care.”
Not only are cloth diapers more financially accommodating, they are also more environmentally friendly than the chemical-filled disposable diapers, which are simply dumped into landfills, waste and all.
“They’re part plastic, part tree-pulp, part bleach…” Oyervides said. “People just don’t know what to do with them.”
Oyervides also said that many of the same issues with disposable diapers are the same with disposable menstrual products.
“Think of all these chemicals that women are putting against the most sensitive part of their body,” Oyervides said, “and then, we’re dealing with babies.”
One of Oyervides’s favorite products that she sells at Fabulously Eco is the sea-sponge tampon, which also acts as a barrier method for birth control for women wanting to avoid hormonal birth control when paired with spermicide and fertility tracking.
A brand that Oyervides promotes in her shop is Mother Love Herbals, which sells capsules, tinctures, salves and oils catering to a variety of mothers’ needs.
Some of these needs include breastfeeding mothers who need to increase supply of breast milk (for reasons such as hormonal imbalances and insufficient breast tissue), nipple cream for post-birth nipple lacerations, preggo-belly salves to cover up stretch marks, baby oils, salves for bugbites and balm for hemorrhoids.
Oyervides also sells all kinds of teas from Earth Mama Angel Baby, including No-More Milk tea to cease breast-feeding, tea for heartburn, and Morning-Wellness tea to cure morning sickness.
One of the most important types of products that Oyervides’s store sells are the baby-wearing wraps and devices provided by a variety of brands.
“They’re useful, they facilitate breastfeeding and bonding, and they make the job as a mom easier,” Oyervides said. “Most moms around here carry their babies around in a baby-bucket.”
Oyervides said that baby-wearing is especially important for working moms because that time with baby is even more important when they’re at daycare all day.
“I’ve even seen a mom with triplets use the Wrapsody baby-carriers to hold one baby on each hip and the other on her back,” Oyervides said.
In addition to retail of important reusable products like cloth diapers and baby-wearing devices, Oyervides offers classes on how to use these products for new moms. Cloth Diapers 101 is at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, and Babywearing 101 is at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25.
To increase her knowledge base and to become a more effective counselor and teacher for the Warrensburg community, Oyervides is going to a conference for baby wearing educators and retailers as well as starting her education as a certified lactation educator.
“I do lots of breastfeeding counseling, I’ve breastfed all of my nurslings for over four years each and I’m currently breastfeeding two,” Oyervides said. “But having certification would give me more credibility in the community.”
To get in touch with Oyervides for counseling and advice, visit her Facebook page, Holistic Parents for Fabulously Eco and Greater Warrensburg. Fabulously Eco is located at 208 W. Culton St. and is open from 1:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.