Barley & Birch: Reader Discount!

posted on: Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Remember my sustainable baby registry post from a few days ago? There was a pretty darling onesie on it sporting some chic cacti from Barley & Birch, a kid's fashion brand that's about as sustainable as you can get in terms of its production and materials quality, and their nature-inspired designs ROCK. They also have a wonderful blog that explores sustainability from many angles, and includes DIY projects and inspiration for readers.

When brands are transparent about their practices, it makes shopping so much easier for customers trying to be more conscious. 

I am thrilled to team up with Barley & Birch to share a discount code with you for their online shop - from now till the end of 2016, you can use the code MEANTGREEN2016 for an extra 15% off your order!

Before I share some of my favorite pieces from them, it's important to me to highlight what it is about Barley & Birch that can change the fashion game. Here's their mission statement on how they view sustainability from not just an environmental view, but also socially and economically as well:

"Environmentally, we decided to make every single facet of the line carbon neutral. Not only do we offset any emissions created by production and shipping, but we work with manufacturers and suppliers that are largely powered by solar energy. We chose only certified organic cotton and water-based inks, so we do not pollute the air and water with chemicals. We are made in the United States, so we do not emit the massive amount of carbon associated with trans-ocean shipping. We are largely paper-free and any paper involved with the line is 100% post-consumer recycled. Essentially, we chose to go beyond the level of convenience to be fair to our planet and to our customers.

Socially, we give at least 15% of our profits to a variety of organizations working all over the world to improve the lives of others. We fund everything from educating rural farmers on sustainable agriculture to providing shelter to victims of abuse. We are proud to aid in the growth of justice and equality throughout the world."

B&B does nature-inspired and fun prints SO well. Here are some pieces from them that spoke to my sense of design (many of these come in short sleeve styles as well, and kid Ts!) I'd definitely put my little boy in all of these, once he gets here!

A Simple Baby Registry

posted on: Saturday, May 21, 2016

Plastic. Neon. Loud. I'm either describing an 80's hair band or the mass of modern baby things on the market. I've spent the better part of this spring researching for what we really believe we need for our little boy (and any others that come along!) without sacrificing our personal style and sustainability values.  I'm pretty picky about what I put in my living space, and my goal here is to have a home that doesn't immediately showcase that a baby also lives with us. 

Moving beyond design/taste into the world of marketing, sustainable products are barely regulated in our country and that makes it very difficult to cut through the "green washing" and find out who is walking the walk.

Here is a disclaimer on this post: 
Using an item for a second-time around is a great option for saving financial and natural resources in children's products - but the catch is that they may be made with materials that aren't as safe as they could be. This post is about what we would like to purchase new for baby boy, and supporting brands that are reaching for sustainability in production, materials, and throughout the lifecycle of the item. 

I have spent the last few years trying to make minimalism part of how I evaluate my daily life. When we need to buy, how can my little family buy less but buy better - especially for our baby? 

Now the baby doesn't care what we dress him in or bathe him with, but as he grows up I want him to see how we think about the things we use everyday. What is it made of? How was it made? Will it last? All things have a story.

Our main criteria are:

1) Must be visually pleasing and not clash with everything else in the house. I realize this could be seen as a very surface-level requirement, but I work hard to create uncluttered spaces that make us happy and fit our style.

2) Be durable and made of strong materials like real woods, rubbers, organic cotton or wool. You would not believe the amount of nasty things that end up in plastic, foam and many other things sold as baby-safe by marketing in the USA. 

3) Made to last. I realize kids are tough on things, but I aim to find clothes, toys and furniture that are tougher.

4) Support fair trade and/or American design, manufacturing, and small business.

Here are some of our favorite finds and brands so far. We are using an online registry called Baby List to place our favorite internet finds in one place, and take the research burden off those who who'd like to support us when it comes to sustainable baby products. You'll see that not all are 100% organic/made in the USA/uber-sustainable, but the vast-majority are. All of the links below go straight to the values/production side of the product so you can quickly see what these brands are all about!
Finn & Emma: 100% G.O.T.S. certified organic cotton; eco-friendly inks and dyes; made in India via fair trade principles and living wage jobs.
Stokke: How cool for a high chair to be able to bring baby to the table with the family, not take up tons of room, and  grow with them until they are large enough to not need a special chair? Designed over 40 years ago, this high chair is a "human centric" focus on design from Scandinavia. Sustainability  and longevity of their product is Stokke's "vision, mission, and goal."

Barely & Birch: "100% organic cotton that is grown by a co-op in Texas, with a carbon-neutral production line.
The cotton is spun, knit, and sewn in North Carolina where we print it with vibrant, nontoxic, water based inks."

Etsy: Bibdanas from a small Georgia business, and made-in-the-USA

PujA foldable, PVC and BPA-free baby tub that can fit in smaller sinks. Perfect for apartment dwellers like us. Designed by US parents.
Blueberry: Where you wondering when I was going to talk about diapers? Yes, we are going to attempt cloth, though we aren't sure if we're doing a cloth diaper service or not yet. I went with a one-size brand to avoid having to purchase multiple sizes.

Sustainablebabyish: I am experimenting with a couple of different diaper covers to see what works.  These are knit wool diaper covers from √∂ko-tex certified wool yarns

BabymosesbasketOur little one will sleep here until he can roll over. The palm basket is free of dyes and sprays, and is shown here with an organic cotton futon. Once he outgrows it, we plan on turning it into his toy basket. Sold on Etsy.
CoyuchiFair Trade USA organic swaddlers that become mama's scarves later.

Land of Nod: Such a great site for all things baby, but I particularly love their plastic-free toy selection. This artful stacker is made of linden and beech woods with non-toxic water based dyes and natural oils.
And there you have it! There is more on our full list, but this captures most of the brands and ideals  there. Once we have his nursery corner set up (when we get our new home at the end of this month), I will dive into more space-saving and minimalist design ideas!

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