Baby Frenzy Caters to Natural Parenting
Retail Reality celebrates Baby Frenzy, a family-owned retail store in El Toro, Californiam run by Linda and Michal Byerline. The store is the public side of a cloth diapering manufacturer, Happy Heineys, that operates an upstairs manufacturing facility. The combination retailer/supplier educates local parents about the environmental and financial benefits of cloth diapering and other natural parenting methods, and the products available today that help save green in both the pocketbook and the environment! A growing trend has emerged where manufacturers of all sizes are exploring the options of retailing and wholesaling. We were happy to discover Baby Frenzy and Happy Heineys! Who do you know that combines both worlds successfully?
When and how did you get started in children’s retail?
We opened our retail store in Nov 2007 but we have been in business on the manufacturing side of things since January 2002.”
What was your background prior to this business?
Baby Frenzy our only focus was on our reusable diapering business, manufacturing Happy Heinys.”
What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting up?
Our biggest challenge that we faced has been public education. All of our products are based around natural parenting and although many parents want natural products we find they still need to be educated.”
What is one thing you would have done differently?
I would have “not” made any purchases. Since I have been out of the baby trenches for a little while I don’t quite know everything that is in. While my store manager purchases the same products yet different colors and we always sell out of her items.”
What do you feel are the three biggest keys to your success?
- Customer service.
- Community education. We have reusable diaper and baby wearing classes.
- Willingness to change for each customer and their needs.”
What types of marketing are most effective for your business?
Making sure we are listed on the manufacturers’ websites for the products we carry has proven to be extremely important.”
How do you evaluate and choose new product lines to pick up?
We have a couple main ways to do this but the most effective and most often used is customer requests. Many of our products that we carry we started carrying because a customer has requested them. We find if there is one customer asking there are usually 10 who want the same item.”
Do “green” or eco-friendly concerns weigh into your business decisions, and if so, how?
Absolutely, our entire product lines focuses on “green”. Whether it is breast feeding, using reusable diapers, organic clothing, natural remedies, natural toys or special lighting, air conditioners, or recycling we do our very best to maintain as eco friendly as possible.”
What is one trend you’re currently seeing with customers?
Parents want only the best for their children. Even though we are in the midst of a recession we find that parents will not scrimp on their babies. They want the most natural/organic items.”
How does your business make use of the Internet?
Although we do have a website for Baby Frenzy we do not have a webstore. Since we are still manufacturers with our own retailers it has been very important for us not to impact the market of our online retailers.”
What is one change/addition that’s had a positive impact for your business in the last year?
The new CPSIA standards have had a huge effect on our business not only with products we purchase but also people who shop with us. Most parents are aware of the new lead laws and having products in our store that are already qualified as compliant has helped to boost our sales. Just the knowledge that the products we carry care enough to have their items tested means a lot to our customers.”
If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?
Scout out your area. Be sure there is no other family owned store in a 10 mile radius. There is really too much competition if you are too close and your sales will be lower so why not start out ahead by giving yourself a good distance. The other very important piece of advice is look at the big box stores and other larger retail stores and check into what products they carry. 99% of the time if they carry a product you want to carry their MSRP will be lower than your MSRP due to their buying power. If the Target or Walmart around the corner have the same items you carry too many parents would prefer to go to the cheaper store to purchase. So set yourself apart from the beginning.”
About Baby Frenzy
Baby Frenzy, located in El Cajon, California, not far from San Diego, was founded by husband and wife team Linda and Michael Byerline. The Byerlines opened the store front in order to supplement the income from their Happy Heineys cloth diapering business, which has sewing and manufacturing facilities above the retail outlet. Theirs is a family-run and operated business, with their three children often on hand to help with packing and shipping. Baby Frenzy is an example of a growing trend of manufacturers, both big and small, having retail outlets to sell complementary merchandise, supplement income, and test-market ideas that serve the local community.
What will you find at Baby Frenzy?
Of course, you’ll find a selection of Happy Heineys cloth diapering products, as well as a selection of natural parenting and environmentally-sound products for babies and parents. Petunia Pickle Bottom, JuJuBe diaper bags, Sigg baby and toddler bottles, Haba wooden toys, BabyLegs, Hotslings and other baby wearing slings, Willow Tree angel gift collections, Robeez, Bobux and a variety of layette gifts, toys, books and accessories. The selection is greatly influenced by special requests and product recommendatoins from the community. Mothers are also encouraged to attend natural parenting, baby wearing and cloth diapering demonstrations.
Do you offer parents a unique shopping experience? Tell us about it…