Sunday, February 28, 2010

RG Natural Babies To Open Store In Racine!

Posted by Green Team at 8:32 AM
Taken from the Racine Journal Times! We want to wish Michelle Good Luck in this new chapter in her life and much success in bringing cloth to more people!


MICHAEL BURKE | Posted: Friday, February 26, 2010 6:00 am

RACINE - A local woman who has turned cloth diapers into a viable online enterprise will bring her business to a Downtown storefront.

Michelle Schimian, 28, of Racine has leased 430 Main St., the former Monfort's art gallery which closed in December. She hopes to open a retail RG Natural Babies store, also the name of her online business, in April.

Schimian launched RG Natural Babies in April 2008. Her endeavor is a throwback to the pre-disposable diaper days when people had to deal with dirty diapers - not just toss them in the trash.

Friends had recommended cloth diapers to her, based on their desire to reduce cost, waste and their babies' possible exposure to chemicals in disposable diapers.

After trying cloth diapers and finding them both tolerable and cost-effective, Schimian decided to turn them into an online business and borrowed the RG in the company name from her daughter, Rachel Grace.

Despite a recession and plenty of online competition, her sales continued to grow last year - albeit more slowly than before, Schimian said.

"I think a lot of people are looking to save money," she said, "and even though the up-front cost is more with cloth diapers, you save a lot of money in the long run."

Using cloth diapers with more than one child increases the savings, and they can ultimately be resold to recoup part of the initial cost, Schimian says.

She has close to 30 wholesale accounts for such product lines as BumGenius and Fuzzi Bunz. She keeps inventory at home and fills orders at night but said Thursday, "It's taking over a little bit."

The store's approximately 4,000 square feet will give her plenty of display space, work space for the online business, a play area for children while parents shop, and space for her own children to be with her at the store.

Besides diapers, which come in many styles, Schimian carries such items as pail liners and wet bags, bibs, baby shoes and organic crib mattresses.

For a while, Schimian expected to go into the former Downtown Racine Corp. space in the Arcade Building. But she said the building's owner, Kimberly-Clark - maker of Huggies disposable diapers - declined to rent to her. "I was quite surprised they thought we were such a threat," she said.

A Kimberly-Clark spokeswoman said the company typically does not comment on the "nuances" of its business dealings, and was unable to comment.

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amanda on March 3, 2010 at 7:44 AM said...

truly excited. and hope i can get someone to be willing to drive down sometime. i HATE milwaukee and beyond that traffic, i'm a paranoid driver. :0)

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