Eco-friendly offerings at keiki boutique
By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Paula Rath
When Melanie Decker Koehl of Kailua was pregnant with her son, Caden (who turned 1 yesterday), the eco-conscious mom found a few environmentally responsible outfits, but they weren't as cute as she would have hoped. So she went searching, mostly online, and sourced adorable and green organic clothing, wooden toys, recycled diaper bags, even PVC-free baby bottles.
An idea sprouted.
One year later, Decker Koehl has opened Little Sprouts, an upscale children's boutique on the Windward side offering eco-friendly clothing and accessories for infants and toddlers up to 4 years old.
Little Sprouts includes not only clothing but shoes, toys, diaper bags, slings and carriers, blankets and burp cloths, bottles and cups, gift baskets, skin care and cloth diapers.
"I want parents to know more about the products they purchase," Decker Koehl said. "For example, ordinary cotton is the most pesticide-dependent crop in the world and accounts for 25 percent of all pesticide use. When we buy organic, it not only helps our environment but insures that what touches our keiki's skin is as free of chemicals as possible."
Little Sprouts carries six organic clothing lines and one, called Tea Collection, that is not organic but is so cute she couldn't resist the feminine dresses for girls and button-down shirts for boys. Among the organic lines are Speesees, Sckoon, Under the Nile and Kee-Ka. The organic skin-care line, Little Twig, and BPA- and PVC-free bottles from Green to Grow are also on the shelves. Baby Bjorn carriers, Moby wraps, See Kai Run shoes and Bebe au Lait nursing covers are also in the merchandise mix.
Toys are green, too, at Little Sprouts. "The plastic toy scare gave me pause," Decker Koehl said, so she stocks the Haba brand of environmentally responsible toys from Germany.
A graphic designer by profession, Decker Koehl does not have previous retail experience. She simply knows what she wants and is banking on other moms wanting the same things.
While opening a retail store in our current economic climate is a risk, Decker Koehl sees the growing tend of consumers engaging in more green practices, which naturally extends to what they buy for their keiki: "More and more parents are becoming concerned about our environment and are looking for alternatives when they shop," she said.
Reach Paula Rath at email@example.com.