Featured Business Review: Stringbean Co. – A Mom & Tot Store… Going Green and Local for Mom and Baby
  by:  |  Aug 30, 2010

Last updated on September 8th, 2017 at 07:26 pm

In a world beset by woes like global warming and economic troubles, it can be scary for some to bring a child -a tiny, delicate creature out into the world. A common argument here is: “what sort of future will there be for the younger generation?

The answer is, that depends on what we’re doing now to ensure a brighter future for our children. For self-professed crunchy mama Soni Albright, that means selling beautiful, environmentally-friendly, and fully American-made products in her mom and tot store, Stringbean Co.

The Dickinson, North Dakota company, Stringbean Co. was born out of necessity. Soni felt that the current market for baby products didn’t provide what she needed so she did what other momtrepeneurs did, she made her own. Luckily creating things came naturally to Soni, who studied and taught art until her children came.

Soni initially sold these products out of her own diaper bag until they opened the store in 2006 (the online shop followed in 2009,). Stringbean Co. has since carried Soni’s items, as well as other kid-friendly products from vendors like Spot On Square (an eco-conscious furniture company for modern kids); Smiling Planet (Earth-friendly children’s dining sets); FormBaby (graphic designers Nicole and Jim Worth’s custom nursery art studio) and a more.

The bestsellers include the Skidnees, Soni’s very own creations : leg and arm warmers perfect for ECing and potty-training babies; cloth diapers (different brands); the Dano2 Bath Ducki, a non-toxic, cleanable rubber ducky); and Eli’s Lids Snowboarder lids, all-weather hats with a fold-up brims and visors.Soni Albright - Stringbean Co.

Other products Soni invented herself are the Kids Love Capes which are perfect for your favorite little superhero, and the Apron Duo, a pair of aprons (one adult and one child-sized) made with stylish patterned fabric. Soni used to make these at home but to meet the growing demand, she’s since had to outsource manufacturing – domestically, of course!

Although the products they sell at Stringbean Co. may run the gamut from nursing bras to toys, a few things are certain : Stringbean Co. only sells items that are Made in the USA. Soni explains that “it can’t be just any ol’ made in the USA product for mom & baby. It must be aesthetically pleasing, smart, affordable, practical, long-wearing and/or *healthy*”.

Soni believes that in the current economic crisis, buying locally-made products contributes to paying off debt (such as the sizable chunk of “change” we owe China). Aside from this, buying American-made products creates more jobs for Americans at better wages. These wages can go back into the American economy, instead of a foreign economy.

For Stringbean Co., patronizing items made in the US also lessens one’s carbon footprint. After all, how “green” can an organic cotton sleeper be if it’s shipped in from another country altogether? The amount of fuel burned per day just to get the item to the US will likely cancel out the benefits of purchasing the organic cotton PJs.

Along with selling the items, Stringbean Co. also educates parents on how to use these products. With cloth diapers, Soni says, “ we don’t just sell the diapers and leave the parents to fend for themselves”. Stringbean Co. offer classes, mom’s groups, info packets, phone support and free consultations to learn about their pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting options.

Soni says that Stringbean Co. may be a store but it also strives to be an educational community outreach facility where she can combine her twin passions of educating and “momming”.

Soni also believes she is able to run a profitable baby store in the middle of a recession is helped by working with people who share similar standards for customer service, honesty, and quality. “ Other people’s work reflects on our business, so we are picky about who we choose to work with, whether it’s a vendor or a printing company”.Stringbean Co. - Exterior Interior

Speaking of printing companies, Stringbean Co. has been working with UPrinting for their business cards, canvas prints, stickers, invitations, and more. “UPrinting has made it affordable, easy and fast to make a variety of marketing tools that I might otherwise forgo because of cost or low cost resulting in cheap quality”, Soni enthuses.

Soni’s dedication to finding and sharing the best American-made, eco-conscious yet affordable and stylish products, as well as her own “crunchy” lifestyle is her way of making sure that her three children, and everyone else’s can have a chance at a bright future.