Fresh and Fluffy offers alternative ways to diaper, care for baby
For money-saving, eco-friendly ways to diaper and cloth your baby, look no further than Fresh & Fluffy at 164 Buffalo St. in Hamburg.
The new store offers a variety of cloth diapers and other green products for the whole family, including natural laundry detergent, body products and responsibly-made toys and teethers.
Owner Stephanie Makowski was inspired to open the business after her own experiences as a first-time mother.
“When I got pregnant, I did the first thing that a lot of moms do nowadays and I hopped online,” said Makowski, “I noticed a lot of people mentioning cloth diapers.”
However, Makowski was initially turned off by the thought of using anything but a disposable product.
“I thought, ‘Ew, that is so gross and old fashioned.’ But then the more I looked into it, the more I realized how far they’ve come from diaper pins and crunchy white pants,” she said.
Fresh & Fluffy offers diapers that use Velcro or snaps to fasten for those who dislike pins. Makowski stocks fun, colorful patterns, including tye-dye and 80s-themed diapers.
Makowski carries popular and trusted brands, such as Thursties, KnickerNappies, Fuzzibunz and Gro-Via.
The cost of disposals was a major reason Makowski decided to use cloth diapers on her son, Christopher.
“You are looking at least $2,000 to disposable diaper one child up to potty training,” she said. “That’s on the low end.
The cheapest way you can do (cloth diapers) is for about $300.” Makowski added that cloth diapers can be handed down to siblings for reuse.
“I have people use the same diapers for three and four kids and then they give them to their friends. The cost savings from that is just incredible,” she said.
Another positive aspect of cloth diapers is that they are much less harmful to the environment.
“Industry standards have said that it takes 500 years for a disposable diaper to (completely break down),” Makowski said.
“When I went with cloth diapers, I knew what was going on my boy’s skin.”
She added that making the switch to cloth diapers was a “stepping stone” for other green practices, such as eating more organic foods, riding bicycles instead of cars and shopping local.
In addition to shopping local, Makowski is also stocking local. She makes it a priority to mostly sell American and Canadian-made products.
“While my main focus was cloth diapers, I tried to get a little into the natural lifestyle,” said Makowski about the other products she carries, such as natural sunscreen and bug repellent.
Fresh & Fluffy is the only store “this side of Syracuse” to offer CJ’s BUTTer ointment, Makowski noted. The all-natural body lotion is designed for both babies and adults to relive dry skin, rashes, eczema and more.
Other products include training pants, swimwear and fashion diaper bags for men.
Makowski decided to open Fresh & Fluffy after her own difficulties purchasing cloth diapers for her son.
“I wasn’t able to find cloth diapers to feel and touch,” she said. “I would order something online and when I would get it, it wasn’t what I expected it to be.”
For those who prefer Internet shopping, Makowski is in the process of creating an online store.
“I will have the option where you can order online and then run in and pick it up. I know it is hard to get out of the house,” she said, adding that she will ship products as well.
A mother herself, Makowski designed her store to be kid-friendly.
A play area is located in the front of the store, so when parents come in with children, they can shop without distraction.
Makowski also offers free advice to her customers. “If you come in and have no idea what you want to do, I will ask you a couple questions and walk you through the options that might work best for you.
“Even if people buy products that I don’t carry and they’re having an issue, I will try to help them through it,” she said.
For those concerned about the ick factor of cloth diapers, Makowski assured that “it’s not that bad.”
“It’s an extra load of laundry maybe two to three times a week,” she said, adding “Nobody does it, but you are supposed to get rid of the solid waste from disposable diapers.”
Makowski said that the switch to cloth diapers is something that can be done over time.
“Some people think you have to go in all at once, but there are ways to deplete your disposable stash while increasing your cloth diaper stash,” she said.
Store hours change weekly, so for the most up-to-date hours, Makowski advised visiting her website at www.freshandfluffyshop.com or searching “fresh & fluffy” on Facebook.
For more information, call the store at 649-5720.