Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Great For The Environment, Great For Our Wallets

Just imagine if all those things you have around the house that are considered disposable, no longer were. Imagine how much less trash we would make. Imagine how many resources we would save. Imagine how much money we could save. Well, you don't have to imagine. All you have to do is meet my next guest on Your Green Shopper. Another great Etsy guest interview. Candice makes wonderful handcrafted products that are a must for your house. Her items will be especially interesting to women readers, since she makes products for us and for our young ones. And once again, Candice reminds us that being kind to the environment is also often being kind to our wallets. Time to learn more about Candice and her great Etsy shop and to stop buying all those extra large sized trash bags.

Candice, tell me a little about the items you make and sell?

Right now, my most popular items are “Soap Bits,” cloth baby wipes and women’s cloth pads, often known as “mama cloth.” These are only a couple of things I sell – among other items, I carry burp rags, unpaper towels, soft baby toys, and a few knitted and crocheted things.

Let me tell you a little bit more about my bestsellers, since they aren’t always self-explanatory!

Soap Bits are small cubes of soap meant to be dissolved in water. The solution is used for a lot of different things, but I mostly sell them to parents who use cloth wipes instead of disposable wipes for their babies and kids. I use them myself for my youngest son, and they work really well on dirty faces, too! Because they are made with a glycerin soap they are very gentle. I’ve also had customers buy them to refill their foaming soap bottles, to use for one-use guest soaps, and even for their kids’ use at bathtime!

My other big seller is my Bella Luna cloth pantiliners – I originally came up with my design after buying some wonderful – but way too thick for comfort - pantiliners from another etsy seller. I wanted a pantiliner that worked well every day but that I couldn’t feel. I tried making them myself with my own pattern and I was hooked! I figured I’d try them on Etsy, and my Bella Luna line has been a huge success. When I have time, I also make menstrual pads under the same line.

How did you get started making items that are durable and not disposable?

I’d like to be able to say that I was really concerned with the environment, but at the time, it wasn’t my main concern. Not when I first started using durable items.

We were in a tight spot financially, and I was trying to find ways to save. I was already cloth diapering my oldest son, and I discovered a cloth pad forum. I was a little grossed out! But I needed to save money, so I bought some pads and tried them. It’s notreally any worse than the disposables! But the pads weren’t exactly what I wanted, and I realized that I could make them myself to fit my needs. When I started listing them on Etsy, I found that I was not the onlyone looking for a thinner pad!

As I’ve transitioned to more durable goods in my own household (and as I became more interested in the environmental aspects of durable items) I’ve incorporated those items into my Etsy shop.

Do you do other things in your life that take the environment into consideration?

First I want to point out that a lot of what we do for the environment, we also do for our pocketbooks! Frugality in consumerism is one of the best things we can do for the environment.

One of the biggest principles my family lives by is to always ask ourselves if we really need something, or if we can make do. Consuming less is always at the forefront of my thoughts. It’s everything from buying in bulk (and reusing the plastic bags the flour came in) to using the same perfectly good car for as long as it will last. I make my own soap, bread, and other items that I can, and that cuts back on packaging. We buy organic and local as much as possible, and garden – both vegetables and native flowers – to create our own food and encourage natural eco-systems to flourish!

We also have learned – the hard way! – to look at the value of an item. Sometimes, it is better to buy a more expensive, quality item that will last 10 years than to buy something half as expensive that will last one.

With my cloth pads, for example – if one pad saves me from using a disposable each week, that’s four disposables a month! Forty-eight pads a year that would simply be thrown in the trash! And that’s if I used a cloth pad once a week!

Imagine how many plastic-lined pads are being thrown in the trash every year, and how much money you’d spend buying those pads. You’ll spend more money up front buying cloth pads, but you’d easily make it back before the pad ever wore out.

That’s just one example – looking at the value of an item is so important!

Do you have a favorite item to make?

No, not really. I like variety! I like to try new things. I love to create things that will add a level of comfort to life – quilts, comfy cloth pads, soft toys, wonderfully scented soaps.

Where can we go to buy your items?

Right now, I’m only on Etsy. You can find me there as WeeEssentials. I am making plans to set up my own independent site early this year, but I absolutely love Etsy and I will be staying there, too!

What do we have to look forward to from you in the near future?

I have so many ideas, but I’ve narrowed them down for right now! (You’ll laugh at my “narrowing” when you see my list.)

Very soon I’ll be adding nursing pads to my Bella Luna line. I’ve also planned to add some yarn I’ve dyed, wool felt baby booties with adorable felted designs, baby grab balls, more wet bags, and some beauty products including the repair and moisturizing serum I make and use, facial cloths, and more soaps.

I have a lot of ideas – many of these items are made and ready to be sold, but I have to find the time to put them on Etsy! I don’t like getting stuck making just one thing – it takes the joy out of creating!

Any final comments?

I want to thank you for the opportunity to talk to your readers - like-minded people who are always searching for ways to be more considerate of their impact on the environment and community around them!


  1. Use your blog to your advantage, post your links to your etsy shop, such as http://www.tendigitcreations.etsy.com or http://www.tdccandlesandbath.com.

    It's great that you're going Green!

  2. You go girl! Best wishes to you.
    Mark D