Melane Nelson used to think she lived a green lifestyle when she recycled, but after some research before having her second child, she found that was just the beginning. Now she's helping other mothers figure out how to green their families and homes with her store, Growing Up.
The boutique, located close to downtown St. Petersburg, sells all-natural and environmentally-friendly products that can be used in a family home, starting with the younger ones.
From beach toys made of cornstarch that dissolve completely in the sand or ocean over time when they're inevitably left behind ($22) to natural sidewalk chalk ($12) and finger paint ($30) — both made with vegetables instead of chemical dyes — to reusable cloth diapers ($24.99), the store carries all the items that Nelson couldn't find locally when she decided to raise her kids naturally.
Noticing the demand, she started selling them online, but it was clear Tampa Bay moms wanted a local resource for natural parenting. In August 2012, she opened a brick-and-mortar store that also carries household products like all-natural laundry detergent ($16.95) that doesn't release chemicals into the water stream or the clothes, and, as a consequence, the wearer's skin.
For those just getting into the lifestyle, Growing Up offers monthly classes on cloth diapering, breastfeeding and birthing. For those already used to it, the inventory is constantly being updated with the newest popular items that have created a buzz in the environmentally-friendly parenting community.
The store also has a space on the wall solely dedicated to promoting other businesses with the same values, from doulas to holistic pediatricians. And in the name of supporting other moms like herself, Nelson sells a number of items made by local part-time artists, seamstresses and designers who are also full-time moms.