Barrington Hills’ environmentalism spurs career in cloth diapers
Barrington native Maureen Smithe Brusznicki is selling reusable cloth diapers via her website, www.Terrababy.com. | Photos courtesy of Maureen Smithe Brusznicki GRID: Biz spotlight
Updated: December 31, 2012 12:13PM
BARRINGTON HILLS — Maureen Smithe Brusznicki is on a mission to educate parents around the country about the health, environmental and financial benefits of cloth diapers.
Last August, the Barrington Hills native launched her own website, www.Terrababy.com, which sells reusable cloth diapers for babies and toddlers. Brusznicki said she also wins a lot of customers through her blog, www.HomemadeMothering.com.
“When my first daughter was born four-and-a-half years ago, I wanted to do cloth diapers,” Brusznicki said. “It’s beneficial to more than just the environment.”
Brusznicki, who is now a mom of three living in Chicago, explained that a baby’s skin can breathe much easier in a cloth diaper, and the likelihood of diaper rash is significantly lower than with disposable diapers.
“Disposable diapers are loaded with chemicals,” said Brusznicki, adding that certain medical conditions including asthma have been linked to chemicals in disposable diapers.
Terra Baby diapers sell for $12.50 apiece, which brings financial benefits, too. They are machine-washable and come in a variety of colors.
“You can spend $300 on Terra Baby diapers and that’s it,” she said. “Some families might go through that in a few weeks.”
Brusznicki said Terra Baby diapers are adjustable for size and do not involve old-fashioned diaper pins. Instead, they are pocket-style diapers with two pieces. A polyester shell is stuffed with an absorbent, polyester insert. Brusznicki said extra inserts can be added to increase absorbency. The diapers have snaps on the outside shell, so parents can adjust the diapers as their babies grow.
“They always come out of the wash good as new,” she said.
She also described Terra Baby diapers as “husband-friendly.” She noted that most of her customers are using cloth diapers for the first time and are amazed at how easy it can be.
As for the environmental aspect, she said her interest in conservation was instilled at an early age when she was growing up in Barrington Hills, where her family gardened and managed a small farm.
“I’ve always been an eco-freak,” she said. “This is just a natural extension of what I’ve always been interested in.”
Although Brusznicki and her family now live in Chicago, she said they have considered moving back to the Barrington area.
“I’m grateful to have had a childhood in Barrington,” Brusznicki said. “It’s just a great town.”
Since she launched her site in August, Brusznicki reported that she has shipped Terra Baby diapers around the Chicago area and to several states as far as Connecticut and Washington.
“I’m not the first and I’m not re-inventing the wheel,” Brusznicki said. “I just want to be an educator and motivator.
“I just want it to be understandable,” she added. “I decided I wanted to make cloth diapers accessible to everyone.”