A little shop carrying a big message is the best way to sum up one of Naperville’s most unique and newest businesses.
Go Green Baby! isn’t just a clothing store for toddlers and infants, it’s also providing eco-friendly products as well as employment opportunities for those with special needs and cognitive impairments.
After teaching special education for more than a decade as a self-contained teacher at , owner and resident Heidi Bertino-Daum is still working with special needs individuals, but this time as an entrepreneur.
Opening Go Green Baby! stemmed from the realization that individuals with cognitive impairments lacked employment opportunities in Naperville. It’s a fact that Bertino-Daum saw first-hand as she watched students graduating from district 204.
“As they began to graduate or age out they just weren’t finding meaningful, supportive employment within our community,” Bertino-Daum said. “So this past year my husband said, ‘Well, we can do something about it.’”
With that - along with a little bit of planning of course - her store was born.
Bertino-Daum partners with special education transition program, which helps 18-to 21-year-olds get into the community to learn and improve upon their job skills. She currently has a student employed at the store and is looking forward to hiring more.
“My goal is to carry as many employees as I can (from the program),” she said. “Hopefully as people continue to support us we can bring on some individuals from the high school program or those that are already in the community looking for employment.”
The store’s layout was also specifically designed for those with specials needs, complete with a clean, simple and open concept. It gives a welcoming environment for employees and customers.
And keeping the environment in mind, everything inside the store down to the non-toxic paint is a reflection of the type of products it carries. While Go Green Baby! primarily offers clothing for toddlers and infants, they also carry gifts, candles, jewelry and greeting cards. All of which are either organic or eco-friendly.
“As far as just choosing eco-friendly items, I think that if all of us changed just one or two things in our home, we’d be making a huge difference just environmentally,” Bertino-Daum said.
Along with special ed teaching, going green is another field she is very knowledgeable about. She’s used most, if not all of the products in her store with her 2-year-old and 6-year-old.
“We have used almost every single product in the store,” she said. “We’re always looking for something new and exciting, but these are some of our favorites.”
She added that it’s important for parents and their children to avoid dangerous toxins potentially lurking in baby toys and products, such as BPA. Go Green Baby! gives customers the comfort of knowing the product they’re buying is safe, Bertino-Daum said.
While she admits opening the store didn’t come without hard work, it’s also been a fun learning experience for her, the employees and the customers.
“It’s a pretty knowledgeable staff here,” she said. “So hopefully people will come and make a new discovery or learn something new that they didn’t know before.”
Go Green Baby! is located at 2835 Showplace Drive Unit 135 in Naperville. For more information, call 630-369-BABY (2229), or visit www.shopgreenbaby.com.