Sometimes, after having been in business for 8 years, we forget that anyone new to our store may not know our store's story, or what our name means. So, I thought we'd share!
Neetchers is pronounced: neat chers. How did this name come about? Well, a friend gave us the Dr. Suess book "the sneetches" for our first born and wrote on a onesie for him, "belly sneetch". From there our son's first nickname changed from Sneetch, to Neetch...to Neetcher, because he was obviously a Neetcher. He was our Little Neetcher!
How did our business start? Well, with our first child, we wanted to give cloth diapering a try. Really though?! My HUSBAND wanted us to give cloth diapering a try. I was thinking pins and plastic pants and had no idea that things had changed. We didn't know anyone that was cloth diapering. So, we did what most people do when they don't know what they are doing....we made a bunch of mistakes. We bought the cheapest diapers we could find. We brought our bundle home from the hospital, put the cloth diapers on, and they didn't work. Everything that went into the diaper came right back out. After several days of changing full outfits every 20 minutes, I quit.
After 2 weeks of using disposables, and a full garbage can of diapers, my husband insisted we give it another try. Back to the web, more research, more info, and I decided to purchase one of each different brand that was recommended. Slowly I figured things out! I realized there are just some brands that are not good.
9 months into our cloth diapering journey, friends started calling and emailing us for info on cloth diapers. They wanted to reuse and save some money, and didn't know where to start, so we were their first contact. When I got pregnant with our second, I realized I could probably start a business helping people start cloth diapering and only sell the brands that we really loved and worked well. Of course, my only idea for a name was easy, Little Neetchers. A business from our first neetcher, for other's little neetchers.
Now, we did not start right away. Just after I went on maternity leave (I was/am a certified Massage Therapist), I got a letter stating that the place I worked for was not going to renew my contract (the bummers of independent contracting, contracts can easily be cancelled). I had our second baby 3 days later. I was not sure what to do. I thought I had a stable job...now what. It was that moment where we thought, well, we don't have anything to loose, let's get some business help and get started.
This is our oldest and #2, just before we started!
So that's what we did. It took 6 months before I was ready to start (dealing with all the questions like: Can I do this? Am I capable?). At the time I had a 2 year old and a 6 month old, and we decided to start small, with just a website and selling mainly cloth diapers and diapering accessories. By the time we had our 3rd baby, I realized that my "hobby" business was getting to be too much work for me to handle with 3 kids at home. Imagine taking 6 boxes to the post office with three kids....and waiting in line for 20 minutes (before the print and ship!). Ugg.
Around this time my husband decided to quit his job so I could do this full time. I now had an "office" in the basement, and could work on the website, package orders and return emails without little ones hanging on me and crying for my attention. After 9 months of this, our current space came up for rent. We weren't quite ready for a store front, but we basically walked in and fell in love...we opened in our space 2 months later!
Our bubs right after we moved to our store front!
With our new space we really wanted to add items that we wanted for our kids (leaning towards more natural/safe items) that we couldn't find in big box stores, and create a sense of community for parents in the area. So that's what we did. We've been in our space for over 4 years now. We LOVE seeing parents come in when expecting, then seeing the fresh little ones, and seeing them as the grow. We love seeing how families of our first customers have grown. We love that we have created a community for parents here in west Duluth and we hope to continue.
pregnant with #4 in this picture, just after we opened our store front!
Our store hasn't quite been on a "fast track" for growth. With each addition of a child to our family (we had two when we started this business and now have 4), new challenges came. Sometimes I was just plain tired (while pregnant or the joys of a newborn) and didn't feel like working, networking, planning, or moving forward....I was just hoping to not fall asleep while at work. There was one time Joshua had to go to a meeting after our youngest was born, so I had to be at the store when he was 1 week old. It was only a couple hours, but I was useless. A couple people called to ask me questions, but for the life of me I could not answer them, my brain was gone. This is the life of a family business.
Thank you to all our lovely customers who keep shopping with us, and have understood all the ups and downs of us being a family and running a business! We appreciate you so much! We have some things in the works for holiday shopping and more. Please stay tuned. Oh and ask to join the Little Neetcher's Groupies page to stay up to date on new things and ask questions on products we carry! And as always, if you have an questions or need help with something, shoot us a message or give us a buzz, we are here for you! We have a big Birth & Baby Class day coming up in November, so be sure to check out the details on that in our event. Thanks to all of you for keeping us here <3