Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Creators of Naturebag Open Up

We love Naturebag and the two Canadian mompreneurs who developed it. Here Naturebag creators Sylvie DeSousa and Katharine Byers talk about the challenges of developing a new product, making partnerships work and why it's so important for kids to get outside.

1. How did you come up with the idea of Naturebag?
We wanted a fun and easy way to get children outside. We thought it would be easier to give families a 'kit' so they wouldn't have to change their habits too much or try to think up or research fun outdoor activities. "It's all in the bag" came to mind and we just went from there, thinking convenience and ease for parents and fun outdoor time for children.

2. Why is it so important for kids to get outside?

We are all hard wired with the need to spend time outdoors.
Viewing screens has become a child's full-time job. Kids are plugged in 24/7, watching an average of 25 hours of TV a week (Gentile & Walsh, 2002) and then logging additional screen time on the Internet, browsing the Web, playing video games, and engaging in whole new verbs, like IMing and Facebooking.
Richard Louv, author of 'Last Child in The Woods' coined the phrase nature-deficit disorder to describe the "human costs of alienation from nature" (p. 34), including diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illness. Just when students need contact with nature more than ever, they have abandoned it.
A Canadian study found that children whose school grounds include diverse natural settings are more physically active, more aware of nutrition, more civil to one another, and more creative (Bell & Dyment, 2006). Another study discovered that children playing in green settings have reduced symptoms of attention deficit disorder (Taylor, Kuo, & Sullivan, 2001).
The more studies are published, the more they agree: exposure to nature raises test scores; increases creativity, cooperation, and self-confidence; reduces stress; and enhances cognitive abilities.
We could go on and on, but we think you get the picture. Take your kids outside... NOW!

3. You've created a brand new product - something from nothing. What's been the most
difficult part?
The sourcing of the 10 items that make up the Naturebag. We were so determined to find the best quality for the children who would end up using the Naturebag and also wanted to respect the planet in the process. We had to research everything: fair trade working conditions, organic cotton, rubber wood, soy crayons, recycled paper, cardboard, pencils, hemp. You'd think we were there as a society, that ethical products were easy to find. Well, think again!

4. You're two busy mompreneurs. How do you make your partnership work?

Ahhh, it's a match made in heaven! Without meaning to sound overly corny, it's really one of those things that was meant to be. Katharine and I work so well together, with our priorities straight and complete respect for one another. We complement each other perfectly with different strengths for the business and both have a great sense of humour which is terribly important I might add when you start a small business!

5. What's the best part about your work?

Working with Katharine (says Sylvie), working with Sylvie (says Katharine) and getting feedback from parents that are grateful that they have found more balance in their lives since spending more time outdoors.

Thanks for the insight ladies! Sylvie and Katharine's innovative Naturebag is available at Lavish & Lime.
Do you have ideas or tips about getting kids outside? Please add them below! Everyone who leaves a comment before July 31st will be entered to win a sport size all natural sunscreen from Soleo Organics.

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