Bambini and Roo in Downtown, St. Albert, meet the Owner Sheital Barreto-Xavier & Mariela Wilhelm!

Posted by Sharon Gregresh on Saturday, January 13th, 2018 at 4:49pm.


Summary

Bambini and Roo is a business specializing in Natural & Organic Skin Care, Baby Goods, Maternity, Women's Products, Natural Remedies for Skin Ailments, Holistic Remedies, Organic Tea, Aromatherapy & Essential Oils, Bath & Body Products and Hand Made Gifts.

 Describe your business

Bambini and Roo is a business specializing in Natural & Organic Skin Care, Baby Goods, Maternity, Women's Products, Natural Remedies for Skin Ailments, Holistic Remedies, Organic Tea, Aromatherapy & Essential Oils, Bath & Body Products and Hand Made Gifts. UCHI is a product line found within Bambini and Roo that carries handmade, stylish nursing covers and baby carriers, as well as hospital grade pump rentals, nursing bras, maternity fashions.

What made you decide to open this business?

*Bambini and Roo: “Is a business with handmade materials. My main focus on the business was to get into a handmade market and to have a unique business. As a parent I found that whenever we went to children’s stores you could never find anything different. Everything in Canada is so mass produced that you have 10,000 children wearing the same things. I offer a place for the handmade designers to sell their wares.” -Sheital

*Uchi within Bambini & Roo: “I had a lactation shop out of my house. In 2011 many women asked me to design an attractive and versatile nursing cover. I started with the ponchos and in the summer I moved into also making baby carriers. From there, I launched into making ring slings and wraps. I try to make items that are very versatile, not cookie cutter and everything is handmade by me from scratch to the finished product. Sometimes even on site here at Bambini and Roo, I have my sewing machine in the back.” -Mariela

Sheital how did you come up with the name Bambini & Roo?

I used to own The Baby Store in Leduc, when we started our store in St. Albert I found we were catering to much more than just babies so I felt the name “The Baby Store” limited our business. I bought the kangaroo logo from vista print and then I combined the Italian word for child – bambini with the kangaroo from our logo to get Bambini and Roo.

Mariela how did you come up with the name Uchi?

I’m from Chili and Uchi is my pet name given by my parents that is short for little mouse.

What was it like when you first started?

*Bambini and Roo: "It was challenging because most initial customers talked about all the other children’s business that had failed in the city. We are the now the only children’s company left in St. Albert. We have been here for 3 years. The most challenging part was being in this downtown location; because I knew there was a farmer’s market here and I just went with the farmer’s market being my target business but that’s only for a few months out of the year." -Sheital

*Uchi within Bambini & Roo: "I’m a critical care nurse turned entrepreneur. I decided during my last maternity leave to start a lactation business. I switched over to my product line Uchi when the hospital I worked at asked me to design a baby carrier/kangaroo care wrap for the intensive care babies. I represented Alberta in a medical conference a few years ago for this." - Mariela

Sheital what does it mean to you to have this business? 

I was really obsessed with the idea of gift wrapping. I had two children with very severe eczema and that’s how one of my best selling products came to light. I’m not one of those business owners who will just sell you anything. It has to work for me. All I have is honesty and this is what I built my business on. The majority of the products in the store are handmade and a lot of our suppliers are home based moms.

 

Mariela why are you so passionate about your business?

I wanted to create a poncho that would be versatile and not just for breastfeeding. A lot of products are for one purpose only so it ends up costing parents a lot of money. My stretchy wraps, nursing scarves, covers can be used as car seat covers, stroller covers, blankets for baby and it looks nice on mom even after she’s done nursing. My purpose in life is to provide products that nurture mom and baby while still providing style to moms.

What would your customers say they love most about your business?

Our customer service and the uniqueness of our products. The fact that we will go out of our way for the customer. (Staying late, helping them understand how to use the products, etc.)

Kim what are the unique things that you have in the store?

This is probably my favorite job ever. I love working at a store that is so caring and nurturing and supportive to new moms. I love that they come in and they’re like “I don’t know what I’m doing! Can you please help me?” and I‘m armed with the knowledge that I’ve been given by Sheital & Mariela to be able to help them out. It’s very important to me to know that my job is helping people the way that it is. I also do the tie dye of baby carriers and do customization including peace signs, happy faces and all different colors to make it wild and fun for the moms.

 

Do you have any exciting plans for the future that you want customers to know about?

I’m looking to get more product lines in and trying to expand now that our competition is no longer in the area.

Sheital what’s the most memorable experience you’ve had working with a customer?

I had a customer come in here probably my second year in business during the farmer’s market and her baby had signs of rosacea or eczema. She came in and told me that she had bought this steroid cream and this is what happened to my babies skin and I don’t know how to deal with it. I recommended her the Miracle Butter I created and told her she could take it, she didn’t have to pay me and if it didn’t work she could bring it back and throw it in my face. She has been coming back ever since because it’s the only thing that has ever worked for her child. She now has 2 babies, she uses it on both her kids, she calls us every now and then to place an order for it. I think a lot of our return customers have come from her telling them about our products.

What is something most people don't know about the business?

That we’re here on St. Thomas Street in Downtown St. Albert. And, we’re a group of moms who fully stand behind our products because we use them in our everyday lives.

Why do you think it's important for people to shop local?

“I really feel like you need to support your community first. It’s an old saying that “charity begins at home” so why not do the charity to your community before you actually go out into other, bigger businesses. Local business owners are all parents, coming from normal lives, trying to make a living for ourselves, we’re trying to help you get good products, spending the time doing the research. I truly believe people should take the time to walk into their communities. Our community is everything about our children, our futures. If we start to do this for our own communities, this is what we’re leaving behind for our kids.” Sheital Barreto-Xavier

“I’ve lived here 16 years and I’ve always prided myself on being able to go to the stores downtown and buy locally. I try to keep the money local, keep the business owners here supporting the local economy.” Mariela Wilhelm

“I like to think about “what am I getting” and “who am I supporting” so “is it local? Is it fresh? Is it supporting the people around you?” and who am I supporting. It means so much to me to be supporting a kids college fund instead of buying a seventh home for a multimillion dollar business.” Kim Trumbull

Do you have any advice that you want to share with other entrepreneurs?

Don’t take things for granted. You really need a contingency plan. I started with $20,000 in my bank account and it lasted 6 days. When you start a business you kind of just go with the flow. You have someone come in who says they need something and you order it but they never come back. You really need to be able to make a judgement call and learn to make the suggestion of something else that can really fulfill their needs.

What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?

The freedom.

What do you love about this neighborhood?

I love this community. I enjoy the farmers market. I love that we’re here and people actually know who we are.

What are your favorite places to go in the neighborhood?

La Crema Café, the Grapevine Deli, Cerdo Tacos & Tequila, The Midtown Apothecary to name a few.

Bambini and Roo
Business Phone Number: 780-569-1766
Address: Unit 104 - 50 St. Thomas Street, St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Website: www.bambiniandroo.ca
Facebook: Bambini and Roo
Twitter: @UCHIchicmama
Instagram: BambiniandRoo
YouTube: UCHI

Photos by Paul Thurlin of Edge Photography 
Interview Conducted by Sharon Gregresh, REALTOR Century 21 Masters
Edited by Samantha Gregresh
Video by Samantha Gregresh

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