When Tadpoles & Butterflies opened in early 2006, there were very few Canadian stores importing baby carriers. At that time, soon-to-be owners and business partners, Arie Brentnall-Compton and Nancy Blink, were leading Elimination Communication (EC) and Breastfeeding group meetings, and supporting midwifery and homebirth causes. They were frustrated that no one local to them in Edmonton, AB, (or even in Canada in some cases!) was carrying the products to complement the parenting style they were promoting. So…they decided to become the resource for the products they knew and believed in.
Over the course of their partnership, they’ve faced – and overcome – many challenges. One difficult instance they remember clearly: during the week of their first major tradeshow, a spouse was injured badly enough to require hospitalization and surgery. When that week was done, they donned their survivor badges and felt that they could handle anything else life could throw at them! They have been deeply involved in the creation of new regulations within the babywearing industry, and Arie sits on the board of the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA). The creation of the BCIA and the vital regulatory work it’s doing has been an important challenge for all within the babywearing industry (but that could be a whole other series of posts!)
One of the most wonderful benefits that comes with their job is that they can, and do, bring their children to work with them. Everyone on the team at Tadpoles and Butterflies has worn their children to work. All on the Tadpole team with school-aged children homeschool, so there are always children, big and little, around to brighten the day. Teaching is at the core of Tadpoles and Butterflies, and they hold regular babywearing workshops, as well as in-depth workshops for healthcare professionals with a goal of using babywearing to address public health priorities. They’ve also branched out into training others to teach though their affiliate Canadian Babywearing School.
As parents who want to be respectful of their children, the biggest challenge remains balancing the needs of the business with the needs of their children. Both Nancy and Arie are full-time parents who have chosen to have no formal childcare while working more than full-time hours. That often looks like a circus, with juggling & balancing going on in all three rings! They whole-heartedly believe that it’s worth the effort to spend the time with their kids, though, modeling a Continuum lifestyle of going about women’s work with children participating in the daily rhythm.
They are passionate about facilitating the connection between parents and their babies. Babies are born expecting to be carried and babywearing is such a simple way to meet that basic need. As their company has developed, they continue to look for and carry innovative, high-quality products that are, first and foremost, functional and facilitate respectful parenting. They use what they sell, without exception. Great seal of approval, eh?
Thank you, Tadpoles and Butterflies, for being a great resource for babywearers everywhere!