The Baby Box Co. Hits Q1 Goal for Social Enterprise Expansion

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The Baby Box Co. announces successful international expansion of their Finnish-inspired Baby Boxes as a key step towards reducing infant mortality in high-risk communities around the world.

Parents receive a traditional Finnish Baby Box from The Baby Box Co. outreach program.

Many hospitals are switching from Pack N' Plays to Baby Boxes.

"That’s what Baby Boxes represent — parents’ universal desire for their children to be safe and warmly welcomed to the world."

Over a year ago, BBC News published an article, “Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes,” captivating readers the globe over. It became the first BBC story in 17 years to be shared one million times. To date it has been read by more than 10 million people.

This viral BBC piece proved a catalyst for friends Jennifer Clary and Michelle Vick, inspiring them to found The Baby Box Co., a conscious company begun in 2013 with the mission of making the Finnish Baby Box tradition an international lifesaving measure.

Says Vick, “As a mom, I was elated to discover there was a country going out of its way to truly help children at their earliest stage. With this thrill, however, came the stark reminder that many babies don’t have a secure spot to sleep.”

Clary adds, “What’s most exciting for us is working with governments, hospitals and nonprofits to offer Baby Boxes to parents who without our outreach would be unable to afford a safe sleep space for their child. This is why we adapted the Finnish tradition: to best serve the in-need communities with which we now partner.”

The very existence of The Baby Box Co. makes plain the fact that Finland’s pioneering program is no longer exclusive to that territory. And, as Q1 2015 comes to a close, it’s evident Vick’s and Clary’s vision for Baby Boxes as a social enterprise is not only on track, it's exceeding expectations. While babyboxco.com proves there is a strong direct-to-consumer market for the brand, the increasing number of institutions adopting Baby Boxes demonstrates the tremendous philanthropic potential for the product.

Cordova, Alaska is one such area that’s taken the philanthropic approach, actively reducing infant mortality in their town by collaborating with The Baby Box Co. The Native Village of Eyak’s Community Wellness Coordinator Linda Brown is particularly delighted by local support for the Baby Box program: “Every day a new agency calls offering to donate. Our tribal elders even knitted little hats.” It’s clear residents are uniting behind the initiative.

Baby Boxes are catching on in the Lower 48, too, as their sustainable production from certified non-toxic, 100% recyclable materials appeals to parents wanting to play an active role in better preserving the Earth for their wee ones.

It also makes financial sense; The Baby Box Co.’s Baby Boxes wholesale at cost for half the price of Pack N’ Plays, which to date have been widely utilized by Cribs for Kids, a nonprofit promoting safe sleep for infants. This means that hospitals with programs akin to this can, without expanding their budgets, reach double the number of new parents with Baby Boxes.

“When I first thought about this, I was unsure how to start,” admits Melissa Abbott, Director of Quality Improvement for Greene County General Hospital in Indiana. “Then [I discovered] The Baby Box Co. They adapted to our limited funding and provided guidance on current and future orders. I’m so glad we found them.”

Beyond North America, communities in Africa are also benefiting from The Baby Box Co.’s expanding social enterprise. Krishna Bhakta, whose nonprofit One Zambia coordinates the country’s Baby Box program, reasons: “What better way to improve the lives of Zambians than by improving the lives of the most vulnerable, those with the most potential: newborns — Zambia’s next generation.”

Susannah Leaf, Program Director of MAMA Pii, in Kenya, points out that Baby Boxes can assist in circumventing risky behavior among moms-to-be: “Women repeatedly give birth at home with no trained help. We have piloted giving locally made baby clothes to women who come for skilled delivery. This was enough to bring deliveries from fewer than 5 to more than 50 per month. We now want to go further and provide Baby Boxes.”

Vanessa Paolillo of Fundacion La Canastilla in Venezuela echoes how The Baby Box Co. signals a safer future for infants: “Many problems could be avoided by encouraging women to visit the doctor. We have free healthcare for every citizen, but women must take advantage. The Baby Box is a perfect incentive.”

In Saudi Arabia, Baby Boxes are being implemented a bit differently by No. 30, a firm that identifies high quality brands to introduce to their customers at accessible price points. Says Abdu Mayet, a partner at No. 30, “While the healthcare industry has a satisfactory track record in Saudi Arabia, infant mortality is relatively high compared to developed economies. With Baby Boxes, we’re utilizing The Baby Box Co. brand to enhance consumer awareness and turn safe products into a family staple.”

As Q1 comes to a close, Vick and Clary are ecstatic to have hit their outreach goals and both believe this is just the beginning. “We have programs launching in several U.S. cities, Canada, Europe, Australia and elsewhere,” says Vick. Adds Clary, “The support we’ve received from parents around the globe is amazing. Our Facebook page has become a forum for new parents to connect about their experiences, and that’s what Baby Boxes represent — parents’ universal desire for their children to be safe and warmly welcomed to the world.”

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Nell Alk

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