A Peoria couple’s BumpBox takes one heavy load off expectant mothers’ minds.
When Christine Deehring got pregnant, she knew all the don’ts: no cold cuts; avoid Jacuzzis; steer clear of raw seafood. But she also became acutely aware of how other choices—like the daily use of cosmetic products containing dyes, perfumes and parabens—might affect her unborn child, and spent countless hours researching the safest products to use and which companies she could trust.
“She was very conscious of anything she put on her body, knowing that it could affect the baby,” explains Leland Deehring, her husband. Shortly after the birth of their healthy baby girl, the couple had an idea. Why not save other women from similar worry during their pregnancies and create a safe-haven marketplace for trusted, healthy pregnancy products? And with that, BumpBox was born.
Last year, Leland, owner of a small real estate company, and Christine, a certified public accountant, got to work on the concept. They began adding to Christine’s list of safe products to include in their boxes—available for purchase online with various baby-friendly products for expectant mothers. These products are subject to a rigorous vetting procedure. “We have a list of ‘no statements’—listing chemicals that are known to cause health issues throughout pregnancy or a child’s life,” Leland says. “So we vet against that list and only pick products that are safe for pregnancy and for the baby.”
As with most science, a level of uncertainty lingers regarding the effects of chemical ingredients in cosmetic products. In the wake of that uncertainty, Leland notes, the U.S. has historically given them a green light. “While the European Union has banned 1,300 products and chemicals that cause known issues to women, in the U.S., we only have 11 chemicals that are banned.” The Deehrings, however, err on the side of caution. For instance, while companies are not required by law to disclose the ingredients in fragrances—considered within the purview of “trade secrets”—the couple requires all its suppliers to sign off on disclosures for their entire product list, fragrances included.
Such high standards mean they carry a limited number of products: only items they would use themselves, adds Leland. Each box contains $40 to $60 worth of cosmetic, cleaning, personal and baby items from trusted suppliers like the cosmetic brands Ecco Bella and Babyganics; future dad bag creator, Diaper Dude; and the popular teething toy creator, Vulli. A “Build your Own” box option offers online customers the opportunity to individualize the items in their box, and a new monthly box subscription, customized to due date, saves subscribers money each month.
“If someone comes to us in month five of their pregnancy, we will build out their box for four months with pregnancy items and for five months with baby-specific products,” Leland says. “So, it’s completely relevant to each stage that they’re in.”
For now, BumpBox fulfills its orders—sent all over the country—in a 1,400-square-foot packaging facility in Peoria, but the Deehrings anticipate growth as they continue to add to their current list of 80 suppliers. The industry is also picking up speed, Leland adds.
“I think people are much more conscious of the products they’re using—more so now than ever before,” he says. “I think if there’s a time in any woman’s life of being aware of the products they’re using, it’s during pregnancy. I think we’re going to see a shift in the way that manufacturers pick and choose their ingredients, and I hope they take on more of the responsibility of making sure the ingredients they’re using are safe to use.” But it will take time, he notes. “And that’s what we’re here for…”
Leland recalls a recent conversation with his wife. “She said, ‘Isn’t it nice? We haven’t had to think about the products we’ve used in so long. Life’s become so much easier… because we built this safe haven.’ We want other mothers to feel safe, too.” iBi
Check out BumpBox’s guaranteed-safe products and subscription options at bumpboxes.com.