Meet the Moms: Introducing Brianne
Meet Brianne from Auburn
Meet Brianne, one of our upchoose moms from Washington. Brianne is a first-time mom to an adorable little boy called Theo. Becoming a mom led her to want to adopt more sustainable consumption behaviors, and she joined UpChoose when Theo was almost 9 months old. You can follow her on Instagram @briannebarnett.
What’s your name? Any nickname?
Brianne - my family calls me Bub or Bubbaloo.
Live in? Grew up in?
I live in Auburn, Washington, and grew up in Lake Tapps (about 20 minutes away).
You’re the mom of...
Theo! A VERY active, rough and tumble, almost 13-month-old little guy.
Here's Theo exploring the world!
What made you want to be more careful about the things you buy for yourself or your family? Was there an “aha” moment or a specific event?
When I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time researching, and once you learn something - you can't unlearn it. I couldn't ignore everything I was seeing about baby skin safety, organic products, wooden toys, plastic reductions, etc...and pretty early on, decided I wanted to give Theo the healthiest options I could.
How did you get started? What were the first few changes you made?
I had kind of haphazardly started making small changes with things like food and beauty products. But as soon as we found out we were pregnant, I jumped in with both feet probably in an overwhelming fashion for everyone around me (thank goodness my husband loves me so much!). As soon as we made the decision to raise Theo in a more intentional way - focusing on low impact/healthy ingredient products, clothing options, toys, etc. - we told our families so they could get on board. Because we didn't find out Baby's sex, we didn't receive too many clothes ahead of time. I ended up purchasing a few organic blankets and outfits that I loved but definitely didn't go overboard. I looked at a couple of different options and joined an organic diaper delivery service while I was pregnant to stock up on diapers and wipes of all sizes. My mom put a note on my baby shower invite that highlighted some of our favorite products, and that helped (kindly) spread the message on how we planned to raise Theo with healthier ingredients and options. I have tried to always stay realistic, and quickly adopted an 80/20 mindset (80% organic and/or secondhand, 20% non-organic and/or new). I don't believe we'll ever be at 100% and I try to show myself grace about that.
What are some benefits you have seen over time, are there things that worked well for you?
Definitely being upfront with our families was huge - everyone was so excited that we were pregnant and wanted to shower Theo with gifts, so telling them what our plans were (and why) helped ensure they were able to make more informed choices that aligned with our plan. One of the benefits we've seen from encouraging people to buy organic is that they purchase less (because of the perception of cost). It's helped us to waste less, which started out as a great byproduct but has morphed into part of our intentional living philosophy.
❝ When I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time researching, and once you learn something - you can't unlearn it. I couldn't ignore everything I was seeing about baby skin safety, organic products, wooden toys and plastic reductions, etc. etc. etc. and pretty early on, decided I wanted to give Theo the healthiest options I could.❞
Any tips you'd like to share with other expecting parents who just heard about these issues and trying to figure out their first steps?
In the beginning, I felt like I had to almost apologize for asking people to get on board with the decisions we were making. Almost like it was an inconvenience for them to make different shopping decisions. Now, the more I learn (and share with our families!), the more I know this is the right decision for us and I am proud to spend the little bit of extra time and effort to make healthier choices, and I don't apologize for it. So my advice is to remember that every decision you're making is intentional and the right one for you. It's not inconvenient or a silly trend and those who love you will support it. You've actually converted my mother-in-law :) She LOVES to buy grandchild clothing and because of everything she's seen from our first order - she's getting Theo an UpChoose gift card for his birthday (rather than a shopping spree at Carters).
You picked a Preloved set on UpChoose, what made you pick that set in particular?
Our first order was new, but our most recent order was preloved. I wasn't overly aware of the insane impact the textile industry has on the world and as soon as I started reading more about it, I was seriously shocked into making different decisions for our family - including purchasing preloved clothing options. I read a quote that roughly went "purchasing secondhand is NOTHING to be ashamed of yet we try to make it shameful" and it hit me in the heart that I can't just talk to the talk, I need to be intentional in helping change the stigma surrounding preloved/second-hand items. Now, I try to purchase 80% preloved, and work harder to better recycle our clothes (through online selling options, gifting to friends who are having little ones, and using the UpChoose send back program!).
Do you already have a favorite outfit or item from your UpChoose set?
We haven't gotten anything I haven't loved... (and no one asked me to say that!). I love the L'Ovedbaby brand and hadn't seen it before our first order so those could be my favorite. They are a little longer than average (which is great seeing as Theo is measuring > 99.9% for height) and they are SO SOFT!
What’s most exciting to you about being part of the UpChoose community and what are the most important things we can help you achieve?
I appreciate the ongoing encouragement and exposure to information. I can get sucked into the bowels of the internet puh-retty easily and can get overwhelmed with information, so having access to ready-to-digest information from sources I trust helps me continue to learn and grow versus throwing my hands up.
If you could have any superpower what would it be?
That I could shower and get ready just by snapping my fingers!
Favorite activities or games you play with Theo?
We love to play outside! He loves being in the grass, and my husband just built a massive sandbox for him. Our 80 lb black lab loves when we're outside with him too, and will bring Theo his ball to throw.
Veronica Mars, and Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves.
Ohh that's tough... "Everything I Do, I Do For You" by Bryan Adams, "Wedding Dress" by Matt Nathanson, "Downtown" by Macklemore, "Keep Breathing" by Ingrid Michaelson... and probably anything on Disney Radio on Spotify.
Dream place for a vacation?
We LOVE to travel and try to prioritize that as much as possible both through exploring our local Washington and international adventures. My favorite place to go back to is Ireland, and on my list to visit is Germany, Bend Oregon, and more of the Rockies!
Does ice cream count? If not... good pasta.
What Brianne picked for Theo
9-12m: UpChoose Clothes-Only Set, Classic, New
12-18m: UpChoose Clothes-Only Set, Classic, Preloved
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