HULL—A new business opened near Hull in 2018.
Owner Lisa Potjer is making and selling baby merchandise for O Baby! which is located in her home. Her twin sons, Oliver and Owen, who will turn 2 on March 27, are the inspiration for the name.
“After having them I knew more about what I wanted personally from baby items and the baby gifts I was giving,” the 24-year-old said. “It seemed appropriate to nod to them in the name since I draw from my experience with them when deciding what products we want to include and it sounds cute.”
Potjer was making teething rings for friends as gifts throughout 2018 when she decided to turn it into a business. She made her first sale in September.
Her sister-in-law Kelly Westra was on the Stop-N-Shop Committee at Trinity Christian High School in Hull and asked her if she would be interested in having a booth at vendor fair in November. She saw it as a wonderful way for her to bring in a little income while staying at home with her boys and caring for her home while engaging in an outlet for her creative side.
“I and my mom make all of the products by hand,” Potjer said. “The raw materials such as fabric, beads and wood are procured from local stores and online sources.”
She uses her creative side and raw materials to make wooden teething rattles also known as teethers. If some mothers are nervous about placing wood in their babies mouths there is no need to worry.
“I have never seen the wood splinter including my own boys’ teethers which they have had for over a year and they were very drooly,” Potjer said. “The wooden rings are made out of a dense grass tree wood and are very, very smooth. I also inspect each one before putting it on a teether to be sure there’s no rough spots or cracks. You may also choose to treat the wood with coconut oil or something similar if you are concerned about the wood drying out.”
She also uses 100 percent food-grade silicone on her teethers and teething necklaces.
That means they are nontoxic and lead free. The items are BPA, cadmium free, mercury and phthalate free.
“It’s the exact same stuff they use in candy molds and baking mats,” Potjer said. “There is no paint involved. The silicone can be washed with soap and water for easy cleaning.”
The knots she uses are melted and fused together to ensure a lot of force would be necessary to break it. The cord is a nylon cord similar to what is used to make survival bracelets and she tests each teether by pulling with her full strength before packaging it.
Besides wooden items O Baby also supplies customers with the Ultimate Bib — a waterproof bib with a pocket in the front to catch all of the dribbles and crumbs that fall from a baby’s mouth. The bib comes in a variety of patterns and is the most popular product thus far.
“You can rinse it clean in your sink or wash it in the machine with your other laundry,” Potjer said. “Since they are fabric babies seem to forget they are there and stay focused on eating instead of trying to chew on or play with the bib. Parents and grandmas have loved how practical and easy they are.”
Potjer sells her products on the O Baby! Facebook and Etsy pages as well as at local vendor fairs such as the Sioux Center Craft and Vendor Fair scheduled for March 30 and the Doon Spring Fling on April 27.