Sometimes Jolyn Swain learns about a pregnancy before a parent-to-be’s family and friends.
That wouldn’t be surprising if the 37-year-old mom was a midwife or an obstetrician. But Jolyn and husband, Eric, co-own a retail store and community gathering space in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nurtured sells environmentally sustainable products, everything from cloth diapers, organic baby and maternity wear, to plastic-free toys and dishware. Their mission is to give parents the tools they need to take care of themselves, their kids, and the earth.
“Welcoming a child is a vulnerable time,” says Jolyn, mom of Sam, 12, and Malcolm, 7, who was born shortly after his parents moved to Halifax. “When my first son was born, we were living in Western Canada, far from family and friends. Eric was working, I was home with the baby, and felt completely isolated.” She contrasts the experience with having her second son while surrounded by fellow parents. “I hadn’t realized just how much more comforting it would be to have a community.”
Jolyn and Eric and their team strive to create that same sense of comfort and community for their clients. They host workshops and events designed to educate and to help bring people together. “I’ll see two of our customers in the store, shopping together, or out with their kids, and they’ll say, ‘We met at the cloth diapering or breastfeeding workshop.’ I love that.”
Nurture’s ethos is one of non-judgement. As much as she personally loves cloth diapers, Jolyn doesn’t insist that they’re the only way to go. She’s a huge proponent of moms and dads making the parenting choices that best suit them. “I have a great friend who is a single mom. She chose to sleep-train her baby because she had to go back to work and needed to sleep. How can you judge that?”
As a retailer, Jolyn strives to find a balance between survival and consumerism. She’s not interested in selling new parents every possible baby item. “People will come in with a six-page typed list of supplies, and our staff will talk them through what they don’t need. The challenge is finding the items that match a person’s lifestyle.”
Nurtured stocks only high-quality, environmentally safe products designed to last. They prioritize local and Canadian products (including car seats from a Canadian supplier), as well as organically grown and recycled materials.
Jolyn’s advice to new parents? “Trust yourself. Ask for help. Use and do what works for you. And ignore other people’s advice. Over and over again, on repeat.”