The cold-weather struggle is so real. Not only do we have to fight our little ones to get them into proper winter clothing and outerwear — solidarity to all you fellow parents of pantsless wonders — but then we also have to get them into car seats safely, and still keep them warm. One clever mom in Minnesota has come up with an actual solution to the problem.
At 6 months old, Christina Steil’s son Lincoln would kick off any blankets she tried to wrap around his legs to protect him from that midwestern winter weather in her car. Since she knew it wasn’t safe to keep him in a coat or snow suit in the car seat, she searched for other products that might do the trick. Unsatisfied with the options like the car seat poncho or the Bundle Me that rests behind a child’s body, she realized she was going to have to take matters into her own hands.
“I searched for a product to serve this purpose for weeks and found nothing online that was similar,” Steil tells SheKnows. “I wanted a product that was safe, didn’t interfere with straps, was easy to use, and worked in more ways than one. I went to my mom’s one night (she’s been a seamstress since before I was even born) and told her exactly what I needed and how I was going to make it.”
Not to be doubters like Steil’s mother, but we assumed that such a design would take a lot of trial and error to get right. In fact, she says she got it on the first try. Now that she’s made a business out of selling the blankets she calls BabyRoos, she’s still using the second pattern she ever made, which is almost identical to her prototype.
The BabyRoo looks like a T-shaped blanket on one side, with a sleeping-bag-like pocket on the other. After strapping your kid into her seat, you simple put her legs in the pocket and tuck the blanket “wings” around her waist. The reversible product comes in a variety of adorable prints and two different sizes to fit babies and toddlers. Because it doesn’t need to get strapped into the seat, you can also easily take it along with you to use in strollers, grocery carts, and baby carriers.
“I posted the first one on my Facebook page, and over a dozen people contacted me that same night to buy one,” Steil says. “In my gut, I knew this could be big from early on.”
Steil formed her own business on Etsy, Northern Style Baby, in 2017, and all those polar vortexes have kept her quite busy at the sewing machine. She’s now the mother of two sons, and along with her husband, they’re all living in her parents’ house while having a new home built. That means the baby’s room is also her sewing room, putting a bit of a cramp on her manufacturing process.
“I sew every chance I get during the day and stay up late for my packaging and marketing,” she explains. And since she kicked off 2020 with an interview on Minnesota’s KARE11 TV station, business has been booming. She didn’t want to disclose actual sales numbers, but her Etsy page warns that many products are sold out, and she’s trying to keep up as best she can.
“If business keeps picking up, I haven’t decided if I will get help or if I will try to find a manufacturer,” she says. “Hopefully I will be filling orders for target and other large retailers, and I won’t be able to supply them without lots of help!”
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