A Gays Mills resident and mother of two has taken her passion for American made and eco-friendly products to a new level.
Jessica Brandt describes herself as a “label-reading mama on a mission to find the safest products on the market.” She started a website to share her mission with others, researching and promoting her discovery of eco-friendly and American made products.
Brandt states on her website that her first priority is finding safe products and second that they are made in the USA.
The inspiration for Brandt’s venture came while she was shopping for her son’s first birthday.
Finding that a popular toy company was being manufactured in China didn’t sit right with Brandt. She felt that more USA-made product options had to be out there. The website lets Brandt share her research and resources with others.
Brandt sees her passion for American-made products as a natural outgrowth of her passion for local economy.
“I’m a huge advocate of shopping as locally as possible for a couple of reasons,” noted Brandt said in an recent interview with American Made Insider. “Reducing the carbon footprint of products, supporting my neighbors, and keeping strong tax and social security base in our country.”
Brandt’s website breaks down the different products in easy to follow categories, thoroughly covered to allow consumers to find just about everything they could need from dental floss to ceiling fans.
Safe products for children are a hot ticket item for Brandt.
The website offers safe toys and sippy cups options. Also featured on the website is a baby registry, helping parents who have an interest in eco friendly and American made products extend that to their baby showers as well.
“A mission was started to try and find the safest baby items, preferably made in the USA, for mama’s to put on their baby registries,” Jessica noted on her website “It can take countless hours and frustration as an expecting mama to go through the infinite material on the internet and try to decipher what is safest for their little ones.”
Some of the items listed include reusable wipes made from bamboo or organic flannel, cribs and crib mattresses, strollers and car seats, binkies and even baby nail clippers just to name a few of the gems Jessica has found in her research.
“My goal is to make you more aware of what you are putting on your body, but especially that of your precious child,” said Brandt.
“Most people on my page are here because they are looking for eco-friendly AND family-friendly products. Every parent I have ever met, only wants what’s best for the families.”
With a background in Spanish language education, Brandt put her teaching career on hold to be a stay- at-home mother.
Along with the website, Brandt makes her own deodorant and scrubs available for purchase at the Kickapoo Exchange Co-op in Gays Mills.
The homemade deodorant sells for $8 for a four-ounce glass jar.
“There are no frills, no fluff,” Brandt boasted. “Just a plain Mason jar, a label with ingredients, and the frequently asked questions.”
Brandt’s oatmeal-and- sugar body scrub is available in several different scents. The scrub can be purchased on her website or at the Kickapoo Exchange. It costs $6 for a four-ounce jar.
Offering consumers a one-stop shop for favored products, Brandt has also started a ‘buying club’ through her website.
“I came up with the idea after people were commenting about having trouble purchasing items because of being unable to afford shipping costs,” Brandt said.
Several different package deals are available for people including a beginner sample pack for $20 with $5 shipping. The sample pack includes samples of various soaps, toothpaste and Brandt’s own homemade deodorant.
“I’m trying to diversify, but keep it basic at the same time,” noted Jessica. “The feedback I’m getting is great, people are so excited."
Also included are medicine cabinet basic essentials and cleaning essentials packages with a large variety of products available.
The products on order lists vary by season. There will be a core list of items available with some additions each quarter to reflect the seasons.
“Last box, I did more Easter stuff,” explained Jess “with eco grass and jelly beans, And I will add sunscreen an other items in the future for the seasonal aspect.”
There are no fees to join the buying club. Brandt doesn’t offer a discount on purchases. Many vendors do not want the club to create competition with their own sales, but she negotiates sales with willing vendors whenever possible.
Brandt also expressed a desire to involve more local producers, who may have a product that would interest those in the buying club.
“I would love to add any local stuff,” Brandt said. “I’m always looking for new things. ”
Currently, the two local vendors are LuSa organics and Brandt herself.
Some of the items available through her buying club are also available at the Kickapoo Exchange in Gays Mills.
Area residents who would like to be involved in the buying club should contact Brandt via email, both to order and to work out arrangements for picking up orders.
The orders are placed quarterly. The next order will be accepted May 1-18, and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is complete list of product on her website ecofriendlyusa.wordpress.com.
There is no minimum order policy for the buying club or obligation to ever purchase again. Shipping is also available to anywhere in the world with shipping insurance as well.
“Mainly I want to get safe products to the people who want them,” Brandt concluded.