Cloth bum mums: creating a zero waste store with a toddler in tow

Our lovely Baba+Boo parents constantly inspire us. If you’re in the Baba+Boo Hang-out then you probably recognise the name Nikki Steel-Bryan, who is mum to a gorgeous 16-month-old little boy. Oh, and who just so happens to be setting up Flourish Foods MCR - a zero waste store in Afflecks Palace, one of the hippest addresses in Manchester.

Tell us everything we need to know about your new shop!

Flourish Foods MCR will stock dry goods, nuts, grains, pasta and pulses, household cleaning products and personal hygiene products, all packaging free! Depending on how successful our crowdfunding campaign is we will also be offering made-to-order nut and oat milks and nut butter. Customers bring their own bags, pots, tubs, jars, bags and wraps to fill, all food, no baggage!

We’re aiming to be open on 1 August and have found our first home on the third floor of Afflecks, in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.  We're really excited to have a little space in such a great Manchester institution! We'll be open 10.30-6.00, Monday to Friday and 10.00-6.00 on Saturdays.

You said you’re crowdfunding - what’s that all about?

We're crowdfunding to buy some necessary items we need to open - like a mobile hand washing station - and to increase the amount of stock we can start with, so all our customers get the best experience from day 1! We're offering discount memberships for our crowdfunder which will never be available again (and you can win one of those memberships right now on our Facebook page :))

So many people have been supportive of helping us get started, and crowdfunding is such an amazing way for people to support ideas that they believe in to get off the ground, by buying goods or services in advance. Those advance payments provide start-up capital and help small businesses get going and give customers a little perk for being early adopters and supporters.  

What are the challenges of setting up a business alongside a 16-month-old? How do you manage them?

Oh goodness - well toddlers are a handful aren't they and starting a new business is very tough on a small family unit, so, I won't lie - it is not easy.  I started this journey when my son was much younger and have been chipping away at everything bit by bit as and when I've been able to. The final push is the hardest because we gained a momentum I don't think we were expecting - I can't complain though because it's kind of amazing the response we've had and just further proves to me how much I love this city.

My husband has been great and believes in Project Flourish, my friends have volunteered for everything from writing blog posts to working for free in the shop while we get going, so I am very fortunate.  

What are your tips for people who are trying to reduce their waste?

Small changes can have huge impacts and every time you make a choice that doesn't include plastic you are being the solution! This is real-world activism; actually making a conscious decision to not add to the rubbish heap in the ocean with every purchase, and you can do that every single day - that's empowering isn't it?

Reusing and recycling are great, but I think it is important to understand that plastic degrades each time it is recycled so a plastic bottle can never be a plastic bottle again, it can only be a lower form of plastic until eventually, it can't be recycled any further.

So my top tip is to start to think about refusing single-use plastic - get a thermal mug and refuse that single-use coffee cup, take sandwiches for lunch in a cotton snack bag and refuse cardboard cartons with plastic film windows. Grabbing take out? Take your own tubs round for them to fill. Once you get going you'll find lots of ways to reduce your consumption footprint.

So go on, tell us….will you be stocking Baba+Boo?

Of course! They are our fave nappy at home, I can't wait to get my hands on the new hemp inserts (can anyone say Toddler Pee Game Changer?!) and I believe Eve has some other lovely treats in store for us soon!

There is already some interest on our Facebook page for gift packs of wipes for new babies and our Flourish Family mum, Lyndsey, has recently made the switch to Baba+Boo bamboo wipes and will be telling us all about it in the blog this month.

Where we can find out more?

You can follow the Flourish journey on our Facebook page or Twitter; look at our crowdfunding on indiegogo, or have a peek at our website at


Inspired by Zero Waste, but a bit far from Manchester? Unwrapped is a zero waste store in Sheffield that’s - you’ve guessed it - run by a Baba+Boo mum. (And they stock Baba+Boo too!)

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