If you’re new to Active Baby, you might think that the store is like any other that offers basic and essential baby products like car seats, baby monitors and bath toys. But if you look deeper, you’d see that the store caters specifically to new families who are searching for quality, eco products specifically designed for an active, sporty lifestyle with babies and kids.
Like many people in the Lower Mainland, Yan Lu and her husband Chan loved to explore the outdoors, but couldn’t find the right equipment for their then infant daughter. “The baby carriers available in stores were uncomfortable and too expensive for our needs,” Chan explains, “and we couldn’t find fleece products that were of the professional quality we were looking for.” The new parents were concerned about how to keep their baby warm and dry during their outdoor adventures and knew that going to the local department store just wouldn’t cut it. They also found the popular nearby outdoor equipment store carried only a limited selection of baby clothing and at a price point that seemed a little too expensive for their needs.
As a mom, Yan frequently would go outdoors with her daughter and other moms, and also saw how moms connected with each other through outdoor experiences. “Hiking, walking and meeting outdoors are some of the favourite social ways for new moms to meet each other and share parenting experiences,” says Yan. Seeing that there was a real need for a store that specialized in active babies and their parents, Yan and Chan decided to open Active Baby about a year ago in Capilano Mall. Not only is the store close to home, but the couple knew that their key customers – active, outdoorsy parents – would live in a city where 25 percent of the land is covered by park and trails.
Chan tells me that Active Baby’s competition carries a small selection of baby carriers and only at the very top end and price point of the spectrum. Active Baby strives to offer more choice – and it’s evident in their huge wall of baby backpack carriers. I don’t doubt that Active Baby has the best selection of backpack carriers in the Lower Mainland, covering brands from Kelty Kids, Deutor, Little Life and Tatonka. Looking for a baby backpack carrier for those times when you’re walking the dog for an hour along the trail? Something that can handle light hiking day trips? A carrier designed for multi-day backpacking? No problem; Active Baby has the backpack carrier you’re looking for.
As Chan tours me through the store, I’m blown away by the depth of his knowledge and the amount that I didn’t consider. I can see that the store’s biggest challenge might be overcoming parents who want to be active, but can’t decipher the difference between a shirt from Sears and a similar looking one from Active Baby. I suppose this is why they regularly schedule workshops to educate customers about being outdoors with young children. In the January, they held a popular snowshoeing workshop and last week, they hosted a backpack carrier clinic.
Chan also shows me a few of Active Baby’s clothing products and it’s clear that their clothing line will meet the needs of outdoorsy parents. Chan tells me that many parents have the misconception that baby is best in puffy layers and shows me an alternative: a fleece-lined jacket accompanied with rain and wind resistant pants from Columbia, along with a base layer from Patagonia. I can’t help but think how much I could have used those items when my second daughter was just a baby. I didn’t know how to bundle her properly in the front baby carrier while we were out walking in the winter. I’d pack on the layers, even though she clearly wasn’t comfortable, but I didn’t know there were options.
He also shows a Patagonia shirt made from recycled bottles that is the only natural product that offers sun protection up to SPF 30. “Most garments need to be processed in chemicals to get to SPF 50,” he explains. Adult skin might be able to handle that, but it really isn’t the best choice for children. He also shows me a wide array of organic products, emphasizing the importance of limiting the amount of chemicals that come in contact with your baby’s skin.
Active Baby also has an incredible selection for infant and toddler swimwear. Along with regular swimsuits, Active Baby also has flotation swimsuits for children as young as infants and SPF swimshirts and shorts. They also carry all the swimming accessories from hats, shoes and sunglasses. Chan also points out that they could sell any life jacket for kids, but chose to carry Salus because it was approved by the Canadian Coast Guard.
Even if you aren’t looking for technical wear and equipment for you and your kid, a visit to Active Baby wouldn’t be wasted; the store carries a variety of baby gear, including strollers from Baby Jogger and more, along with baby basics like toys, bottles and more.
Not in Active Baby’s area? No problem. The store has a fully functioning e-commerce site that has a healthy selection of products, along with useful features like a gift registry.
73-935 Marine Drive, North Vancouver
www.activebaby.ca | (604) 986-8977