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Having experienced a childhood surrounded by New Zealand’s beautiful landscapes, Shay Lawrence developed a love and appreciation for all things nature. Later, shocked by the plastic pollution she witnessed in oceans on her travels, and then identifying a gap in the market for sustainable baby items, she was inspired to find solutions to these issues. She created CaliWoods to help make a sustainable life easier through amazing eco products, fresh ideas and motivating information. Here Shay talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the passion behind Caliwoods, the challenges she has overcome along the way, and her hopes and dreams for the future.

The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?

CaliWoods was inspired by my childhood experiences in New Zealand’s natural landscapes and later travels, where I witnessed just how much plastic pollution there is in the oceans. I wanted to create my own business and help try to solve this issue. When I had my son, Jasper, I saw many gaps in the sustainable baby space. Items I needed myself that were organic and low-tox focused just didn’t exist. CaliBaby was then born!

The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?

I started CaliWoods in 2017 with the humble introduction of Reusable Straws at a market gazebo. Since then, the business has grown organically, expanding its product range, team, community impact, and customer base while remaining self-funded. CaliBaby was an addition from 2021 onwards.

The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?

The biggest breakthrough for us was its evolution from a single-product focus to a comprehensive range of sustainable lifestyle products. This expansion allowed us to cater to a broader audience and make a more significant impact on waste reduction, low-tox offerings, and education on natural living.

Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?

As a woman-led business, with a small, close-knit team, we have always valued work-life balance. While challenges may arise, the team prioritises effective time management, clear communication, and flexibility to meet professional and personal responsibilities. My family is incredibly supportive as well, which makes setting those working boundaries easier. Time is always a juggle!

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