In honour of International Breastfeeding Awareness Week, August 1-7, we caught up with Susie Pearson. This mother of four is one of Hintonburg’s favourite ex-Stittsville residents and the owner of the Extraordinary Baby Shoppe – a store that specializes in cloth diapers, breastfeeding accessories and baby carriers. Over the years, Pearson has employed many mothers whose babies and children are welcome to come to work alongside them and breastfeed when the need arises, if that’s what they do.
It’s been a year since Pearson and her family relocated to Kitchissippi, although before she moved she was “constantly looking on MLS” for a home that would suit all six of them. Although their yard is smaller, being able to walk everywhere – including to work – is a huge benefit of the neighbourhood for Pearson.
We caught up with Susie and now present a taste of her parenting wit and wisdom (as well as the inside scoop on this neighbourhood icon.)
5 things you should know about Susie Pearson
1. Susie started her cloth diaper business at the Stittsville Flea Market 11 years ago.
“Working one day a week at the Flea Market gave me a chance to see if people were interested in cloth diapers,” says Susie. As her business grew, so did her family. Susie spent several years at a small store on Rosemount Avenue when the Midwifery Group had a business upstairs. When the midwives moved to their current Carling Avenue location, Susie moved her store across the street to Wellington.
2. The most important advice Susie could give new parents is:
“You don’t need as much stuff as you think,” she says, adding “Don’t buy books. They interfere with your natural instincts. Talking to other parents is the best thing to do.” On the subject of breastfeeding, Susie says new parents should know “it’s not unusual to have problems at the beginning but knowing what your resources are is really helpful.”
3. Susie is a die-hard New Kids on the Block fan.
“Come on, don’t judge, they’re this generations Beatles,” she says. Although she’d love to follow them around to their concerts, Susie’s business and her four kids don’t allow that kind of luxury, but when NKOTB come to Ottawa, she’s there. Asking Susie what her favourite NKOTB song is, she says, like asking her to choose one child as her favourite – impossible, they are all incredible.
4. Susie’s parents owned a small business.
“It was a hardware store that sold a lot of different products, kind of like Home Hardware,” she says, remembering a time when the family lived in an apartment above the store. Susie’s dad was a locksmith who cut keys in the store, in West Kirby, England. If Susie (who has, it should be noted, travelled to Hawaii), could take her family anywhere, she’d bring them to her family home so they could see where she grew up.
5. Growing up, Susie thought she might be a writer.
Owning her own small business was never part of her plan. In fact, Susie is a writer, blogging on her store’s website. Her writing is witty, engaging, wise and humble. Just like her. “I don’t write as much now that the kids are older, because I don’t want to embarrass them,” she says.