The addition of the Mud Pie baby clothing line is a response to customer demand, says owner Ashley Ford.
Ford’s journey with Bebe Flow started as a home-based business in August 2013, where she designed custom fabrics to make cloth diapers and children’s clothes. Cloth diapering, baby wearing and breastfeeding are important to this mother of two, and she was pleasantly surprised by the favorable response she received from Lakeland’s community of likeminded moms.
She opened her first retail location in October 2015 in Downtown Lakeland so she could have more workspace for doing embroidery and heat press printing work. She allotted about 200 square feet for retail space, just in case people were interested in shopping.
“We had a really big response from the community for these things,” Ford says. “We had more customers than we did space.”
When the 2,800 square foot retail space located at the corner of North Kentucky Avenue and Pine Street in Downtown Lakeland became available in April 2015, Ford decided to move into it.
In addition to good, old-fashioned hard work and her family’s support, Ford attributes her business’s success to the community of moms that have embraced her unique offerings of cloth diapers, baby wearing, breastfeeding supplies, other natural parenting supplies, women’s wear, the Melissa & Doug toy line and baby items.
Bebe Flow is the only store of its kind in Lakeland. Ford added the Mud Pie boutique clothing line earlier this year because she gets lots of grandparents in the store who are shopping for items for grandchildren. She wanted to meet that need by providing a clothing line shoppers couldn’t find at a big box retailer. She offers sizes from infant to 5T.
“Cloth diapering is a personal choice, so not every grandparent wants to buy cloth diapers because they aren’t sure if Mom is going to go that route,” Ford says. “But everyone needs baby clothes.”
The renovation included adding interior walls and creating showcase sections, all designed to make Bebe Flow a fun place to shop for the modern mommy and baby.
In addition to being a shopping destination, Bebe Flow is a meet-up spot for several parenting groups. She often offers shopping discounts to those who attend the meetings and wish to shop while they’re in the store.
Bebe Flow is located at 228 E. Pine St. in Downtown Lakeland. It is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit www.bebeflow.com for more information