May 30, 2023

Portland, OR mom on mission to make toxic

Au Baby founder Alexandra Ulmer worked in knitwear design

by: Jenny Hansson

Posted: Apr 25, 2023 / 01:00 PM PDT

Updated: Apr 25, 2023 / 04:26 PM PDT

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A Portland woman left her fashion design job on a mission to clean up what she calls the "toxic textile industry" and help out babies.

The result is Au Baby, a baby blanket collection that is stain resistant, sustainable, and she says, better for the health of little ones.

Au Baby founder Alexandra Ulmer worked in knitwear design for Nike when she realized, before having a baby of her own, that she didn't like the baby blankets sold by most major companies.

"The main baby blankets out there are polyester fleece and conventional cotton. And polyester fleece is the same chemical as plastic," Ulmer explained.

Recent testing found the majority of baby textile products on the market, like blankets, have high amounts of "forever chemicals" or PFAs.

Ulmer founded Au Baby to combat that, creating what she calls non-toxic blankets.

Au Baby blankets are made from merino wool which is plant dyed in Italy with no chemicals or heavy metal additives.

"Merino is the cashmere of wool. It's super soft and cozy but it also has a ton of performance benefits for babies. It helps them sleep, it reduces stains, and it also is really therapeutic for their skin," Ulmer said.

She also says with the fabric, the blankets are stain resistant and only need to be washed once a year.

"Stains just sit right on top. You can take a damp cloth and dab off the stains, and on a fiber level, it maintains the cleanliness because it's microbe resistant," Ulmer said.

Ulmer is hoping more parents will choose her blankets and avoid exposing their babies to chemicals shown to increase risks of cancer, immune system suppression and developmental complications.

"These are for all babies because babies deserve better. And the standard blankets in the marketplace aren't serving them or the environment very well."

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