Natural instincts: eco-minded parenting with Sofi Chabowski of Eggs & Soliderssasi
Dubai-lifer and mother of four kids under the age of five, Sofi fell into her role as Dubai’s ambassador for cloth diapers four years ago. Now, as she opens her first natural and eco parenting store, we caught up with her to ask about her brand’s journey.
What inspired you to set up Eggs & Soldiers?
I started Eggs & Soldiers in 2014 after the birth of my first baby, Kaya. I had heard from many friends that the quality of disposable diapers in the UAE was not what they were used to back home, so I looked into alternatives and found cloth diapers. I picked up a few in the UK to try out and loved them. Back in Dubai, people were always asking me where I got them, so I saw a gap in the market and started Eggs & Soldiers. I started off selling at markets, then opened a pop-up shop and now we have opened our new store at Times Square Centre. We’ve expanded our range enormously, but the ethos of offering ‘A More Natural Way’ remains the same.
What is your criteria when choosing brands to stock?
We seek out products that are natural. They don’t have to be necessarily organic. I find the term organic is often used far too loosely, and organic products are not always the best or most accessible price wise. But there are certainly more natural ways of doing things than just the mainstream options. All the products we stock have been tried and tested by my kids and myself. Every thing has to be of the highest quality and good value. I am also passionate about supporting UAE-born brands, vendors and crafters. And products made locally have a much lower carbon footprint.
Are cloth diapers as time-consuming as they sound?
They’re not for everyone, I get that, but most people are surprised at how easy they are once they try. I think a lot of people imagine traditional terry squares when they think of cloth diapers, but modern diapers are much the same as a disposable, except that you wash and re-use them. I find the inconvenience to me is nominal compared to the impact disposables have on the planet – they take an estimated 200 years to break down… and that’s an educated guess, because the first ones ever made still haven’t broken down. It’s also a massive concern to me that disposable diaper companies do not legally have to disclose the chemicals used in their products. Also, disposables cost around Dhs5,000 to Dhs6,000 per child from birth to potty training, while cloth diapers can cost anywhere from Dhs600 to Dhs4,000 for the same period.
As a long term expat who grew up here, what was it about your own childhood that you wanted to recreate for your kids?
I think simplicity. Although that is much harder to achieve in the Dubai of today than the Dubai I grew up in, as there is so much to do here now. I believe instead of the latest toys or games, children should be creative – building dens with the dining chair and a blanket, or getting messy in the garden making a mud pie. I also love to take them scooting along the beach walkways. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and exercise and the kids love it. We always stop for an ice cream of course! Those beach walkways are such a great addition to Dubai… and they are free!
Times Square Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 5178006, eggsnsoldiers.com
For more ideas on raising eco-aware children from good magazine, read 10 tips for teaching your children to be eco-friendly, and discover a nursery school in Jumeirah that puts the environment first.