Parenthood is expensive. All of the darling little outfits, Boppys, breastfeeding bras and thousands of other “must have” items can really add up. This became clear to Lafawn Janis three years ago when she was preparing to have her second baby.
Janis had her first child in the late nineties, so this time around, there was some sticker shock. I was like, ‘Wow! I can’t believe two items are ninety bucks! There has to be a cheaper way, whether you can afford it or not.’
When she moved back to South Dakota to raise her growing family, Janis decided to help other parents by opening Children’s Trading Post in Rapid City. The Oglala Sioux Tribe member tells us about the store’s dedication to quality and about some of the traditional Native American baby products that can be found there.
What can we find at Children’s Trading Post?
LJ: We buy, sell, trade. I also order in some cute boutique stuff, too. We pay cash for items. We are very selective in our stock, to make sure we carry quality. We try to carry higher-end name brands, because they last longer.
We do maternity. There’s not a huge selection of resale maternity out there and that’s really important to me, because I really want women to be comfortable and feel beautiful while they’re pregnant. It’s just a crazy time for women in general. Your bodies are changing all the time. I pull a lot of pieces from the bigger cities, so you’ll find more selection here than what’s already in Rapid City.
We also a have a small selection of Halloween costumes.
Tell us about some of the custom Native American-made products you carry.
LJ: We carry Native American products for children, like belly button amulets. When a child is born and their belly button falls off, that’s the last piece of them that connected them to their mother. So it is a turtle or a lizard and it’s leather beaded and you put in that belly button that falls off – that piece of umbilical cord – and they keep it with them for the rest of their life. It’s a physical and spiritual connection to their mother.
Moccasins – my family makes them. We have a lot of artists in our family that are amazing at beadwork and jewelry and even bronze work and painting.
We also have star quilts. Those are traditional gifts for anyone in our culture who has a baby. Anytime anyone has a newborn, they are gifted a star quilt by their family members. The star quilts are made by an employee of mine here. She’s an artist as well.
Either the moccasins or star quilts can be custom made. Customers just have to come in and pay up front, we’ll give them a time frame and ship it out when it’s ready.
What’s new this fall?
LJ: We’re starting Art Baby. It’s going to be hand and feet artwork, impressions and memory boxes. People can come in with their newborn, at six months, at nine months, whenever they want to capture the size of their children’s hands. If someone has multiple kids, we have big canvases and can do something with all of them. It’s amazing, the size of a six-month-old foot is double the size of a newborn foot. You wouldn’t think they’d grow that much, but they do. People can make an appointment, come in and we’ll help them put something together without the mess at home.
We also have a ‘take a book, leave a book’ program, which is free. Kids can pick a book. We take donations for that.
We’re also getting a community board going. It is a resource for local parents – events, activities and childcare postings.
Who can benefit from shopping at your store?
LJ: Everybody. We have a lot of parents of multiple children shopping here. Grandparents really get it. Some new parents have a hard time buying used, but if they just come in and see the savings, they’ll be surprised. We’re super-clean. We sanitize everything. The savings alone is so worth it. You could put that money toward other ventures, like vacations and college educations.
Children’s Trading Post is located in Rapid City’s Tuscany Square Shopping Center. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
For more info, click here or call (605) 209-5199.