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University of Missouri

En-Tree-preneurial

Entrepreneurial student launches green website for baby products.

Treehouse Treasures

Plush monkeys are just one of the products available at TreehouseTreasures.com. Photo courtesy of Treehouse Treasures.

In 2013, while assistant director at the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at Drury University in Springfield, Mo., Sara Cochran “started to get that bug, that itch.”

The sensation could have been from hugging too many trees, but it turned out to be her entrepreneurial spirit blooming.

“We were green before green was cool,” says Cochran of her family from Cushing, Okla. “One of our chores in the ’80s was to take the recyclables to the garage. Then we had to drive them to the next town.”

Cochran, a graduate student in educational leadership and policy analysis in the College of Education, used those instincts to create Treehouse Treasures. The online boutique offers eco-friendly baby and children’s items, from organic shampoo and cloth diapers to cuddly fabric monkeys and utensils made from recycled, BPA-free plastic.

“There are more and more toxins in our environment and a greater awareness about what these products are made of,” Cochran says.

She does not have children, but Cochran has  shopped enough for friends’ baby showers to understand the marketplace. She also spent four years in marketing for Pyramid Foods before her time at Drury.

As she researches entrepreneurship education, she hopes someday to lead a university program like the one in Springfield.

“Being an entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs,” Cochran says. “Walk right down Broadway [in Columbia]. How many entrepreneurs have businesses right there?”