Majda Ficko was initially going to keep Baby Butz cream to herself.
But after she realized the cream could be a major benefit to others, the East St. Paul businesswoman opted to make the product easily accessible.
Ficko’s 16-year-old son, Demitri, has Cornelia de Lange syndrome, a rare genetic developmental disorder that has allowed him to grow only to the size of a five-year-old and with the mental capacity of a six-month-old.
"He lives in a diaper. He can’t walk, he can’t talk," Ficko said. "I call him my forever baby."
Ficko explained she tried several different creams to try to treat her son’s rashes, and while some were ineffective, some even made the soreness worse. She had found one effective product, but the only pharmacy she knew that carried the product closed and she wasn’t able to find it.
"He was in pain. His butt always looked like raw hamburger meat," Ficko said. "As a mom, you don’t want to see your kids in pain."
Ficko owns Hair Do Zoo locations in St. Vital and Tuxedo. When she was looking to start franchising, she connected with a chemist, as she was looking to create a line of children’s hair care products. She had to put the franchising on hold, but after finding out as many ingredients as possible for the preferred cream, Ficko dialled up the chemist to try to recreate it. The chemist offered to replace the chemicals with natural ingredients.
"She started playing with the formulation, and of course, my son was the test subject," Ficko said. "It took us about a year and a half, and it was absolutely amazing. If he got a little bit of red, I’d put on the cream. Six hours later, or at the next diaper change, it was gone.
"He had a G-tube (feeding tube) put in, and he used to get infections in his stomach. I put the creamer on that, and he had no more stomach infections, no more antibiotics."
She was encouraged to bring the cream to market, but was reluctant to, with caring for Demitri and running her other business already on her plate. It wasn’t until a visit to the Rehabilitation Centre for Children that her perspective changed after speaking with one of the doctors.
"He said ‘Look around, why should your son be the only one to benefit?’" Ficko said. "I’m thinking ‘I’m such a schmuck, I didn’t even think of that.’ My son’s no longer in pain and it’s helping me. At Children’s Rehab, it’s children who are like Demitri and (in) worse (condition)."
She promptly donated a box of the cream to the centre to give to families.
Now, the cream is available at Safeway, Sobeys, Winners, Shoppers Drug Mart, and will soon be in Real Canadian Superstore.
Ficko said she is now looking into distribution in the United States and China, among others.
Ficko noted the cream is not a moisturizer, but can be used by people of all ages to treat skin conditions like rashes and eczema.
For more information, visit www.babybutz.com