Interview with cloth diapers entrepreneur
Cristian: Hi Leslie. You just started a family business. What is it about?
Leslie: We manufacture and sell a designer style cloth diaper which includes organic and sustainable fabrics. Our diapers also have a hidden waterproof barrier, which makes them all in one, no additional cover necessary.
Cristian: What are the main advantages of cloth diapers over the paper ones?
Leslie: The list is long! For one, you never have to worry about running out! It is not fun having to make an impromptu trip in the middle of the night because you didn’t realize you were down to the last disposable. They are also much more stylish and eco friendly. I think there really is no argument for a disposable vs. cloth once you investigate what chemicals a disposable consists of. Because it’s not always easy to tell how wet a disposable diaper is, babies who wear disposables may sit in their own urine longer than those who wear cloth diapers, does that really sound appealing?
Cristian: How much can a family save on average using your diapers?
Leslie: Over a 3 1/2 year time period, you may end up using over 8,700 disposable diapers on one child, totaling $2358 for discounted name brands and $1862 for generic/store brands. If you have a baby who is large for his/her age, you may pay even more. This is not including disposable wipes.
Cristian: I believe some might think cloth diapers are more difficult to use. Are they?
Leslie: Not at all, I believe they can be as hard or as easy as you want them to be. Adding one more load of laundry to your routine is not so difficult when you really think about it and you get the added bonus of natural and organic fibers.
Cristian: Do you target a specific buyer ?
Leslie: We not only focus on those who are already parents of infants but also those who are trying to conceive or considering having children. Our brand works hard to be a client’s first exposure to cloth diapering.
Cristian: Being non-disposable makes them a fashion item also, doesn’t it?
Leslie: Absolutely. We only manufacture diapers with an attractive high quality designer print, our brand is the only one of its kind currently on the market that offers a wide selection of prints in large quantities, in stock and a waterproof barrier making them comparable to disposables in every aspect.
Cristian: Which are the top selling ones ?
Leslie: Certain prints are more en vogue then others so it just depends on the current trends, right now we see Michael Miller is a favored designer as is Alexander Henry.
Cristian: What exactly is the manufacturing process?
Leslie: We source our materials from the US and import others, then we cut and prewash the fabric in house, sewing and snapping the diaper from start to finish.
Cristian: The diapers are hand-made ?!
Leslie: Yes! Our company is entirely family owned and we are real people in the USA sewing these diapers. Our production house is in Dallas, TX and the rest is handled in Phoenix, AZ.
Cristian: How exactly do you manage to be economically viable with hand made products? Everything is now done in China…
Leslie: Handmade is making a resurgence in todays day and age and with the attention towards being more eco friendly and “going green” comes the demand for Made in the USA. We are a one of a kind product in a growing cloth diaper market and with the increased attention on organic and reusable, our brand is quickly making its way to the top.
Cristian: You are working with your family to do this. How difficult is to work with the family? What happens if you disagree on something?
Leslie: It’s not difficult at all when you go in with a clear mind and nothing left up in the air unanswered. Everyone has a specific job and we all give 110% in our assigned areas. We are constantly in communication and we all trust each other in making the right decisions as far as the tasks we are responsible in completing. Disagreements are handled with discussion and compromise, we also work to keep each other motivated and focused.
Cristian: Who is doing the non-manufacturing things like marketing, legal, shipping?
Leslie: I am! My aunt and uncle operate the production house in Dallas while I handle the face of the company. It has been the most enjoyable position I have held so far.
Cristian: Do you need special marketing or legal skills to run a small business like yours?
Leslie: I think it is necessary to have thick skin and Internet savvy. When selling a product online you have to be prepared for negative reviews and questions or complaints. 100% of people will not like your product 100% of the time; you need to be prepared to be able to solve any issues and work until your customer is satisfied whether they found use for your product or not.
Cristian: Any advice for people willing to start a small home business?
Leslie: Be prepared to never have any time for yourself! A successful business requires times, patience and capital. I think marketing and gaining a clients trust to try and buy your product when you first open is the highest mountain you need to climb. I would say thoroughly researching your market and client is key prior to even producing your product.