Today I'm featuring the founder and owner of Smart Bottoms, Christy Malone! Want to know why some people get into the business? How they cloth diaper their own kids while running a business? Well Christy is here to answer some questions for you.
1. When did you start cloth diapering?
We started cloth diapering with our second daughter. I was not cloth diapered as a baby and none of my friends cloth diapered, so it never even crossed our minds to use cloth with our first.
2. Why did you start to cloth diaper?
When our daughter was 6 days old I was changing her diaper (disposable) and found little, clear beads stuck to her bottom. Being the inquisitive mother that I am, I immediately Googled my find. I learned way more than I was expecting! When I discovered what disposable diapers (even the environmentally friendly ones) were made out of, I knew we had to do something different.
3. What made you decide to start your own company?
When we decided to make the switch to cloth diapers we spend hundreds of dollars purchasing different types of diapers online. At the time, there were no local stores that carried cloth diapers. What I received in the mail was slightly disappointing. Some of the diapers that looked really nice online were made very cheaply (even though I spent $20+ on them). Others were enormous on my little baby, so we had to put them up until later. And then we ran into a major stink issue about 6 weeks into cloth diapering. I had purchased several microfiber pocket diapers and they smelled of ammonia so bad, it would burn my eyes and my baby’s little bum every time she would pee! I was using the detergent manufactured by the same brand as the diapers, so I thought I was doing everything right. I called the manufacturer and they told me just to bleach my diapers, that would take care of the issue. Well, the whole reason we switched to cloth was because we didn’t want our brand new baby exposed to all of the harmful chemical in disposable diapers, one of them being dioxin (the natural bi-product of chlorine and the most dangerous known carcinogen to man). I was not going to bleach my diapers! I spent hours online trying to figure out how to resolve our ammonia issue. It was at this point that we decided that we needed to start a company that would allow parents, from the comfort of their own home (or their friend’s) to learn all about cloth diapering, how to use, wash, solve stink and leak issues without bleach, how to resolve diaper rashes safely and naturally, and anything else they may want to know. We wanted other moms to be able to not only see and feel the cloth diapers before they buy, we wanted them to be able to try them on their babies so they can see how they fit. We all know that babies come in all shapes and sizes and no diaper will fit every baby the same. We also wanted these moms who have decided to cloth diaper to have a cloth diapering “expert” that they can pick up the phone and call with any questions or problems. And this is how Smart Bottoms was born! We have designed our own line of cloth diapers and accessories, that are ALL made here in the United States. We offer in-home diaper parties so moms and dads can see, feel and try on their baby our cloth diapers, before they buy them. And moms who have a passion for cloth diapering can make money sharing their passion with others through our distributorship program. We have distributors located across the country.
4. Is it hard to cloth diaper and be a working mom?
Fortunately, I am able to do a lot of my work from home so we have never had to take our kids to daycare. We also have a great sitter that was willing to learn how to cloth diaper. Really, I don’t think that cloth diapering is any more difficult than using disposables. You have a couple extra loads of laundry a week, but when you have kids you feel like you are washing clothes all the time anyway, so what is two more loads?
How many diapers or cover+inserts to you recommend a new user to purchase?For newborns we recommend 10 Smart Ones per day or 3 covers and 10 Too Smart Inserts/Smartfolds. Most people choose to wash every other day so you would double that number. If you wanted to wash less you would need to add another 10 per day. For older babies you will need 6-8 per day. Most of our customers only need to purchase Smalls and Mediums. Most babies are potty trained before they make it into a Large!
5. Do you recommend a diaper service instead of owning your own diapers?
We had considered a diaper service when we first decided to cloth diaper. The problem with diaper services is that you don’t know what type of detergent or chemicals they are washing your diapers in. They have to sterilize them somehow! Plus, you usually aren’t given an option on type of diaper. Most only offer your traditional prefolds. When you purchase your own diapers you know exactly what is coming into contact with your baby’s skin. If you are using Smart Bottoms it is only natural fibers (organic cotton and hemp fleece). You also are able to choose the style that is most convenient for you. Plus, you will save way more money buying your own diapers vs. using a diaper service.
6. How do you use cloth diapers away from the home (vacation, long trips out around town)?
I have enough diapers for about 4 days. So if we go on more than a 4 day trip I have to do a little more planning on how I’m going to wash. But with two toddlers we don’t usually take any long trips JWhen we go out of town for a long weekend I bring with me several Smart Bags to store my dirty diapers in and I always carry a changing pad for when we are out in public. It really is no more difficult than changing a disposable diaper on the go. You just put your Smart Bag back in your diaper bag to take home instead of leaving a dirty diaper in the restroom.
Be sure to keep coming back for more fun the the "Bye Bye 'Sposies, Hello Cloth" diaper event! You will be seeing Smart Bottoms again for a special giveaway very soon!!