This week I'm excited to feature Laura Franchetti from Bamboo Bums! Laura began using cloth diapers, and unsatisified with the diapers currently available on the market, she created her own, using squishy soft bamboo. Here's her story:
Tell us about yourself! What is your name? How many little ones do you have?
My name is Laura Franchetti and I am super mom to Chas (3.5) and Maddie (2) and married to the man that makes the laugh the hardest.
How long have you used cloth diapers?
Our family has been in cloth for almost 2 years, we switched shortly after Maddie was born in Nov of 2007.
What made you decide to use cloth diapers?
There were a few reasons that made me decide to switch to cloth. The first is that I desperately wanted to stay home with the kids, both of which were in diapers at the time, and I knew I had to find a solution to our everyday expenditures. The realization of switching to cloth came the one morning, literally like a sign from the heavens, as I sat at the kitchen table early one morning and hubby took 3 bags of trash out to the curb, all of which were disposables. 3 BAGS! I couldn't believe it, and it made my stomach turn. I quickly did the math and figured we were tossing somewhere near 103 disposable diapers in the trash EACH WEEK. The guilt of my nature geek roots quickly took over while I scoured the web for more info on alternatives. I was in the middle of a diaper order at diapers.com when I had this epiphany and saw their g-diapers, so I ordered a pack. This obsession grew and I found a brick and mortar store near me that carried Fuzzi Bunz and checked them out too.
What was the first cloth diaper you bought?
The first real diaper I purchased were Fuzzi Bunz, and only because I could touch and feel them. I only bought a couple per kiddie at first- one was in smalls and one in larges, and with in a week I outfitted both completely. I was skeptical about buying online because I didn't know what I was getting into but in retrospect, I wish I had done more research as I think I would have ended up with a better system for us.
What made you decide to start making diapers?
I was really frustrated with the stuffing, striping and sorting of my sized pockets and their inserts. I began to regret not doing more research because I was having to purchase mediums for my daughter and we didn't really have the money to spend on a new system for her. I didn't want to buy all of them used because I had run into a seller that wasn't so honest on one of the FSOT forums. Summer was upon us as well as potty training and now, in addition to needing medium diapers, I also needed swim diapers and training pants which translated to more and more money that I didn't even think about when I made my initial purchase. I was disappointed in myself for not knowing and not asking more questions ahead of time. I didn't know any better in the beginning.
We even tried other brands and I quickly discovered I hated velcro and the kids were sensitive to suede cloth. I tested out some bamboo and love it, but they were prefolds that shrunk up like crazy on me, which really ticked me off. Again, my lack of knowledge on the offerings eluded me.
One day while griping to my mom about needing to purchase all this extra stuff, we started talking about making trainers and the conversation just evolved into a diaper that would serve all my needs. Literally, over the course of a few days, we had our idea on paper, we were drafting patterns and researching the market. There weren't any diapers like I needed, and so we gave it a shot. After finalizing our plans, testing began on a number of friends and viola, the Utility Diaper was born.
We've set out to provide a one size diapering system that is final. No need to buy additional soakers to make them more absorbent. No need to purchase training pants if you don't want to. No need to buy swim diapers unless you want to. No hidden expenditures on the horizon. It's a product that since we've converted, I haven't felt the need to purchase anything but undies for the kiddies, and that makes me happy. It's simple and versatile.
Tell us about your cloth diaper stash:
We only have our Utility Diapers, fitteds and prefolds in our stash. I believe there are 20 diapers in total.
What is your favorite cloth diaper? Why?
I love the absorbency, I love the versatility and I love the nature of the fabric. It's a diaper that I feel good about promoting and showing off.
Have your friends and family been supportive of your decision?
At first, they thought I was crazy for cding, but they've come around. I have converted a few friends and my mom is my business partner. I think her love affair with bamboo is even stronger than mine, lol. She literally carries swatches of the fabrics around with her.
Any challenges with using cloth diapers or with running your own diapering business? What did you do about it?
Challenges...boy, have I ever been faced with them! In the beginning, the stripping of diapers was enough to almost make me stop cding all together. And the customer service I experienced, or didn't experience in my case, in the beginning left me a little jaded. I'm just happy I discovered bamboo when I did because I was close to tossing all the others in the trash.
On the business end, there are a number of regulations that I was unaware of that I want to comply with as a matter of professional integrity. The big guys will probably not look at me, someone who's not making any money for them to make an example of, however, I try to conduct our business in the most professional manner that we can afford. I do my best to assure that customers feel that all their questions are answered and I make sure that I know what is going on in the government and industry. And truth be told, cloth diaper making isn't easy, unless your diapers are super simple. I didn't know completely what I was jumping into, but it's been great for me because I am a person who thirsts for knowledge, and I've learned a lot in the last two years.
Your best piece of advice for someone new to cloth diapering? Go with your gut instinct. There are a lot of vendors out there and they all want you to buy their products. Go with someone who you feel will not only provide you with a great product for your family, but all the follow up service you need. Questions arise and if they're not forthcoming about what you may need, or face, then I'd seek out someone else.
Your favorite scripture, quote, or anything else that you'd like to add?
I just wanted to add that I've worked with a number of new moms to be, some local, some not. In every instance, I've explained everything that is out there for them. One of the couples actually commented that they liked knowing that I was giving them options, other than my diapers, and that is why they went with me. They knew I was being honest with them, which means the world to me. For me, it's not about the sales, its about getting more babies in cloth, honestly.
I am first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ. I'm a wife, friend, and semi-crunchy, babywearing, attached, gentle mama to the sweetest little boy. Baby #2 is scheduled to arrive around April 12th. I always try to look for the blessings in everyday life, and I'm constantly reminded that this is the day that the Lord has made, so I will rejoice and be glad in it.