Have you ever received pixie dust in your inbox?
My pixie dust came in the form of an email inviting me to the Disney Social Media Moms on the Road Celebration. I was super excited that there was a conference just down the road from me in Washington DC. This half day conference is an invitation only event with dynamic speakers that inspire you, push you to take your business to places you never thought dreamed possible and connect you with influencers that you can create lasting relationships.
I was inspired, motivated and encouraged by all the speakers at the Celebration but the one speaker who spoke to my heart the most was Jenn Labit founder of Cotton Babies & creator of bumGenius, Flip, and Econobum, worldwide leading cloth diaper brands. I have not blogged about my cloth diapering experiences but you may have seen me tweeting my love for Flip diaper covers and how much money cloth diapering has saved our family. I cloth diapered our youngest from the time he was 3 days old.
Here he is after his first real bath at home in a Ribbit Flip diaper:
Here is my cloth diapering story:
In 2009, about the time this blog started, I became pregnant with our third child. A few months later my husband went on unemployment. (Thank you economy.) So here I was, pregnant, 2 kids already, living on an unemployment check and I signed up for WIC. I was more determined than ever that cloth diapering was in our future.
I wanted to cloth diaper all of my children. But when my oldest was born it was 2004, cloth diapering was just coming back into vouge. I had done research and found that cloth diapering was no longer cotton prefold, pins and plastic pants. There were PUL lined covers,pocket diapers and all in one diapers that you washed! But the price points for these diapers were not in my budget. Even though it was going to save me money in the long run I just didn’t have the cash to make the investment to get started. I wanted to ask for diapers for baby registry gifts but I couldn’t find a good way to do this. I tried to buy some off ebay not knowing what I was truly getting or what was going to work for me and my baby. My mom saw the whole exercise as fruitless and didn’t want me to experience the frustration and mess that she has when she cloth diapered me. So…..she offered to buy my disposable diapers….till she was potty trained. SOLD! My chief reason for cloth diapering was to save money. If my parents were going to take care of the diapers then I would say thank you and leave my cloth diapering hopes behind.
By the time my son was born in 2010 I was DETERMINED to cloth diaper him. I had seen what a blown out disposable diaper looked like, with the gel beads all over their bottoms and frankly it scared me. I was tired of contributing to the waste of disposable diapers in landfills, tired of diapers blowing out, poop shooting up their backs in the middle of the night and tired of not knowing what was IN the diapers to make them ‘dry’ and ‘hold a lot’. I was going a bit more ‘crunchy’ than I already was.
I kind of whispered my intentions to a friend who had moved to Texas because I knew she had cloth diapered her son. She pointed me to the CottonBabies website because this was THE resource for all thing cloth diaper. I found the Flip diaper covers and KNEW this was the diaper cover for this penny pincher. My Texas friend sent me a $50 gift card to Cotton Babies as a shower present and I bought seconds of the Flip Diaper covers. I did a little research on cloth diaper insert fabrics, found an online diaper cloth shop and made my own inserts. So with the $50 gift card to Cotton Babies and $50 in diaper insert and wipes supplies I was set to cloth diaper the baby.
I didn’t get the diaper sprayer because it was $50 at the time and I was just going to ‘swish’ the diapers. Instead of thinking about my hands touching the poo as I swished the diaper in the toilet I was thinking of all the money I was saving/didn’t have to buy the sprayer. That is right…. I was doing what my mother didn’t want for me….I was dealing with messy cloth diapers. But I didn’t care. I was cloth diapering my baby and it was only costing me $100 so far! Fast forward 6 months and I WON a diaper sprayer at a local green living boutique. IT MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE! I was now more in love with cloth diapering.
How Jenn Labit inspired me:
I tell you this story so you can get a peek into why I was in such awe of Jenn Labit. She told us her story of starting Cotton Babies. She was pregnant with their second child and she and her husband had recently become unemployed. They were living on $13,000 a year and a WIC check. (Sound familiar?) She was wearing their first child in a sling and found that people wanted to know where she got it and could they buy one? She invested $100 in slings from the supplier and reinvested the profits back into her business. She soon ventured into cloth diapers creating the bumGenius diaper. Bit by bit she reinvested in her company and expanding to Flip and Econobum diapers. Each line has a different price point and different features. By having different brands of diapers through Cotton Babies every economic class can afford to cloth diaper their baby. I so appreciate this about Jenn & the mission of Cotton Babies. BUT she has gone one step further. She and the team at Cotton Babies have created Share The Love.
From the Cotton Babies website:
- Fighting Poverty “Share The Love” is a locally sustainable, nationally accessible cloth diaper bank with locations in cities all over the United States. We provide education and cloth diapers to needy families through community resources.
- Helping Orphans We have offered support to Sheltering Wings orphanage in Burkina Faso, West Africa since 2006 by providing formula and cloth diapers to feed and diaper the babies in their care.
- Mission Grants Since 2006, Cotton Babies has provided practical support to many missionary families each year by offering cloth diapers and certain accessories to qualifying applicants.
- Free Classes Cotton Babies has developed a free cloth diapering curriculum that we make available to diaper banks and other community resource centers.
- Teen Parents We have worked with the St. Louis Public School District to provide education about parenting and cloth diapers to young parents.
- At Risk Infants Nurses for Newborns provides services to St. Louis babies born into families experiencing some form of economic stress. The nurses teach cloth diapering and provide Econobum Kits to qualifying families.
This woman not only created the diapers that saved my family hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars but she runs a company that is debt free. She invests in her community, the environment and her employees. She is spearheading social change and changing what it looks like to be a mother that works. She takes her son to work and he travels with her when she has out of town meetings or speaking engagements.
I saw so much in her that I wanted to become.
I want to use my platform of blogging and social media to make an impact on families. That has always been the goal of How I Pinch A Penny, to show others how we save money as a family. But after hearing what Jenn has done, the steps she has taken to get there, the intentional thought into every decision for her business I know I have potential to do more.
I want to delve further into the how and why of what I do as a blogger. I want to make a bigger community for you to learn from. I want my posts, videos and interaction to have not only an impact on the finances and lives of my readers but I want to inspire them to do the same for others.
How I started to give back starting on the day of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration:
The Celebration had so many magical giveaways. I think there were 5 American Tourister pieces of luggage that were given away, Cotton Babies gave away a HUGE box of cloth diaper supplies and Britax gave away a carseat that I would have given my right hand to win. (not really, but close) Jenn Labit brought along an additional prize, a bumGenius diaper sprayer. Instead of pulling from the bowl of business cards of all the attendees, they asked who in the crowd were the cloth diapering moms? ME! There were several hands that went up. Maria Bailey suggested that the mom with the closest birthday to today’s date would be the winner. Low and behold my birthday was closest.
As you learned earlier in this post I already HAVE a diaper sprayer. So as I get up to receive my prize the wheels in my head start to turn.
I can give it to a friend.
I can blog about it and host a give away.
I can save it for a really awesome shower gift.
I can give it back.
That is right. I gave it back.
As I received the diaper sprayer from Maria Bailey I gestured and asked if I could go on stage. I got a bit of a confused look but she graciously allowed me to the microphone. I introduced myself and explained that I used Flip and econobum to diaper my son. Cotton Babies allowed me to save so much money and I was so thankful to Jenn for creating diapers I could afford, I was donating it back to Share The Love.
At least that is what I THINK came out of my mouth. I was facing a room full of influential faces, I was out of my comfort zone, giving an extemporaneous speech and I was crying. With mascara running down my face and speaking into a microphone that was broadcasting a live feed of the conference on MomTalkRadio I challenged the bloggers in the room to all give to the Share The Love organization in any way they could.
As I exited the stage Maria Bailey said, ‘Well, thats never happened before.”
All I could think of was, ‘Well, it was the right thing and just a small thing but it was the first step in what I want How I Pinch A Penny to become.”