Tuesday, March 31, 2009

FAQ - "Should I add to my carrier stash?"

Submitted by Brandi. Thanks Brandi! =-)

"If you were me and already had a pocket sling, a ring sling, a Baby K'tan, and a Moby (I know, I have a problem!) would you also get a mai tai or would you call it good? :) I don't see myself using one right now a lot because I love my wraps, but with my kids being so, well, big, would it be something I use a lot when they're heavier? Oh, and which brand do you recommend?"

I may be an enabler here, but I have to answer with a gigantic "YES!" Why, you may ask?

1. As your babies get bigger, I promise that you are going to love having a Mei Tai. They're very sturdy, which makes for comfortable back carries. And with a variety of ways to tie the straps, you can find the fit that suits you best.

2. Babies are only "wearable" for such a short time! Those first few years will fly by in the blink of an eye. Seize the day!!! Once they are big kids, you can sell the 84 carriers you have collected during those first few years and recoup some of your money. Cherish this time while they are teeny-tiny!

As far as a recommendation, Baby Hawk is a very popular brand. They have the cutest fabrics, and the quality is very consistent. And as long as I'm enabling... you have to check the design your own Baby Hawk page. For about the same price as the in-stock carriers, you can choose from dozens of fabrics and match it up with the strap color of your choice. This post has taken me over a half-hour because I can't stop designing custom carriers.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

CONTEST! Link to me *or* submit a question for a chance to win BabyLegs!

Announcing a super-easy contest! If you have a blog or website, link to Cloth and Carriers 101 for a chance to win a free pair of BabyLegs! You can also enter by submitting a question you'd like to see answered.

The details...

1. Place a link to Cloth and Carriers 101 ( http://clothandcarriers101.blogspot.com/ ) on your blog or website. You can also place a link as part of a shout-out on a public forum, but it must be a forum that I can view to verify without having to become a member. Then email me at ClothAndCarriers101@yahoo.com to let me know where I can view the link you've placed.

2. You can also enter by emailing me a cloth diaper or baby carrier related question you'd like to see answered. Just email your question to ClothAndCarriers101@yahoo.com.

3. Each person may enter twice... Once by linking to me, and once by submitting a question.

4. Entries must be received by 11:59 pm Pacific time on Saturday, April 4th. After that time, all eligible entries will be placed into a random drawing. The winner of the drawing will receive a free pair of BabyLegs!

5. I will contact the winner via email to find out where to send your BabyLegs. If the winner does not respond to my email within 5 days, the winner forfeits the prize and a new winner will be drawn from the remaining entries. If you have sketchy email, you may want to also include a phone number so you don't miss out if you are the winner.

6. Your contact info will only be used for the purpose of this contest. You will not be spammed or contacted in any other way, and your info will never be shared with a third party.

So that's it! Have fun, and GOOD LUCK! =-)

FAQ: "How can I get to know cloth diapering moms in real life?"

Do all of your local mommy friends look at you like you have 3 heads when you mention cloth diapers? Have you never met another cloth diapering mom in real life? Well, as scarce as cloth-diapering moms may seem at times, we're out here... just waiting to get connected! Why not get to know some local cloth diapering Mamas?

Check out Meetup or Yahoo Groups to search for a local group in your area... one may already exist, undiscovered!

If you can't find a local group devoted to cloth diapers, why not start your own? Yahoo Groups are free, and fairly user friendly.

I personally organize my group through Meetup. I prefer Meetup to Yahoo because it's a bit more snazzy. You can customize the look, and we've had great success expanding. I started the group in November 2007, and less than a year and a half later we are up to 90 members! Imagine knowing 90 cloth diapering moms in your immediate area. And that's with me putting forth absolutely NO effort trying to find new members. With Meetup, local cloth diapering moms will find you. And no, I make absolutely no sort of commission for promoting Meetup. LOL! I just really love it!

Meetup does cost a nominal $6 per month on a 6 month subscription. This can be offset by charging small dues to members, or better yet, by finding a sponsor. Local natural businesses will often jump at the chance to sponsor a group of their target audience for such a low fee.

Why are local groups awesome? Well, besides just the sheer coolness of having real-live friends who love cloth as much as you do... you can buy, sell and trade used cloth locally with your group members. This way you can avoid destroying your hard drive by visiting a certain online community who shall remain nameless. In our group, we have fluff parties where everyone brings examples from their stash to show off. This is a wonderful way to see a myriad of brands and styles in person before you decide to buy online. The group is also an excellent resource for those who are new to cloth or thinking of switching, and would like to get tips and advice from those who are more experienced.

You can check out my group if you're in the Inland Empire area!

If you have any questions about how to start a local group, just give me a holler at ClothAndCarriers101@yahoo.com. I'd be more than happy to impart any wisdom I've gained over the last year and a half!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

WINNER! Jennifer's Cloth Diaper Boutique $10.00 Gift Certificate

Jennifer's Cloth Diaper Boutique

We have a winner for Cloth and Carriers 101's first contest!

Lynda of Jennifer's Cloth Diaper Boutique generously donated a $10 Gift Certificate for the prize! I'd like to say thank you so much to our sponsor!

Congratulations to our winner: Brianna

Keep an eye out for future contests!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Living in the Dark Ages

I probably only have about 3 minutes before the internet stops working, so this will be brief. We are having major issues with our cable internet (Time Warner... avoid them at all costs!), and are appalled at the customer service we have received over the last week. We have already signed up with another provider, and they will be here on Wednesday to install. So until Wednesday when I can get more than 5 minutes online at a time, I'll be scarce. Just didn't want anyone to send out the search party!

Friday, March 6, 2009

FAQ - "How do I wash my sling?" (And a Wallababy Coupon Code!)

Submitted by Valerie. Thanks Valerie! Great question!

"I have had my Wallababy Ring Sling since my son was born, but I haven't used it very often. I used my Moby Wrap a lot, but now that he is older I am using the Walla. I love it, but now I want to wash it and I am unsure of anything special I need to do. I have tried to find the washing instructions but came up empty handed, so I am calling in the expert. How do I wash this (hot, cold)? Is it dryer safe? I am going on a trip and I want to take it along, but it has got to be washed first. Thanks for the info."

The vast majority of slings can be washed in the same basic way. That being said, of course if a particular manufacturer's instructions advise washing any other way than what I'm about to detail, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions. Okay, disclaimer over...

A general rule of thumb for most ring slings (especially cotton) would be to machine wash cold and lay flat or hang to dry. Some can be machine dried, but if you aren't sure it's better to err on the side of caution and air dry. If you don't have a clothesline handy, you can do this by laying one end of the sling over the back of a dining chair, and the other end over the back of another chair.

Wallababy brand slings can be machine washed on cold. Hang drying or laying flat is ideal, but if you can't wait that long, the manufacturer gives the a-okay for machine drying. She recommends putting a sock over the rings so they don't clang too much in the washer and dryer!

Since Wallababy slings were mentioned by name in this FAQ, I emailed the manufacturer to double check her brand's washing recommendations. When she replied, she was sweet enough to offer a coupon code for Cloth and Carrier 101 readers to use!

Use coupon code cc09 at Wallababy.com to receive $5.00 off any order!

LAST 2 DAYS! Get Your Entry in for a Chance to Win a $10 Gift Certificate to Jennifer's Cloth Diaper Boutique!

Jennifer's Cloth Diaper Boutique

It's the last 2 days of Cloth and Carriers 101's first contest!

Lynda of Jennifer's Cloth Diaper Boutique has donated a $10 Gift Certificate for the prize! You can even use the Gift Certificate towards the purchase of a pre-order diaper!

How do you enter? It's easy!

1. Just email me at ClothAndCarriers101@yahoo.com telling me you'd like to be entered in the Jennifer's Cloth Diaper Boutique drawing. I pinky swear that you won't be spammed. I will only use your email address to contact you if you are the winner. If you have testy email, you may want to include a phone number for me to try you at as well. Again, there will be no phone-spamming, either! LOL

2. Only one entry per household, please.

3. All entries must be received by 11:59 pm Pacific time on Saturday, March 7th, 2009.

4. After that time, all eligible entries will be entered into a random drawing for a $10 Gift Certificate to Jennifer's Cloth Diaper Boutique.

5. I will contact the winner by email. If I don't hear back from the winner within 1 week, the winner forfeits the prize and another winner will be drawn from the remaining entries. So that's why if you have testy email you might want to leave a phone number, too. ;-)

Thank you so much to the sponsor of this contest, Jennifer's Cloth Diaper Boutique!

Monday, March 2, 2009

WAHM Interview - Stephanie of CutieBooty Diapers

Ever wonder what life is like when you own a diaper business? This month I was able to interview Stephanie of CutieBooty Diapers! Despite several major life events being thrown into the mix, Stephanie has continued to cherish being a WAHM. Read on!

Q. How did you first get interested in cloth diapers? Did you always know you wanted to use them, or did you come around to them?

A. I started using cloth diapers when my first child was born in 1991. I used the Gerber Birdseye diapers with plastic pants and a few Gerber covers. As a young military wife at that time, I started with cloth because of the cost savings. As time went by, I actually enjoyed using cloth diapers. I never had to make a diaper run and there was just something I liked about folding a load of diapers fresh from the dryer. There are so many more options for cloth diapering now and it can really become an addiction. (All you have to do is take a peek at some of the posts on DiaperSwappers or Diaper Pin to see what I mean). I do love picking out which diaper I am going to use next. Its fun to match the diaper with an outfit or pair it with some baby leg warmers. Every diaper change can be a different look.

Q. Tell me a little about the beginnings of your business. What made you want to sell cloth? Do you have a background in business?

A. I first started thinking about opening a business when my 3rd child was born in 2005. I knew that I wanted to find a way to be home with my kids and also bring in some extra money. My background was in office management so I knew about the business side of things. What I was unsure of was my ability to effectively run a business without sacrificing my family time. So I started researching different options. Everything that I read about starting a business said to do something that you love. I loved cloth diapering my babies and wanted to share that with other moms. A cloth diaper business seemed like the natural choice. That’s when the first seed for CutieBooty Diapers was planted. During the spring of 2006 my husband was laid off from his job so I decided that was the time to get started. I had found a wonderful woman named Conley Roberts who was selling her business, Weeware Cloth Diapers. I purchased Weeware and combined the two

Q. How do you manage to run a business and balance family life?

A. I would like to say that I am one of those women who is totally organized, has a devoted work space, and has specific time slots for working, and everything is neat and tidy. That however is not the case. Right now my business and family life are meshed together quite a bit. At any given moment in a day you may find me sitting on the couch nursing a baby with my laptop beside me trying to answer emails, update my site, work on advertising, or ordering inventory. I try and work on things when my kids are napping or outside playing but things don't always line up like that.

My children are homeschooled which gives me the opportunity to involve them in the business. My 5 and 3 yr old love to help sort merchandise, pack orders and go to the post office with me. They are helping me and learning new things at the same time.

Q. If you had $1,000 and an entire day to yourself to do whatever you wanted, what would you do?

A. I would love to spend a whole day at the spa. Having my nails and hair done. A facial and massage the whole works!

Q. What is your very favorite part of being a WAHM?

A. My favorite thing is being able to do something that I enjoy and not be away from my family.

Q. What is the hardest thing about being a WAHM?

A. The hardest thing is that I am not away from my family. Sometimes it is hard to get things done when kids are running through the house jumping over paperwork or getting into the merchandise. It would be easier not to have anyone around while I was working, but not near as exciting.

Q. What is your favorite meal?

A. Pretty much any meal that I do not have to cook myself. I love seafood. I would have to say oysters are my favorite.

Q. In addition to being a wife and Mama, how many hours do you put in each week on your business?

A. I have never sat down to figure it out. I work when I get a chance and for as long as I can until someone needs me. If I had to guess, I would say at least 25-30 hours. Some weeks more and some less.

Q. What have been your happiest moments as a business owner?

A. My best moments come when I know that I have helped another mom. Introducing people to cloth or helping someone solve diapering issues makes me happy.

Q. What have been your happiest moments as a mom?

A. Watching my children grow and see the person that they are becoming. I am fortunate to be able to spend so much time with them on a daily basis. I hope that I can continue to teach them and learn from them as well for many years to come.

Q. What do you have in the works at CutieBooty Diapers? Anything new and exciting?

A. Since starting CutieBooty Diapers, we have moved twice, had a job lay off, and had our fourth baby. For 2009 I am looking forward to spending more time growing the business. We are looking into offering some local diapering classes and are currently researching new products. I would like to bring in an organic clothing line and possibly design our very own CutieBooty Diaper. Our main dream for the future would be to open a CutieBooty Diapers brick and mortar store. It would be nice to offer a local resource for cloth diapers in NW Oklahoma City.