That’s a question that came from a new customer today. I thought about it for a bit and returned to her with another question. Yesterday I had a great conversation with a large publication that covers eco-friendly products only. They liked what I had to offer, and wanted to cover my story, but had a lot of questions about how we were eco-friendly. I’m not sure how convinced they were, but they’ve decided to give me a platform to talk about what I am trying to do with Hybrid Diapers.
So over the day, I have been doing a lot of soul searching, and have some answers on why I feel so passionate about what I do.
I started Bumchum in 2014 as the only (and first) brand in India selling Modern Cloth Diapers( MCDs). I was using these in the US with my own baby and whilst I was getting tired of the added work with the laundry – I figured this would be a great product for India, especially with all the “help” we have with raising babies here.
This, I realized, was far from the truth. Every stay-at-home mom knows that the absolute gospel for doing something right for your baby is to do it yourself. And the care that the MCDs needed to keep it absorbent and smell free was beyond me. Lots of reasons for that, some of which have been covered in another post here.
MCDs didn’t work for me in India. But I continued with the brand, because not every Indian mom was as hassled as me
But that again seemed like far from the truth . Moms bought BumChum Diapers for ‘photo sessions’ of cute prints. I did well in sales (for lack of competition) but what I learned was that most moms who started the process of cloth diapering with MCDs would buy one and never come back. Because the truth is, it was not convenient. I did have customers who took on the uphill task of buying a “stash” as they would call it ( a set of 8-10 cloth diapers used in a day ) and became advocates for my brand (God Bless you ladies!), but those were few and far between.
I wasn’t happy. I was working, and wasn’t able to use my own product on my child out of lack of time, and – it really was a hassle.
Some of you know that 2016 was a harsh summer for me. I couldn’t get myself back to work and BumChum suffered.
That was also the year a loved on developed vitiligo. Vitiligo, as I learnt is an autoimmune disorder – triggered a lot by our environment, stress, lifestyle, and habits. Up until that point, I never looked at our life choices with that much attention. I was generally eating healthy as long as it was tasty, wearing healthy as long as it was trendy, and being healthy as long as it was fashionable to be☺.
Vitiligo really made me think hard and long about the choices I have made. It was in that period that I defined “eco-friendly” for myself, and over the course of the years, have developed some clarity and a path around it for my family.
Eco friendly is not a product, it is a lifestyle. Being eco-friendly isn’t really buying “certified organic” or “biodegradable products” that come with a high price tag, and are not easily available in the wider market.
Eco friendly is not an Adjective (grammar nazis be damned!), it is Variable Noun. It is a part of your being and is ingrained in your system. Once you develop your “eco-friendly” filter – which takes a lot of learning, and sometimes a life-altering illness on yourself or your loved ones – you will pick brands that you are attracted to, and will not find the need to ask the company, are your products 100% eco-friendly?
Your filter will be your second nature, and the framework with which you will automatically make decisions. It will be used even when you’re not using it. Whether it is in re-using your glass jars in the kitchen or harvesting rainwater for your plants. Or collecting fancy bags for reuse every time your child needs a gift-wrapped.
Your filter will enable an automatic response when you go shopping, and you will be attracted to packaging with simple consumable information, versus loud and inviting buzzwords.
When you will pick a food item from the shelf, you will not know what brand it is, because you have already turned it over, and are reading the ingredient list. You will look for where things are made and buy local. You will refuse charge slips from credit card machines or ask for e-bills whenever possible. You will walk when you can, take public transport when going a distance, not because you don’t have a car, but only because it’s nice to be out – because it’s safe.
This is not to say that you will not enjoy the conveniences of the modern world. You will have your guilty pleasures (mine is a long shower – pains my heart with the water shortage, especially in Bangalore) but you will be happy – because being happy is also being eco-friendly☺.
This sort of explains how Bdiapers comes in the picture. Can I bring you the best fabric from around the world with 100% biodegradable disposable inserts? I absolutely can! But for now, I am trying to be eco-friendly, without having to compromise on the quality of what I bring for your baby.
My goal is to move you in that direction and give you products with the convenience of disposables and the health of cloth, which is why we do Hybrid Cloth Diapers. I work with what is available in our country, import what I’m absolutely not able to find (i.e. velcro!), and bring you products that are healthy, affordable, and a step in the right direction.
Eventually, I wish we are all living in a world which is 100% eco-friendly. But as I already mentioned, that is a journey and not a destination.
Bdiapers is what I used on my kids, and I bring the same to you at a price that I would have liked to pay when I was diapering my babies. You may disagree with me, and that is OK. I am just happy to start that conversation☺
So, are you 100% Eco-friendly?