Cradle to Cradle, Green Business

Customer service designed with the help of the customer


The thing that breaks my heart the most is unhappy customers. It makes me feel physically ill to think there is someone out there who is not happy with our product. But diapers are a funny business – I think they stand alone as the only consumer packaged good that is not only a neccessity but does NOT work 100% of the time. I haven’t met a parent yet that says their Bub hasn’t leaked out of a diaper.

Our product being flushable means that consumers need to get comfortable with taking the product and giving it a rip, swish and flush. Unlike a trash can, toilets are many and varied. We have passed our flushability tests in the 6 worst performing US toilets so we know it works. And we have used it for 3 years. But there are instructions to follow and the approach is entirely new. Nothing is as convenient as putting something in the trash. So anything that involves more work requires time to get used to.
So there are occasions where new customers in particular have a bad experience and may even block a toilet.

This happened for the first time the other day and I was gutted. But then as I started talking to said customer, it turned out that there was a little diversion from the instructions and that was the cause of the problem. Toilet was cleared by the customer and he went on to flush 7 more flushables immediately. The customer is in fact a friend so it was a free pass in a way. After talking through his experience, he agreed to write some additional Tips for our customers to use. Thanks Seth!

Here they are:

“Is it possible to clog my toilet using g’s?”

Sure it is. While g’s are flushable, so is toilet paper and poop. So why do most of us still own a plunger? We are talking about a toilet, not a trash can. Toilet clogs are possible, but easily fixable if they happen and avoidable with a few reminders:

Tip 1

Flush poop and wipes separately from the flushable pad. All toilets have a limited capacity for how much they can flush at once. This is an easy way to stay below that.

Tip 2

Make sure the SAP falls out of the liner completely and that you break up the big chunks with the swish stick before you flush.

Tip 3

If flushing multiple pads consecutively, make sure the previous pad is completely flushed before flushing the next.

Tip 4

Don’t leave the SAP in the toilet longer than a few seconds before flushing. That stuff absorbs a lot of water, by design of course :). If it is left in the toilet for very long, it will absorb the entire bowl of water and you will be flushing mashed potatoes.

Tip 5

If you are not sure whether the pad flushed completely, give an insurance flush before you go about your day. If some of the SAP doesn’t clear the pipes, it can hang out there absorbing water until you do flush and… see Tip 4.

“What if my toilet does get clogged?”

A quick plunge should solve that very easily. If it doesn’t, a toilet auger can be picked up at a local hardware store for about $15 and will get you unclogged in a jiffy. They are not a bad thing to have around anyway… remember, you do have children and most of them will think it a fun game to test the flushing capacity of your toilet at some point before they turn eighteen. You will be ready.

Cradle to Cradle, Green Business

g’Day has arrived


Day 945 has finally arrived. The crew all headed to New Seasons Market to see the first product on shelf before having lunch and feeling pretty good about it all. Now can every parent with a baby please go to their local New Seasons in Portland or Whole foods in Northern California and buy them. All of them. Tonight if there’s nothing on telly. Thanks.

Cradle to Cradle, Green Business

Turkey hangover


Stardate: November 25, 2005. 6.02am. After gorging on Turkey all afternoon yesterday, I am now strangely hungry. Was that lunch I ate and then no dinner? Early dinner? Supper? Did I really pass out at 8pm thanks to the other, other white meat? It appears so. But boy what great food and company.

Given that at high school in Australia, we spent around 45 minutes on US history. I thought I’d better read up on the history of The Gobble Gobble. It appears that the pilgrims wanted to thank their hosts – the native Americans for taking them in during their first winter. It was a harvest festival in some books. But the New York Times yesterday suggested that early on, it was actually a period of fasting…oh the irony!

Friends asked why we don’t have Thanksgiving in Australia. My answer…hard to give thanks as a group of convicts just off the boat from the UK arriving in a strange land with the biggest collection of lethal wildlife known to man…along with some just plain old animal anaomalies like the platypus…so they didn’t know where to put the beak so they stuck two on??

I suspect many of our festivals started as fasting and then morphed into feasting. Chrsitmas – a man died for our sins. Let’s fast. No wait, let’s eat. Easter – same said man is crucified and is resurrected 3 days later. Let’s fast. No, no, I have a better idea. Lets make chocolate easter eggs, hide them, then hunt them, and then eat them. All makes perfect sense!

Cradle to Cradle, Green Business

Passionate debates


It’s been 2 years since we got into this business. It appears that there are many debates in the parenting community about all the choices that have to be made including diapers. We certainly hear that a lot and respond to many question around the choices out there and the costs and benefits. Other issues include whether you should smack your children, bottle feeding vs breastfeeding and so on and so on. The real doozy though is sleeping. Or lack thereof if you are trying to get your bubs to sleep through the night.

The Essay in this week’s Time Magazine is entitled: “The Debate that never rests: Should babies cry themsleves to sleep? Dr Ferber gives the controversy a twist”. Dr Ferber was the first to advocate “Controlled Crying”: that is where parents leave their little ones on their own to cry it out and sleep through the ight. I think the “Control” part involves trying to keep parents under control and not let them go in and tend to their bubs. His book was written in 1985. So the bombshell he dropped this week was that Controlled Crying was never meant to be the way to solve all sleep problems. Can you feel the tectonic shift in th earth?

The diametrically opposite view is offered by Dr Sears who advocates co-sleeping. Just like diapers the choice is all or nothing. There seems to be no middle ground. Which is why it is so polarizing. Kinda like politics in America right now. gDiapers was mentioned on a midwife blog and somebody posted a message questioning some of the claims we make. So I posted a response and it was all good. And the moderator posted a final note saying how nice it was that a diaper discussion didn’t end in tears!

Because these topics are so sensitive to parents (us included) – they are after all choices we make on behalf of our babies, it is incredibly hard to raise them in a forum without it degenerating into bun fight.
A part of it is agreeing to disagree maybe? Off to demolish a turkey and figure out an answer.

Cradle to Cradle, Green Business

A customer perchance…

 Gdpr_strkit_image We received the following email today…

“Got my shipment of gDiapers yesterday!  THANKS SO MUCH!  I’m so excited.
I opened the box and my first impressions of the diapers was- 
* I liked the fabric outside, a soft cotton blend. They velcro in the back away from baby’s hands, which I thought was kinda neat. 
* I was wondered that they were a little too plastic-y at first. The inner pouch was a little noisy. But once I put them on Bella nice and snugly, There was no plastic crinkling noise or anything.
In the first 18 hours of use….no leaks, no mess, and I’m still using the same g-pants after several insert changes…even overnight.
The inserts are indeed flushable. My plumbing system sometimes has troubles, but it worked well.
No test with poopie yet, but I am optimistic. =)
I will definitely continue using them if they are this easy all the time!!!!
I hope you don’t mind, but I posted all about them on the parenting forum on Craigslist.  People are very interested it seems. 
One of my clients had a baby on Monday morning.  I was wondering if I can get a starter kit sent to her…..
Thanks for a great product!”

We just need to replicate this 1,000,000 times. Simple. 

Cradle to Cradle, Green Business

3/5ths of the gDiapers team


So who the heck is gDiapers you may well ask. Or you might never and not really care. Either way, herewith a snap of 3 of our fold at the Green Festival in San Francisco. Neal and I missed out. Bummer.
Today we start launch interviews. The first being with Portland Monthly, a homegrown start up doing very well in its second year. As I look around the office at 5.59am this morning, it appears I am working in a bomb site with the requisite white board, oversized post notes, product and my 9 month olds toys strewn across the floor. A part of me really wants to clean it up but the other part feels we should be fair dinkum about the state of affairs here…I suspect the third part of me, that’d be the voice of wife Kimberley, will vote with the first part of me and the place will be sparkling clean by 11am.