Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cloth Diapers Go Green

So glad that cloth is makin' more of a comeback in the sense that there is a store openin' up. 

Cloth is back as diapers go 'green'
BY JENNIFER PALMER The Oklahoman Comments Comment on this article7
Published: January 13, 2010

When Morgan Harris decided to cloth-diaper her son, Spencer, there was no place in Oklahoma City she could go if she wanted to look at the products before buying.

Online shopping seemed overwhelming, so she ordered the most popular style. She wasn’t completely happy with them. Two years of research and experimenting later, she now has knowledge to share.

Harris, 30, wants to promote use of cloth diapers to other Oklahoma City parents through the retail store she’s opening next month, Green Bambino.

At 5113 N Shartel Ave., the store will stock a variety of cloth diaper styles and brands — from old-fashioned flat diapers with pins to newer, more user-friendly styles.

"If they can touch and feel and see how easy they are to use, they’ll be cloth diaper fans,” she said of future customers.

The store also will carry cloth diaper accessories, eco-friendly laundry detergents, baby carriers and organic gifts and toys.

Book-learning in practice
Harris learned the ins and outs of small business during a five-year stint working at Full Circle Bookstore. She stayed home with her son after he was born nearly two years ago and that’s when she discovered there was no cloth diaper retailer in the city.

"There’s no reason for it to be this way in Oklahoma City,” she said.

With the economy tanking and consumers more focused on frugality and protecting the environment, she said it was the perfect time to open a cloth diaper store.

An abundance of new cloth diapers — introduced recently — proved to her that it was a blooming market.

Use, re-use, repeat
Once open, Green Bambino will host classes on cloth diapering. Harris said she hopes to become a resource for people with questions such as which diapers to choose and how to wash them.

She also plans to offer a gift registry.

With a product mix focused on sustainability, it was natural to design the store with the environment in mind, she said. She hired bgDesign, an architectural firm whose partners designed the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

Low VOC paints, an eco-friendly sealant used on the existing floor and display cases made from architectural salvage and antiques, will give the store a "green” existence.

Jeremy Gardner, co-director of bgDesign, said the project has gotten him to think outside the box.

"It causes you to be more creative. We have a tight budget so we spend a little more time on how we display the products,” he said.

Old doors and recycled glass are being transformed into shelving and an old postal sorter has new life as a display cabinet.

All items have been sourced locally.

Harris said she’s also using recycled paper business cards and gift cards, and designed bags so they can be reused.

The store is already generating interest among like-minded mamas, she said.

"We’ve already got 70 Facebook fans and we’re not even open yet,” she said.

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