Originally written and published by Alison Manes, but I wanted to share, too, so I've copied it here with her permission. Please enjoy!
Melissa and I met in late 2004 on a parenting website called Pregnancy Weekly. We were both pregnant and due in May of 2005. Although not immediate friends, once we discovered that we a shared interest in attachment parenting, organic living, natural childbirth and breastfeeding, we became fast allies in a formula feeding/epidural/ fast food environment. Together with a few of our other online sisters, Melissa and I began to have video chats and phone conversations. Although we hadn't met in person yet, if felt like we had known each other for years.
In late 2006 I had a brainstorm about mainstreaming cloth diapers. As a dedicated cloth diapering mama, I was constantly asked by other mothers who saw my babies in cloth where I got my diapers. At that time, my only answer was, “you have to Google them”.
I began my quest for an easy-to-use, absorbent diaper that could easily be introduced to the general public. Possessing no sewing skills of my own, I hired a friend to sew some initial diapers with PUL and Micro fiber. Those and several subsequent patterns failed due to leakage.
Around October of 2007, I called Melissa and asked her to sew some diapers, explaining what I was trying to accomplish. Melissa was jazzed and wanted to be a part of it and after some talk with her husband, Melissa and I became partners.
We shared a vision of formulating a company where all aspects of our business will be run with respect to minimizing environmental impact - from the materials to the manufacturing to the final distribution. An educational non-profit component would be in the near future. We even found an environmentally friendly printer-Wizard Graphics-who not only printed on recycled paper but with vegetable based ink.
The diapers then called Go Green Baby! were to be made from organic bamboo and PUL. Melissa, quite the brainiac researcher, found out that PUL was TOXIC. The quest for an environmentally friendly fabric began. Investigating wool, alpaca wool, Gortex, wax and fleece all let to nothing. We even attempted to hire a chemist to create a sustainable formula for waterproofing. Additionally Melissa also discovered that it was impossible to get a truly organic bamboo in the US; because it is processed with harmful chemicals.
After reading an article about the success of gDiapers in Inc. Magazine in November 2007, we became really excited about the potential success of launching cloth diapers to the general public.
January 29, 2008, Go Green Sustainable Industries, LLC was legally formed. Mel and I still had no product but we did have a vision and weren’t giving up. Both of us felt strongly not only about cloth diapers, but on educating parents on the dangers of disposables, formula, vaccinations, being eco-friendly and nutrition. We decided that the diaper was going to be the first product that Go Green Sustainable Industries developed, but definitely not the last.
After talking to three patent lawyers, we realized that we could not call the diapers, Go Green Baby! As the search for a sustainable diapers continued, so did the search for a perfect name.
Melissa came for a visit to Arizona in March of 2008 and it was the first time that I met her face to face. After five minutes I felt like we had always been buddies. It was a whirlwind working visit and it cemented the partnership.
After spending at least eight hours on the computer together trying to name the diapers a few weeks later, we just about gave up. Melissa and I, friends first, were having a casual conversation. I mentioned that as a small child I dragged around a frayed old diaper and called it a Di Doo. Melissa said she had a blanket called a Lolly. I got all excited and began shouting, “LolliDiDoo, LolliDiDoo!” The next day we shortened it to LolliDoo® and trademarked the name and bought a website.
Melissa’s white water rafting expertise led her to our secret unnamed fabric which was an amazing find as it was water repellent and had never before been used in diapers and was made out of stuff that I will disclose as soon as the patent goes through. Woohoo, we are on our way. After months and months of tweaking the pattern, fabric weights and layers, Melissa developed a diaper that was sustainable, absorbent, cute as well as easy-to-use.
Melissa took the diaper to a manufacturer in Washington and we really thought that we were all set. That was until we found out that it was going to cost about $40 a diaper. YIKES!
Looking back at our original intentions of keeping it simple, respecting the Earth and “buying local”, we recognized that we needed an alternative to a large manufacturer.
The synchronicity of our entire business was flawless. Melissa’s friend told her that his mother was looking for work. It just so happened that his mother was a seamstress. Melissa met with her and another woman and formed an instant bond. The ladies began sewing LolliDoo® diapers at their homes.
We are convinced that they have the perfect cloth diaper to introduce to the baby industry, and we are so are excited for our September 7, 2008 launch.