Who's behind the scenes at Knickernappies and where is the company located? Knickernappies is located in Springfield, Oregon. Currently, KN is managed entirely by myself and my husband, Shannon. Together we wear almost all of the hats...shipping, receiving, customer service, warehouse management, etc. We both work full-time, 6 days a week for Knickernappies. We don't have any actual employees, but we do have some support with various things. Julia (one of our retailers, Earth Angels Diaper Co) helps out with blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Caye is a work-at-home-mom who packages all of our products for us. The staff at our sew shop is fantastic and flexible to our needs.
Heather and Shannon met about 13 years ago. They both have forest management degrees from Oregon State University and met on the job working in California in forestry. They have always had an entrepreneurial dream, so after their marriage 10 years ago, they opened a brick & mortar bookstore. They admit that it failed miserably, but they learned a lot about what NOT to do in business! During those bookstore years, their daughter, Camille, was born. She's now almost 5 years old and the Hicks family is now expecting a baby boy in June! "We're all excited to welcome a baby into our family and I'm very excited to have a child in cloth diapers again."
How'd you get started cloth diapering and what made you decide to create your own line? When our daughter was born, we never considered cloth. And wouldn't have, most likely, since at the time we were both very busy with our jobs and we worked full-time. But our daughter had a rash almost from birth that just wouldn't go away. We tried everything. Finally, when she was around 7 weeks old, someone online suggested cloth diapers. I was skeptical but willing to try anything. We bought two diapers and before we knew it, we had a whole stash of cloth diapers and our lifestyle literally changed overnight. Her rash problem was solved and we had a new passion...cloth diapering!
It was nearly a year later that I saw an ad on DiaperDecisions for a very small, work-at-home company called Knickernappies. They had two diapers patterns for sale, along with the name and a cute baby logo. With my husband's full support and encouragement, I bought the company. It took us several months to get our feet underneath us and to find someone to sew for us, but in October 2006 we debuted Knickernappies Diapers to retailers nationwide!
By that time, I'd also created a special insert to solve our daughter's heavy wetting: the LoopyDo was the first original product that we sold through Knickernappies and it very quickly defined our company and became a popular insert. Since then, we've introduced almost a full line of diapering products. Our most recent release was our OneSize Diaper, which has been a lot of fun to produce and sell. Today the only product we actually produce ourselves in our warehouse is Fluff Dust diaper pail deodorizing powder. My husband makes it in huge batches and it makes our neighbors very curious!
What's your favorite part about being involved in the cloth diapering industry?
My very favorite part is helping moms and dads get started with cloth. When a new mom emails with a million questions, that's when my juices really get going and I'm in my element. And then seeing those same parents go on to be successful with cloth, and become advocates, that just makes my day. Another favorite is the retailers I get to work with. I've worked in other retail sectors before and I can say with absolute confidence that there is more kindness and integrity in the cloth diapering industry than anywhere else. Our retailers share information and advice back and forth and eagerly help one another out in times of birth, illness, etc.
Which Knickernappies product and/or accomplishment are you most proud of?
Probably the LoopyDo inserts! It's the one product that was entirely created at my kitchen table with a variety of crazy looking prototypes and it's the one product that I originally made just for my daughter. They are very personal to me and I'm pretty fond of them. I sewed them myself for a couple of years before finally handing them off to our sew shop, so I've sewn thousands of inserts.
Made in the USA! Heather is also proud of the fact that all of Knickernappies diapers, inserts, mama pads, etc, anything made of fabric is cut and sewn right here there Springfield, Oregon. She says, "We are blessed to work with an excellent sew shop that has very high quality standards. It is owned by a husband and wife team and they've become close friends over the past several years. Our Fluff Dust is made by us in our warehouse. Our Baby Bum Drops are made by a natural soap maker in Grants Pass, Oregon. Diaper Sprayers are assembled in Georgia. We are proud that every product we produce and sell is made in the United States."
What's the best thing about owning your own company?
The freedom we have. While we do work 6 days a week, we also have the freedom for both my husband and me to be fully involved in our daughter's life. We see every play, every special event, together. The work is hard, but we get to play hard, too. During the summer, we'll take slow days to cut out and go hiking or even a full day for a trip to the zoo. That's so precious to us and is completely worth all the energy it's taken us to get this far. And when our son is born later this year, I look forward to be able to work with my little one nearby.