Today we're super excited to share our exclusive interview with Kelly Wels, founder of DiaperShops.com and former owner. Want to know what she's up to now and what her newly launched site KellyWels.com is all about? Read our interview below, we've got the inside scoop!
Kelly please tell us about yourself, where you live and how you got started cloth diapering? Do you currently have any little ones in cloth? Do you have any hobbies?
I am now a "semi-stay at home Mom" living in Waterford, Maine with my 3 children: Olivia (13), Hanz (10), and Riley (2). I started cloth diapering when I was the former owner of KellysCloset.com. I founded the company in 2001 and opened the website as a specialty boutique and nothing sold. I was then contacted by a few moms and asked to carry cloth diapers. I did the initial "roll eyes" but at that point felt I had nothing to lose. I ordered a small shipment of cloth diapers and they sold within a few days. My second child was a year old at the time so I decided to try the cloth diapers on him and that is when the cloth diaper bug bit me!
I love to garden! In fact I am certified horticulturist in the State of Maine and have my degree in horticulture.
When did you decide you wanted to enter the cloth diaper industry and what do you like best about being a part of it?
I entered the cloth diaper industry in the summer of 2001. I just passed the reigns of ownership of DiaperShops.com and KellysCloset.com in September 2010 and have decided to stay in the industry by launching my new advocacy site, http://www.KellyWels.com. I have developed some amazing business and personal relationships in this industry. It is a very unique industry and what I like most about it is that cloth diaper manufacturer's have an amazing passion for what they do. It is not just a business to them. The industry also includes some very influential bloggers and other diaper retailers who I have great admiration and respect for. The advocacy and love for this industry is like nothing I have experienced before.
At what point did you realize that you're business was a success and one of the most popular cloth diaper retail sites on the web?
In 2006 I completely re-structured the business and brought in some employees to help me really run the business as a business. Up until this point I ran the business more like a hobby. In 2007 and every year since that sales increased up to 70% a year and I grew the business to a multi-million dollar corporation. In early 2010 I decided I wanted to focus more time on my family and marketed the business for sale. The sale finalized in September 2010 to a wonderful couple who actually grew up in the area where the business is physically located.
Since the sale of your business what are you doing with your newly found spare time?
I have been taking a lot of family time the past few weeks. I used to work 80 hours a week so it is nice to not have to work round the clock anymore. I have been able to re-connect with my kids and husband and that is so important to me.
What is your new role with DiaperShops?
I am currently staying on as their social media and marketing director to help them grow the business.
Tell us about www.KellyWels.com, and what your goals are for the new site and blog?
http://www.KellyWels.com in November 2010. The site is primarily focusing on cloth diaper advocacy. I have been working on some advocacy projects for quite some time now and have some exciting projects that will be launching in 2011.
Where do you see the cloth diaper industry in ten years and what involvement do you still hope to have?
I truly see a huge decrease in amount of disposable diapers being used. Right now approx 95% of parents used disposables on their babies. I foresee that going down to at least 75% (and hopefully more). Once my advocacy projects launch in 2011 I am hoping to have more opportunities to advocate for cloth diapers. I see myself speaking at green and industry events and being an advisor/consultant to cloth diaper manufacturer's and advocacy organizations.
As a past or current cloth diapering mom, what was your favorite must have cloth diapering accessory?
I have 2 must-have diaper accessories:
-Planet Wise Wet Bags- I use all styles of this brand for cloth diapering. I use the wet bags for storing dirty diapers and for holding clean wet cloth wipes.
-Knickernappies Super-Do Inserts- The best insert on the market! Every new Mom or Dad needs at least 2-3 of these. They are the most absorbent insert and are terrific for taking baby thru an entire night without having to be changed.
If you could give one piece of advice to a new cloth diapering mom or someone considering cloth, what would it be?
Sample, sample, sample. When first starting out sample 2-3 brands/styles before you make a big investment in one brand and style. Every cloth diaper fits every baby differently so by sampling you can find the best system for you and your baby.
Do you want to know more about Kelly? Follow the links below and stay connected with her!
Kelly on FaceBook
Kelly on Twitter