Cloth Diaper Podcast – Show 09
Let’s Talk Mama Koala
What’s the rage with the latest cheapie on the block? I chat with Lauren from BumBumBabies about her unusual cloth diaper wash routine, addiction to Mama Koala, and why she’s starting her own cloth diaper brand.
diapers, prints, people, cloth diapers, koala, babies, buy, mama, wash, pack, cloth diapering, lemons, retailers, started, bleach, wholesale, customers, drops, zipper, tested
Lauren, BumBumBabies, Bailey Bouwman
Lauren, BumBumBabies 00:59
Hi, my name is Lauren. I’m a mom of three. I have a six year old, a four year old and a 20 month old. I’m from Augusta, Georgia. I currently own BumBumBabies. I am a cloth diaper user mainly pockets. That’s about it.
Bailey Bouwman 03:04
Georgia. So are you under hurricane issues right now.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 03:09
Yes, I didn’t go out and buy anything. I just ordered it all off Amazon. So I didn’t apply this one.
Bailey Bouwman 03:17
Smart planning for sure. So how did you get started in cloth diapering six years ago with your oldest?
Lauren, BumBumBabies 03:24
Yeah, I tried with my son. I knew nothing about cloth diapering. I kind of just googled it and I bought a pack of diapers from Babies R Us. And I tried them for two weeks. And I just hated it. I was so discouraged with cloth diapering and I just never tried again. with him. I did everything I could I originally chose him because it said like the covers, you could just rent them out and use them again. And my son would have blowouts and I would have to constantly be washing them so it didn’t even become useful for me. And then I had my daughter Two years later, and I use Huggies with her and then she started getting really bad rashes when they came out with a new design. And I kept calling my friend and I was like I don’t know what to do. And she actually brought over a ton of cloth diapers for me to try. And that’s when the Mama Koala got a great fit on her. I loved it. No problems, no rashes. And that’s when I became like a Mama Koala fan. I guess that was three years ago now. And then I had my third child my second daughter and I’ve crossed diapered from the beginning with her started with kowai baby pocket and then I moved on to Mama Koala.
Bailey Bouwman 04:50
Why didn’t you start with Mama Koala was their third.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 04:53
She was tiny. Okay. She had gotten down to six pounds before we left the hospital. So it took what three months for her to be able to fit mama cool.
Bailey Bouwman 05:05
Oh wow she’s a little been Hey like a little tiny. Yeah, she still is. I make really nice of babies I can barely imagine what a six pound
Lauren, BumBumBabies 05:16
peanut No. Hawaii babies. They their newborns are adjustable so we got up to about three months with acquired babies before had to switch over to Mama Koala. Oh, wow, that’s
Bailey Bouwman 05:27
pretty awesome. Yeah, definitely. Was it worth it? Definitely. What’s been your ultimate favorite print during
Lauren, BumBumBabies 05:36
the Oh man. I have to pick one. The lemons. I have two of those. And the starry night. I have two of those but I love like maybe 10 more.
Bailey Bouwman 05:49
starry Starry Night prints tend to be really awesome.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 05:54
Yeah, I I started with them when they only had a few sets to choose from and I had had all the sets. So I kind of stopped buying and then recently when I started getting into wholesaling for them, I became obsessed again. And I started buying like all the new prints. So I missed out on a lot of packs, but it’s a problem.
Bailey Bouwman 06:19
I also don’t know why lemons look so cute on cloth diapers.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 06:23
Me either. It’s, I mean, it’s the weirdest thing. It’s just so cute.
Bailey Bouwman 06:28
It is I just got Thirsties diaperslight just came out with a new lemon print too. And I bought it and I just don’t know why it’s so perfect. It’s a fruit I never thought I would put
Lauren, BumBumBabies 06:38
on a diaper. I just looked into lighthouse kids. I heard them on your last podcast. I’d never heard of them before. And they actually have some cute prints going on.
Bailey Bouwman 06:50
They just did a lemon print to lemons was really cool. I feel like I should be collecting lemons. Like I collected pineapple prints now,
Lauren, BumBumBabies 06:58
instead of sticking with a brand. just stick with a pattern?
Bailey Bouwman 07:02
I always tell people that just by the pattern they love the most and start from there. So totally worthwhile advice. Okay, so you also mentioned that you have an unorthodox wash routine. How would you share that?
Lauren, BumBumBabies 07:15
Um, so I run my diapers on cold on the quick wash with tea tree oil, I put about five drops in the in the top part. And then once that’s complete, I put my tied in there and then I run it on a heavy-duty wash. I tried so many different things. I felt like I was constantly bleaching the diapers all the time, and I couldn’t. I didn’t like it. So I was looking at different things. And I put Tea Tree Oil in my husband’s wash because he sweats all day. He’s out at work and it’s not fun doing his laundry and he started telling me that he loved how the clothes smelled when I used to teach. So I tried that with my diapers. And I am telling you my diapers have no stink when my daughter goes in and they come out smelling so fresh. I can’t even explain it. And I told a couple of my friends about it. Mainly my admin, my employee, Ashley, and she’s like, Oh, I’m never going back. I love that. I love you The teacher.
Bailey Bouwman 08:21
Okay, so where did you like where did you just stumble to somebody was a teacher in your wash. You just stumbled upon it. somebody suggested it for your husband’s wash like such a bizarre.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 08:32
Oh, I love Tea Tree oil. I use it to make my kids cleaner because they love having their own spray to clean stuff. It’s an essential oil I buy mine off Young Living and it’s just like an essential oil. I always have teacher oil, lemon and lemon grass on hand. Those are my absolute favorites my go to for everything. But teacher oil I want I read onto that and I watched a bunch of videos. There’s one lady that did a whole video on the comparison of tea tree Li oh god I forgot the names of the rest. And she did like comparison on how they work with mold and dirt. And they they were very comparable to bleach but like a very safe oil. So I started making my kids cleaner with that I would put a little bit of vinegar, a little bit of water and a little bit of a couple drops of tea tree and they would crazy in the house clean and everything and I wasn’t worried about the chemicals.
Bailey Bouwman 09:32
Enter I use Tito oil for like my skin and for mosquito bites. But I’ve never considered using it in my watch and you’ve never you’ve never had any problems with it like why people people say sometimes essential oils are problematic in the wash. But I don’t really understand that right? It doesn’t seem it seems to be working for you.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 09:51
I mean, it’s a it’s something you got to be willing to do it. My daughter doesn’t get any rashes. I do it in my pre wash just so that I know that it’s out by The time the watch is done. Yeah, you can like you can smell it and you can smell whatever detergent you’re using to it just makes everything smell so much better.
Bailey Bouwman 10:11
And you’re only using six drops. It’s like nothing. Really. Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. So if people out there wondering, it might be an option for you. If you’re starting wealth love approved. No, definitely not fluff love approved at all. But it’s always interesting things that work benefit acts like some people have a lot of success using a little bit of bleach every
Lauren, BumBumBabies 10:34
wash so I use every six weeks, every six weeks, whatever I’m throwing in. I put a little bit of vinegar in there to just make sure that I’m cleansing them properly to I don’t do I don’t make sure I get every diaper just every six weeks I put vinegar in whichever load I’m doing up spruce it up a little bit. Yeah, eventually it’ll get to every diaper.
Bailey Bouwman 10:56
Your love for Mama Koala eventually led you to opening up on babies or what how did
Lauren, BumBumBabies 11:02
that start? BonBon babies actually started with me, my sister trying to do it and I had always wanted to get into cloth diapering. I was always telling my sister Oh, I love this is a print diaper. I love this is a print diaper. I wish I had a diaper that did this. So we actually started on them babies because she sews and she wanted to like make maximums and things like that. So we started BumBumBabies and then I saw a bunch of people wanting to do more Mama Koala orders like pre orders which is how I got that started. And I opened the Mama Koala pre order and it like blew up from there. And then I started contacting suppliers on my own with my own ideas about diapers like I wanted the pedal to be a certain width, I wanted a certain amount of snaps. I was so particular I probably drove the suppliers crazy. There’s so many samples, so many changes. But I finally got my first order in hopefully it’ll be here in a few weeks. And I hope people really like them.
Bailey Bouwman 12:04
Oh, so you’ve gone and you’ve created like a like you’ve tweaked something to make it what you want. And so you’re coming out with my own diaper essentially. Right,
Lauren, BumBumBabies 12:15
so the diaper I’m coming out with is double gusset charcoal, I made the panel wider, so it’s about six inches wide. And I actually the way I tested it was I gave my husband a diaper and I told him to stop it and if it’s hand fit in there, it was, you know a good diaper because he he hated we use we tried Alva Baby and he absolutely hated them. He’s like I can’t get my hand in there. I can’t stop it at all. So we did we tested it that way and then I sent a couple of my samples out to customers to for them to test it and give me back their review before I placed the order or made any changes. I think I made a total of five changes after my original idea for the diaper I made. I have an insert it’s it’s like a three layer charcoal three layer bamboo, and it has the snaps to make it adjustable to size the size of the diaper. And I’m pretty sure I made like that so many changes so that what like six or seven after the original and then I changed my the hanging wet bag. I added a zipper to the bottom because I don’t know that anyone else but I’m very lazy. And I hate taking the diapers out of the wet bags. So my idea was to throw the wet bag in there on just the bottom and just run the wash. Yeah, you don’t have to like unstuff anything
Bailey Bouwman 13:42
like holla to that because that is my biggest complaint with like yeah, with anything and I recently so I’ve been struggling with that because especially front loading washing machines. Yeah, doing the top loader is pretty I find it pretty easy to dump but I could see why there’s challenges but a bottom zipper revolutionising the cloth diaper industry lorry right right the the closest thing that I found was that Mother-ease in Canada is making a mess bag but it’s still a little bit problematic. Still gets a bit of luck. I have to watch out the band every day but um bottom zipper, okay, I’m excited you let me know when that drops and I will share that
Lauren, BumBumBabies 14:22
up they’re supposed to be in they’ll probably in be in the first week of October. And then I already have a bunch of them pre ordered right now. I had tests made I sent the testers out I had them like you know, wet the diapers for them and see that we haven’t had any issues so far with the zippers or anything.
Bailey Bouwman 14:43
Oh yeah, I guess that would be the one concern that it might leak out the bottom Hey, but not if you’re not if you’re using like a really solid zipper and only if you’re maybe going water in your Bay.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 14:55
I don’t soak diapers or diapers that I’ve sprayed. In in the pale with the pale I just throw them in a bowl and then I put all the rest in my wet bag.
Bailey Bouwman 15:08
I find that all the other like pee diapers absorb all the moisture from I really wet diapers and I don’t have an issue. That’s a great Yeah, and I love your bigger pocket opening as a mother with a massive hand. That is a concern for me. And one of the reasons I don’t use pocket cloth diapers is because I can never get the insert in there.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 15:27
Like open on both ends too. So you can
Bailey Bouwman 15:31
guess somebody wants sent me a tester like somebody who’s working on them in Canada. And I was like, I can’t I can’t get my hand in here so I can’t use the thing. And my husband has bigger hands and I can’t teach me three year old stuff pocket
Lauren, BumBumBabies 15:44
Yeah, I didn’t know much about shopping around with diapers In the beginning I just it was like oh look at this print buy look at this print buy and then there’s so many diapers I just never ended up being able to use because I couldn’t stop them or they just would leak instantly.
Bailey Bouwman 16:00
So you’ve gone to making your own like diaper because Mama Koala is pushing out retailers.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 16:07
Well, I would love to still carry Mama Koala but yeah, they’re kind of gearing towards only Amazon. We’ve been begging them to put more prints on wholesale. Right now they’re given us such limited prints to order on the wholesale site. And they’re the most common prints they’re the ones everyone already has in their house. The markets kind of shot for for retailers and I know a couple retailers actually took a pretty hard hit not being able to wholesale Mama Koala anymore. So it’s been a struggle. I know a lot of people love Mama Koalas, but right now with them releasing their limited prints and they’re basically being semi war over them. A lot of retailers backed out a lot backed out before that happened also, because there’s just so many wholesale issues.
Bailey Bouwman 17:05
That’s unfortunate and hard. It is. Yeah, yeah. It’s nice to be able to work with Shopify retailers and to shop off Amazon.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 17:14
Well, Amazon only does six packs, retailers that individuals a lot of people loved the option of either like, you know, it’s I only like one diaper in a pack. I’m not going to buy an entire pack just for one diaper. And then right now, when you buy a six pack, the resale value is going so high on the diapers. A lot of people are spending a lot more than the retail value of the diaper just to get just to get one.
Bailey Bouwman 17:40
Yeah, because what one Mama Koala I saw on your site is 850 us. And then what’s the package on Amazon? It’s $40 for a six pack. And then the super highly sought off prints of their what they’re being flipped for like 2530 bucks us
Lauren, BumBumBabies 17:59
Oh man, uh, Rainbow hearts. I think just yesterday, went for $50 No way. These are, these are $8 diapers used rainbow hearts, used rainbow, Rainbow hearts, the sunflowers Koi hideaways. And then there was a pack that just came out two days ago, called charming. And there was people were raging because they couldn’t get this pack. And I don’t know how many they sold off Amazon when they did their release, but it seems like maybe 20 packs is what I’m thinking. And they put a post up apologizing saying they’re gonna make more and come back out with them in November. And they were like, like my page if you think you’re gonna buy a pack and they have well over 600 likes already. So hopefully they come out with 600 but
Bailey Bouwman 18:55
that’s not gonna happen. So Mama Koala is a just Chinese factory making diapers or they owned in the United States.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 19:05
They’re cheapies they’re made in China. They’re owned by Alicia Brown. Um, and she was very, very active three years ago when it was basically a startup company. And you kind of see her pop in and out every now and then. But it’s mainly it’s mainly run by China at this point. If I’m not mistaken, they just rebranded and they have their own production company now.
Bailey Bouwman 19:31
Oh, okay. I’m gonna have to look into that. I never I’m really I should have looked more into it. I just had heard that these cheapies were getting flipped for crazy prices on the buy and sell. Like what is going on here? Yeah, who knew that? It would come to that point. So So what do you what are you thinking? Do you think that Mama Koala has much left? Is that this hype? Real is this hype? gonna stay around
Lauren, BumBumBabies 19:59
or I’m worried what’s going to happen is they’re going to keep pushing out diapers pushing out diapers. And what’s already happening is people are looking for other similar brands that they can be guaranteed the print, they’re trying to kind of shop around Mama Koala is very well known for their fit. Unlike Alva, Mama Koala has a wider panel. So it’s much easier to get on, you know, those little chunky babies with a little chunky thighs. And it’s much easier to stuff. And a lot of people went with them because of their price also. But I think what mama qual is doing is trying to raise their prices. Also, they’re coming out with positional prints. And they’re testing higher prices. One of the packs, I can’t remember what the name of it is, they tried selling for 9.999. And then if you waited, they release it at 6pm. And then if you waited till 7pm, they gave you a code to get it for 14 for 39.99. And a bunch of people bought them for the higher price just because they wanted the print, they wanted to be guaranteed that print. So I think what’s going to happen is they’re going to try to raise their price, they’re going to lose customers, they’re going to have to try to try to reevaluate and try to get their customers back and try to get more prints out. Hopefully, it’s not going to be like that. I’ve seen a couple other companies not just cost up diapering, but other companies try to please everyone and come out with as many prints as possible. And then they kind of like, took a hard hit. And people stopped buying them. The resale value on these things was way down. You start seeing them doing sales, so like half of 60% off. And then they have to try to come up with new ideas on how to get their customers back how to get people to buy from them again.
Bailey Bouwman 21:57
Yeah, we’ve I’ve definitely seen that with sounds very similar to what we’ve seen happen with blueberry diapers and what we’ve seen happen with other baby gear things, too.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 22:09
I don’t know if he’s the resale value was insanely high. I got the Rockets diaper. And after maybe like five or six months later, they started like, coming out with prints like crazy. And then people couldn’t even sell their Tula for like 60 bucks.
Bailey Bouwman 22:28
Yeah. Even today, you’re still lucky. Yeah. Well, you’re doing love for 60 bucks. Yeah. Oh, so it’s, it’s an interesting market. And it’ll be an interesting strategy for them to see. But that’s fine, because they’ve pushed out wholesalers and you’re coming out with
Lauren, BumBumBabies 22:51
my biggest challenge currently is probably getting the trust of the customers. Since my diapers are new. And I’m still only on my first pre order. I kind of have to sell them without people knowing what they’re buying. I got as many samples as I could I have more samples coming. I’ve been doing discounts and deals and just try to get people to like the product.
Bailey Bouwman 23:15
Yeah, I can see that being a like the biggest challenge for somebody coming out with a new diaper to get together is going to get you known. If it does get going though. It should be good, then then you’ll have other challenges. But if this is the big hurdle hey, yeah. So my big question I had asked you was Do you think there’s a space for high end and low end cloth diapers in the market right now?
Lauren, BumBumBabies 23:38
I do I really do. A lot of the high end diapers are more personal. You can get them custom made, you can get certain designs, you can get the exact positional that you want on the diaper. Most of them are one of a kind. And then a lot of them have more detail. I know. Like GroVia has, like I don’t know, I guess that’s called a high end diaper. I think any in my brain anything over $10 is a high end diaper. But I would say the same classification. I know a lot of people like swear by GroVia and those diapers seem to have a lot more life to them. And I just think they’re more personal that there’s always a market for high end
Bailey Bouwman 24:28
that’s I sometimes I feel like in this market where things are changing people are like demanding cheap but I think there’s always gonna be people who have a there’s always gonna be all different types of people right? We’re not we’re not one or the other we’re
Lauren, BumBumBabies 24:44
right and and most high end diapers are are American made made in the US and a lot of people are very particular about where they’re made. They don’t want cheapies, I guess.
Bailey Bouwman 24:56
And some people don’t care at all. So yeah, I just like I just Like the cheaper prices? That’s what I’m about. Have you had any challenges trying to get your manufacturing a diaper and a cheap price?
Lauren, BumBumBabies 25:09
I don’t I haven’t had too many challenges right now. The biggest thing that I’m hoping suppliers working with me for is a lot of customers will only buy diapers if the balm is upright. Like they really want the pattern to be upright when you’re looking at the back. And I’ve been working with the supplier to make sure that they’re going to give me as many if not all, bottoms up, right. pay a little bit extra to try to get exactly what the customers want. I’ve seen people just hate diapers because they keep getting them upside down. Which I never noticed until I became until I got back into the Mama Koala world. I didn’t know that there was like a such thing as like a upgrade. I just knew when are my kids but
Bailey Bouwman 25:57
yeah, and even it’s a bit of a cloth diaper blogger. I still struggle with carrying I just don’t really about afraid bombs are not Yeah, I can go like I go into my retailer and I just pick it off the shelf and I don’t even look at the bomb and then I get home and sometimes I realize it’s upside down. Oh Bailey you were there you hit the selection you could
Lauren, BumBumBabies 26:17
I do that all the time. Like my admin. She refuses to buy a diaper that doesn’t have an upright bum drives me nuts.
Bailey Bouwman 26:25
I guess then you just have to be creating prints that don’t like if you create a print that doesn’t have an up and down that helps as well.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 26:33
Yeah, but it’s really hard to find cute prints that do that. Oh, okay.
Bailey Bouwman 26:38
Well there goes that idea I guess
Lauren, BumBumBabies 26:40
and even then you kinda like it’s the upside down part is in the center’s people don’t like that. It’s it’s still becomes a problem.
Bailey Bouwman 26:50
People are crazy, because what’s the future for BumBumBabies? like where are you seeing yourself 235 years
Lauren, BumBumBabies 26:56
hopefully I just kind of just want to stick with diapers, wet bags, you know, pods, everything diaper related. I don’t want to branch out too far. I don’t want to I mean, I’ll wholesale clothes or wholesale little, you know, baby booties and stuff. But it’s not something that I’m interested in. Getting as far into as creating them myself. I just want to kind of become a household name. I want it to be you know, when people post on the cloth diaper chat. Oh, what’s your favorite brand? I want at least you know three or four comments to say bum bum babies.
Bailey Bouwman 27:31
That would be the goal. Hey, that’s a good goal. Yeah. So where can people find you? If they want to know more about BumBum Babies? Where are you on the web?
Lauren, BumBumBabies 27:41
You can find me on Facebook BumBumBabies. BumBum is one word and babies is where you can check out my website at bumbumbabies.com. That’s about the two places you can find me.
Bailey Bouwman 27:57
Alright, I will make sure to include links to those in the show notes. So if you’re listening, you can make sure to find that there or BumBumBabies is actually pretty easy to look up. I’ve had some guests with some tricky spelling. So that’s an easy one. And I didn’t I didn’t run this question by you before I left but this is a quote my favorite question to ask my guests and that is what is your biggest piece of advice for new mamas out there?
Lauren, BumBumBabies 28:20
Oh, I know this answer. Heard you ask it in every other podcast I was I was expecting it. There was no one right answer for cloth diapering. people swear by pockets. people swear by covers people swear by all in ones. Just always be willing to try an alternative if one doesn’t work. And I heard on one of your other podcasts. Similar thing. You can order a box of like all different types of cloth diapers and see which one you like the most. And that is genius. Yes, if you can find anything like that, maybe, maybe look locally for us diapers, and you can just buy like one or two of different styles of us diapers. To start out like with a lower cost and then try which ones we’ll try all the ones you bought and then see which ones you like the most. That’s that’s probably the best. I wish someone would have said that to me in the beginning. Because after I tried those G diapers I was done. Yeah, I had no idea that there were so many styles to try and it’s just, there’s not one right answer to cloth diapering. Not not to buy the diapers, not to laundering the diapers not to putting them on the baby. It’s just it takes time to figure out don’t expect it to be like an overnight thing.
Bailey Bouwman 29:41
And the awesome thing about bumbumbabies will be that you’ll be selling diapers and singles. Right? You won’t have to buy back
Lauren, BumBumBabies 29:46
right? right um, hopefully I have some covers on there and a couple of newborn all in ones but I’m working on my personal all in one right now. Which is It’s a five layer bamboo charcoal with an optional three layer hemp insert that you can put in so I guess like it was all in to actually,
Bailey Bouwman 30:11
I think you sent me those pictures Hey, no I did.
Lauren, BumBumBabies 30:15
I sent you pictures of the of the pocket diaper but the all in one is going to look exactly the same. All the measurements are going to be the same, it’s going to be a double decker charcoal. Trying to keep that that print that style alive.
Professional Cloth Diaper Educator
Bailey brings 5+ years of cloth diapering experience and conversation to the cloth diaper space. She's not just your every day mom blogger sharing her experience - Bailey is immersed in the cloth diaper community learning from other parents and growing as an individual. She wants to find the cloth diaper solution that truly works for you.
Bailey believes we need to stop and listen to cloth diapering parents. We need to recognize our own bias and preferences and focus on solutions that work for you, not us. The Cloth Diaper community needs to recognize the privilege of being able to cloth diaper, and provide spaces for more conversations and stories.
Cloth diapering is not about rules but about our own strength as parents to do the best we can for our children with the resources available.